Blog - Grasping Vocation
Creating Community as You WorkThursday, March 19, 2015
Communing with God (see previous blog) is our first "core calling.” What, then, is the second, as also seen in Genesis 1 and 2?
Throughout chapter 1, God punctuates the process of creation by saying it is all "good.” But in 2:18 he finds something "not good”—Adam’s aloneness. God (as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) had never been alone. So Adam, made in his likeness, should live in community as well. After providing the man with a mate, God instructs his newly created image-bearers to, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth” (1:28). Together, they are to start populating the earth with other human beings. That assignment points to our second core calling: creating community.
Just as sin ruins communion with God, it also trashes human community. Adam points the finger of blame at Eve. Their firstborn murders their second son. And by Genesis 6, the earth is "full of violence.” But as new creations in Christ, we can "do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). By doing good, we create community among both unbelievers and Christ-followers.
How can you create community among unbelievers in your workplace? In their book, Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf tell of a woman working as a new employee in a Manhattan firm. She made an error she thought would get her fired. To her surprise, her boss took all the onus for her mistake—an action that hurt him professionally. She insisted he explain. "I am a Christian,” he said. "God accepts me because Jesus Christ took the blame for things I have done wrong. He did that on the cross. That is why I have the desire and sometimes the ability to take the blame for others.” Stunned, she asked: "Where do you go to church?” By doing good to an unbelieving coworker, this Christian man was creating community.
The "especially” in Galatians 6:10 puts a priority on community-building among fellow Christ-followers. A couple of years ago, I surveyed 60 Christians working in non-church jobs. Three-quarters of them knew of three or more other believers among those they interact with at work. "Encourage one another daily” says Hebrews 3:13. Doing so "daily” is far more possible with Christians around you on workdays than with those you see only on Sundays. Search out fellow Christians in your work circle. Then find ways to encourage them, pray for them, and build them up in their walk with God.
A hospital janitor in our town goes from office to office emptying wastebaskets. He says, "God has placed me where I can talk to others, learn their needs, and ask, ‘Would you like us to pray?’ On any given day, I can usually get 10 or 15 believers in the prayer chain. All told, I probably know of 30 to 40 believers in the various hospital departments.”
In a world starving for it, you can create community, carrying out this second core calling even as you go about your daily work.