Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5

IMG_0207My Bible study group is nearing the end of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. Some of the chapters left me feeling convicted while others left me feeling condemned, which is never God’s intention—that’s the work of the enemy. And while many in our group has struggled through this study, I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives.

A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog ranting about my least favorite chapter. It’s only fair that I give equal time to my favorite, which is titled Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5. Since all of us spend time working in one capacity or another—whether it’s as a mother and/or homemaker or outside the home—we all have daily duties that can easily bog us down. But if we can come to terms with the fact that our work is our mission field, regardless of where that is, then we can know we’re serving Christ.

Years ago, when my husband and I were first married, he struggled with the idea that he had no true purpose in his work. It didn’t matter that he touched a multitude of lives every day, he felt if he wasn’t preaching Christ, he wasn’t glorifying God. And though it’s true we’re called to share the Good News with others, I believe we can still glorify God in how we conduct ourselves in the work place. It’s a matter of focus and attitude.

1 Corinthians 7:24 says In whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. John Piper writes, “In other words, we enjoy God’s being there for us as we listen to his voice, and talk to him, and cast all our burdens on him, and experience his guidance and care…when you are converted, stay in your job and enjoy God’s presence.” (p 136)

This is a great reminder for me because I work mostly in isolation. It’s my interaction with God throughout the day that keeps me focused on my faith.

For Chris, he’s discovered that God calls him to serve each and every person who walks into his office—whether it’s a patient or a member of his staff. How he conducts himself as a leader is significant to his faith—and others see it. Because he has sole ownership of his practice, he doesn’t answer to anyone but God. Meaning, he’s able to put scripture up in his adjusting room and hang a cross where everyone can see it. These are reminders for him to keep focused on his relationship with God throughout his day, and it opens up conversations with those who have a spiritual need.

When I taught middle school, I didn’t have the same freedom—church and state were to remain separate. When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, it changed how I viewed interactions with both my students and teachers. There were a number of “Christian” teachers on campus, but it didn’t take me long to realize that saying one is a Christian and living it out can be two different things. Pressure to conform to the world was strong—and, sadly, some preferred to be comfortable in the work place rather than take a stand.

On page 144, John Piper writes, “…we make much of God in our secular work by having such high standards of excellence and such integrity and such manifest goodwill that we put no obstacles in the way of the Gospel but rather call attention to the all-satisfying beauty of Christ.” That’s a challenging call. It’s very easy to take the comfortable, sometimes lazy, path in the workplace, but if we remember Who it is we work for, that should change. It’s a call to glorify God, no matter how menial the task might be.

Another thing John Piper wrote struck a chord in me—“…we make much of God by earning our own living when we focus not on financial profit but on the benefit our product or service brings to society.” (p 147) As a writer, I don’t earn an income—at least not yet—which sometimes makes this job seem redundant on more than one level. Unless and until my work is published, it can benefit no one save myself. Yet, God is the author of this life, and it is His to do as He pleases. I have to believe He has a plan and purpose in the hours I spend creating characters and storylines. And if you’re in a position where you feel helpless and hopeless, just know that God has you, too, right where He wants you.

3 thoughts on “Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5

  1. I have to admit I like this message better than the rant of a few weeks ago. This one is easier to live with. I don’t see your work as benefiting no one, save yourself. If you weren’t writing, you would not have started this blog. You are reaching to many of us, probably more than you know. Not everyone writes back. Your message is getting out there and enriching the lives of others.

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