Blog - Grasping Vocation

Taking God to Work?

Monday, March 02, 2009

I greatly admire the author who, in his study guide, encourages Christians to take God to work with them. And I agree with what I believe to be his intent—to help us develop our awareness of God's presence when we head off to the job. The Spirit of Christ lives in each Christian, and where the Christian goes, God goes. I understand and believe that.

But wording the idea this way, the notion of “taking God to work,” strikes me as belittling God. It calls to my mind a ridiculous imaginary scene in which I say, “Okay, God, it's time to go to work now. I'll be driving my car. If you'd care to ride along, I'll take you there.”

The sentence made me curious. How widespread has this way of speaking about God become? So I googled on “take God to work” and “taking God to work” (with quotation marks to limit the search to those exact words). The result: nearly 17,000 hits. Again, I appreciate and agree with what I think those who write and speak those words are trying to say. But just as we design our buildings—and then our buildings shape the ways we live, when we repeatedly use words or phrases, those words begin to shape the ways we think. And those ways can become ruts.

To “take God to work” subtly suggests that he is not already there. We believe God is present when we gather on Sundays as believers. But then, to get him into our workplaces, do we have to take him there? If ten Christians work in an office, and all ten call in sick on Thursday, is God absent from that office on that day?

According to Christian theology, God is “omnipresent.” That means present everywhere in the universe he created. David made this clear when he said to God, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Ps. 139:7-10). In short, wherever I may go, God is already there ahead of me.

When Daniel left the Holy Land and went to work in Babylon, God was already there ahead of him. Who prompted Nebuchadnezzar to invade and subdue Jerusalem? God. Who inspired Nebuchadnezzar's dream that symbolically foretold future world empires? God. Whose hand wrote on the wall during King Belshazzar's drinking party? God. Interpreting one of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, Daniel informed the king that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Dan. 4:25).

Rather than thinking in terms of our taking God to work, perhaps we'd exalt him more by following Henry Blackaby's memorable advice: “Find out where God is working and join him.” God is already at work in your workplace. Learn what he is doing. Join him in his work there. Then you'll make the joyful discovery that the Almighty God is taking you to work.

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