Monday, July 03, 2006

"I have a 'normal' job. How can God use me in a radical way in my workplace?"

Most of us have "regular jobs." We're teachers, computer programmers, office workers, salespeople, tradespeople. And although I will soon be embarking on missions, for the past year and a half, I too have spent eight hours a day, five days a week, working amidst other people in front of a computer.

I believe that each of us should be doing as much as we possibly can for God. Why would we do anything else? And although "regular jobs" are not particularly glamorous, I believe that "the best thing" (aka, God's will) for a person is often to have a regular job.

But how hard it is be radically used of God in the workplace! How hard it is to reach out to our coworkers, to be a shining light for Christ, to witness boldly and yet with discernment, to make a stand without causing more harm than good, to see our workplace as our mission field. In fact, I wonder sometimes if the workplace is the most challenging place to serve God.

My friend Matt has what you might call a normal job, and he is trying to figure out what it means to do as much as possible for God in a regular office setting. I have a few ideas--and I share them with you below--but I thought I would ask those of you who are willing to share your own ideas as a comment on this blog post. So, have an idea? Post it below.

I have a normal job. How can God use me in a radical way in my workplace?

-Pray for your coworkers. If you interact with 100 people, pray for all 100. Then every encounter will be an opportunity. Pray especially for those you work with often, on a daily basis. When you pray for the people you work with, God will speak to you about them. Ask God to show you how He can use you to reach out to every one of them. When you pray for your coworkers--the people 'above' you and the people 'below' you--God will put love in your heart for them. Which will you make you care for and about them. This alone will set you apart. People love it when you actually genuinely care about them.
-Spend time with God each day, before work. In the Word, and in prayer. Try not to miss this time. Ask him to help you to refocus, to help you walk in step with His Spirit so that you will not miss the opportunities--the "Divine appointments"--that come your way, and so that His love will be channeled through you to whomever you met.
-Practically ask yourself how you can make your coworkers' lives better. Could you give them something that they would love? (e.g., Bill loves stamps. Why not save and give him the stamps from your international letters? Holly loves her dog. Why not give her something for her dog? She will love it.)
-Buck the workplace default, and don't complain. Do the opposite. In sincerity, try to love your job. (e.g., I've had about 50 taxi drivers in the last two years. This past week, for the first time, my taxi driver told me that he loved his job. He'd been doing it for six years, and despite the long hours and low hourly rate, he was just so thankful, as a refugee from Afghanistan, to be able to live in Canada and earn a living.) Attitude and perspective are so important.
-Do your job as well as you can. Come in a little bit early every day, and do the best you can. When you are constantly thinking about how much you are earning, what you are going to do after work, your next holiday, how much of a pain in the neck your coworker is, etc; you know you are really in the wrong place: and by wrong place I mean who you are is wrong where you are. (e.g., In 2003, I roofed for a year. I loved it for the first three months. But then I lost my focus, and I was increasingly guilty of most of the above. Eventually I realized that it was totally my fault--it wasn't my job or my employer--it was my wrong attitude; and life got so much better.)
-Be in prayer throughout the day. Be in communion with God. Then every minute, every hour, of your day will be eternalized; and not wasted.
-Always be seeking to change more into the likeness of Christ. If you think God's will for you has a "just" in it (e.g., "God just wants me to..."), I'm sorry, but you are wrong. God is moving in big ways, we are in exciting times (more missions and martyrs than ever before), and God put you here to be part of it. There is no "just" for us in a world that needs Christ--in a world where millions are dying of AIDS, malnutrition, treatable diseases, sin. Again, why would you want to do anything less than all you possibly could for your Lord? And that means seeking balance in your life, walking in grace, and, oftentimes, working a regular job.

If you have a normal job, and you believe God has you where he wants you, think of yourself as a very critical part of the "war effort". Because you are. You are no less needed in the war effort effort for souls than those who remained at home, on the homefront, in World War II. During this time just a generation or two ago, whole nations worked together for one purpose, doing what they could. Women joined the work force like never before, waste was not acceptable, clothes were mended and patched instead of thrown away, complaining was not tolerated, children collected scrap metal for artillery factories.

If you have a normal job, you are not only part of the homefront effort in that you are a sender in the Great Commission; you are also a soldier, a goer, in your workplace--you are the only Light of Christ to someone in some cases--in a war that matters far more than any of the World's wars of guns and bombs.

You are in a war for Eternity. For people. For God's glory.

Don't waste it.
ar TORONTO, CANADA | 2023+



27 Sat (1) 11am Commencement speaker at R. University, (2) ~3pm+ time w/ V/AR+
29 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer, (2) 3pm mtg DerCh - Mississauga
30 Tue (1) 10am ph call (AA), (2) 5:30pm video mtg (IsTan), (3) 8pm neighbourhood prayer mtg

1 Thu (1) 11:30am Zoom mtg (LM), (2) 4pm mtg (VS,KBr)
2 Fri (1) 10:30am ph call (PVDW; SL w/ boys; ~J working)
3 Sat SL w/ boys and MG
5 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer mtg, (2) 2pm Europe call, (3) 5pm mtg/walk (YM)
6 Tue (1) 11:30am lunch (GD) - St. Jacobs, (2) 4pm mtg (AF) - Cambridge, (3) 7:30pm worship night
9 Fri ~J's b'day
10 Sat North Bay trip
13 Tue 11am mtg (DAy) (~J school trip w/ ~Co | text BD)
14 Wed 9:30am time w/ BD
15 Thu 4:30pm video mtg (Paul T.)
16 Fri (1) 9am video med appt, (2) 15-km run (Prayer Journey "warm-up")
17 Sat Prayer Journey (my own: 50km GTA bike-ride; Jessie's: 5KM) and speaking at GTA after-party
23-25 Fri-Sat poss. SL
26 Mon 2pm Europe monthly call
29 ... July 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas

... 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas
~8-17 SA+ in Toronto; P/H Bell likely visiting too
15 Sat aft+ baptism (Saj; NaB may be coming)
17-21 Mon-Fri Kids Kapers camp
24 Mon 2:45pm med. appt
26 Wed (1) 11am video mtg (SM), (2) 3pm Zoom mtg (SMa,SB), (3) 7pm ~J speaking at Greenhouse/Zoe - UofT downtown
27 Thu 10am video MVT board mtg
31 Mon 3:05pm med. appt
July/Aug CCWM board mtg / AGM

2 Wed 11am video mtg (SM+)
6-12 Sun-Fri Cottage w/ O/DN+ and UB/AC - Windermere; plus Muskoka
19 Sat poss. ~J fam beach day - Brighton area
25-29 Fri-Tue MoveIn staff retreat - southern Ontario

Sep 21 Thu - MVT board mtg
Sep 23 Sat poss. date of GV memorial
Sep 24 Sun ~Ch's b'day
Sep ~26-28 Poss. time in Lushnjë, Albania
Sep 29 - Oct 6 MoveIn Europe Conference+ - Durrës, Albania
Oct 21 Sat poss./unlikely date of GV memorial
Oct 21-27 Dollar-a-Day week
Early Nov Poss. fundraising event - Niagara
Nov-Jan Poss. time in India - Goa; Philippines - Manila+; Indonesia - Jakarta/Bali; LA/San Diego