The first time I heard the concept of work being worship I thought it was a little strange. Personally, I had a number of days where I worked long hours going from meeting to meeting, jumping on conference calls and solving problems without taking a single minute to pray. There were other days where I got up before the crack of dawn to rush to the airport and spend the day visiting stores without taking any time to read my Bible. Honestly, there were times I thought work was the exact opposite of worship and in some cases an interruption to real worship. How can I worship God when work can be so consuming? If you have ever felt the same, then let me encourage you that it’s possible. The apostle Paul and Jesus both teach on the topic and they say it’s possible!
In Romans 12:1 Paul writes, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” The idea that our physical body, and how we use it, is worship is clear according to this verse. When we serve others through sacrifice and humility we are honoring the Lord. The workplace is a powerful platform for serving, helping and encouraging others.
I worked with an amazing person named Joi (so well named by her equally amazing parents). She came to the company from another industry, so she had her challenges gaining the credibility of the people on her team. As I watched her work and heard others describe her approach, you could see that she was genuinely interested in people as individuals and not simply what they did at work. She illustrated this by asking about their family, their hobbies, and what motivated them to go to work each day. She spent time working next to her team and ultimately earned their respect and admiration. Joi is also a sold-out follower of Jesus. She frequently talks about prayer, Jesus, and how Godly principles can apply in the workplace. She is a great example of presenting herself, or acting in a way, that is willing to serve others for their benefit and not her own. She truly worships at work.
Jesus also offered great words of encouragement in Matthew 5:16 when He said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” What we do is a reflection of who we follow. Jesus connects our actions to reflecting God. How we do our work (not how we talk about doing our work) can be a reflection of how God works. We can worship God by giving an accurate representation of how He works. Do you work with excellence or mediocrity? Do you finish the job or leave things incomplete? Do you operate with full integrity or bend the truth at times? These are opportunities to reflect Jesus’ standards which are often the opposite of the world around us. The way we work is worship.
Finally, the apostle Paul notes in the more well-known work-related verses in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Paul makes the clear point that we are serving Jesus at work. For those of you who have a difficult boss or work with difficult people, find encouragement in this powerful truth. You are serving the Lord when you work the way He calls you to work and no matter the circumstances, He is the one who is faithfully ready to reward you for a job well done. How do you see your work? Where do you have an opportunity to worship God more fully by how you do your work? The Bible is clear that “walking the walk” is much more important to God than “talking the talk.” I pray you will see your work in a fresh new way today.