by Tom O'Neil - A common trend with faith filled men of Christ, is to sometimes subconsciously ‘compartmentalise’ our lives into ‘holy’ and ‘not holy’ times. Holy times are of course at church, home group and with our Christian friends, while ‘not holy times’ tend to be anytime else when we try to be aware of God, but have our goals and focus somewhere else.
In my experience, a major trend with men is to not value our work and career as a holy pursuit. I am not talking about being a ‘Sunday Christian’ here, but just the flawed mindset that ‘God does not really care as much about what I do for a career, as much as He cares about me volunteering to help paint the church building on Saturday’.
However its vital to understand that God has chosen to create us in His image, to work and tend the world for His glory and for the spiritual and physical benefit of our communities.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 says that work is a gift of God. “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labour — this is the gift of God.”
As well as this, Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:23 that ‘whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters’.
In the 17th-century book ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’, the author Brother Lawrence, shares how he has a conscious thankful awareness of God’s presence and welcomes in the Holy Spirit into not just his prayer times, but also as he works in the kitchen and buys supplies for his community. Later in his book he states that ‘The labourer is as valuable to God as the priest’.
Examples of kiwi Christian men who have attempted to live Christ in their workplace include Richard Brunton, founder of media research group Colmar Brunton. Richard would pray over his business and ask the Lord to bless each person, meeting, laptop and seat he could lay his hands on.
Mike Marr, founder of TPT Group, is a Christian business owner, who leads his organisation with strong Christian values, that have seen him raised up to have a strong impact in national and global business and industry discussions.
Most of us however are not ‘titans of industry’, and that’s 100% okay! God blesses each of us with unique skills, gifts and expertise, and calls us to specific roles and activities. Although our roles or earnings might be different, (see the teaching on the different parts of the body in relation to the church – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27) our callings in Christ are equal. As such, we are all employed in different places and spaces where we can bless the environment and share our faith with others.
With the ups and downs of work and career, I know this is something I struggle with – being ‘God present’ throughout the day, and using my career to bring people closer to Jesus. Therefore how can we be more open to the Holy Spirit at work? Some great options include:
- Pop a reminder of God somewhere in your work environment. While a 6-foot poster of the risen Christ may not necessarily be appropriate in the shared tearoom, you could pop a small New Testament Bible on your desk, or other symbol reminding you every time you see it to be ‘God aware’.
- Playing worship music through your headphones while you work on less technical tasks.
- Regularly set aside some of your lunch break for a short prayer time.
We can also welcome God into our work environment in a range of ways, including:
- Setting up a fortnightly prayer group with other Christian team members at work. From personal experience I can say this helps us all be more supportive and accountable to each other when things get tough at work.
- Choosing to say only kind or uplifting words as much as possible. The work environment does mean that you will need to ‘bring the hammer down’ on some occasions, but the less negative words you speak at work, the more the impact there will be when you need to be critical about a situation.
- Not engaging in gossip. This can be hard if you are a people person, but nothing will dismiss your Christian witness more than joining in the gossip about another work colleague.
- Choose to speak well (but be honest) about your employer. Too often we can take the low road when we feel things have not gone our way. While we need to be honest about how we feel, this also needs to be tempered with respect for those we work for and work alongside.
- Embrace those different to you – As Christians we need to take the approach Jesus took to the woman at the well. Loving people first, and helping them see Christ in us as we go about our day to day work.
- Remember that on many occasions our actions speak louder than our words. As the old quote says, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary”.
Your work is very important to God, so remember to welcome Him into your career and invite Him to go with you when you start your next commute.
Tom O’Neil has spoken at PK events and formerly served on the PK Board. Tom is a life coach, career specialist and Managing Director of CV.CO.NZ