Blog - Grasping Vocation
Staying in Touch with God While WorkingWednesday, March 11, 2015
In a secularized work world, how can you turn what you do into sacred work? By doing it in ways that carry out your core callings.
God created us in Christ "for good works” (Eph. 2:10), works God pre-planned for us to do. We see these most clearly, I believe, in what Adam and Eve did before sin turned good works into bad. Three good works stand out in Gen. 1 and 2. I call them our "core callings,” because they should underlie our daily work and all else we do.
In this blog, I’ll zero in on our first core calling: to commune with God. To "commune” is to exchange thoughts, words, or feelings. It involves closeness, unity of purpose, and harmonious interaction. A "commune” describes those who live closely together and share tasks, responsibilities, and possessions.
Two dramatic differences set the formation of plants and animals apart from that of human beings. In Gen. 1:27, God makes us in his own image, giving us a nature attuned to and compatible with his own. Then in v. 28, God relates to his image-bearers in a unique way. He talks with them. And they are so made that they can converse with him. Obviously God pre-planned for us to commune with him.
Sin interrupted that relationship, causing our first parents to run from rather than relate to God. However, once we have been recreated in Christ, the broken bond is mended and we can resume that original core calling: to commune with God.
But some Christ-followers worry about having to focus for hours on "non-spiritual” work activities. How can anyone, they wonder, stay in touch with God while immersed in writing a business plan, driving a bus, or filling a tooth? Many seem to think communing with God occurs only during Bible study, prayer, or a church meeting. But not so. "Arrow” prayers are still possible anytime in any workplace, no matter how secularized. For a biblical example, see Nehemiah’s silent prayer (Neh. 2:4, 5). For a contemporary example, click on this video link.
But you also commune with God as you walk and work in the light, doing it in ways that align with God’s purposes. In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard writes: ". . . the specific work to be done . . . is of central interest to God. He wants it well done. . . .as long as one is on the job, all peculiarly religious activities should take second place to doing the ‘the job’ in sweat, intelligence, and the power of God. That is our devotion to God” (p. 286).
At times we need to center our complete attention on God. But the relationship with him remains unbroken even when our minds are taken up with repairing a transmission, framing a house, or researching a news story. Our connection with God depends not on keeping our minds focused exclusively on him but on the union of our spirit with his Spirit. "But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (I Cor. 6:17). You may commune with God just as fully on workdays as on Sundays.