Some people think that religious jobs are more holy than non religious jobs. Those people are wrong… here’s why (for starters, guess what Jesus was called to work at for most of his life?).
Mark 6:3 (NIV) 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
1 Corinthians 7:24 (NIV) 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
Colossians 1:15–17 (NIV) 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Matthew 3:17 (NIV) 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 11:28–30 (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) 3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
If [Jesus] were to come today as he did then, he could carry out his mission through most any decent and useful occupation. He could be a clerk or accountant in a hardware store, a computer repairman, a banker, an editor, doctor, waiter, teacher, farmhand, lab technician, or construction worker. He could run a housecleaning service or repair automobiles. In other words, if he were to come today he could very well do what you do. He could very well live in your apartment or house, hold down your job, have your education and life prospects, and live within your family surroundings and time. None of this would be the least hindrance to the eternal kind of life that was his by nature and becomes available to us through him. – Dallas Willard
Every day when you arrive at your workplace, an attitude arrives with you. Our attitudes are like the perfume or cologne we are wearing; we smell the fragrance when we first put it on, but others smell it throughout the day. The fragrance you are wearing at work, others are picking up. So what are those around you smelling? The apostle Paul reminds us that as apprentices of Jesus, we have the fragrance of Christ. The attitudes we wear to our workplaces should remind others of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—should make up a great deal of our attitudinal fragrance. Yet for me, Paul’s inspired words to the followers of Jesus at Thessalonica are most helpful in cultivating a new attitude about my work and my workplace. After urging the Thessalonian believers to seek the common good of all, Paul lays out three attitudinal adjustments that powerfully transform the workplaces we have been called to inhabit. Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). In these power-packed verses Paul encourages us to cultivate attitudes of joy, of prayer, and of gratitude. Though our work and workplaces can be very frustrating at times and we often deal with some very difficult and demanding people, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to positively influence a workplace culture that better promotes human flourishing, synergistic teamwork, and the common good. If we will take the time to commit Paul’s inspired words to memory we can take them to work with us. Perhaps it would be helpful to write out Paul’s words and put them somewhere in your workspace as a reminder. In my workplace, I often review Paul’s words and make the necessary attitudinal adjustments throughout the workday. – Tom Nelson
Christians should be also known to be calm and poised in the face of difficulty or failure. This may be the most telling way to judge if a person is drawing on the resources of the gospel in the development of personal character. In Matthew 6, verses 19 and 21 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What does he mean? Everyone has treasures—the things we cherish, delight in, and adore above all other things. We’ve also called them idols, and to understand them is to understand much of the hierarchy of your soul and the foundation of your personality. If we get our main meaning from peer approval, or money in the bank, or our reputation for success—then these things are our treasures. But Jesus rightly points out how radically insecure we are if we treasure such things. They can be whisked away or stolen. And then our very lives can fall apart. -Tim Keller
Discussion Questions: (Tom Nelson)
How would your coworkers describe you as a worker?
What does the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers have to say about how you do your work?
How does Jesus’s work as a carpenter change the way you view your work?