Good Hours

OFFICE HOURS Ministry in the Marketplace Part 2

Last week, we focused on work being God given and how we have the opportunities to join Him in the restoration and redemption of the world. How has your week been different? Have you felt a greater sense of purpose for the work you do?

Our passage this week comes out of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. Again, this translation is from the Common English Bible:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:13-16 CEB

What are some of the things you notice? This is one of those passages we seem to hear a lot, or at least I do. The part that is focused on is the final line, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” We also hear about being the “salt of the earth.”

How does this apply to the workplace? We’ve already established we have been given the gift of work and we should do it to the best of our ability to give God the glory in all aspects of our life. Work is where we spend the majority of our time each week. We will go through highs and lows, frustrations and joys, separation and team work. This is the time of our week we have the opportunity to share the love and light of Jesus Christ to our co-workers (even if we work in a church). Not everyone at our work knows the joy, peace, and grace of Jesus Christ. So we get to show them by our actions, our words, and even how we think.

When I was younger, I used to love to put salt on my food. It didn’t matter what it was. Today, I have learned to cook the salt into the food to help the meat tenderize better and to give more flavor from the inside out. This is how I believe we should live out our work life as well. The joy of Jesus Christ in our lives shining through from deep inside us. This is how we let our light shine, how we can be the right kind of seasoning in the workplace. We not only do a better job because we are working to show the Kingdom of God; but our co-workers will also see a difference and seek to discover the joy of Jesus Christ in what seems to be the mundane and tedious work day.

Just as salt brings our the flavor of our food, we have the opportunity to generously share the love of God through Jesus Christ which seasons the atmosphere and souls around us and brings out the real person inside that God is working on.

Take this as a challenge: see how allowing the joy of Jesus Christ truly makes a difference in your life. Not just in Sunday worship. Not just at home. But when you are at work.

Be the salt and light in the workplace. It is possible because Jesus Christ is working in and through you.

*Note: The concept for this series we first published on http://www.seedbed.com “Sermon Series – Office Hours: Ministry in the Marketplace”

Eternal Hours

OFFICE HOURS Ministry in the Marketplace Part 1

Have you been to a seminar to help you become more productive at work? Have you ever read books or articles on how to lead better at work? Many of us work hard to do better at our job. Yet, there is also a great number of people who do not find satisfaction in their work or think having to work is a kind of a curse for us.When we think about work it is almost as if we think our only purpose is to focus on doing a good job just to provide so we can get what we want and for our family. Then at the end of the day, we don’t have enough time or energy to “do good” in our community, in our world.

Work is not just something we endure so we can get ready for the weekend or vacation. Our work actually has a purpose. It is not a curse. It is God-given. This six week blog series is going to look at the eternal aspect of work. This blog will be published each Tuesday morning.Maybe we can gain a clearer focus so we can discover our purpose in work is actually to live out a life that gives glory to God in all we do and to steward the gifts we’ve been given.

This week, I invite you to read Genesis 2:5-15. Here is the passage as written in the Common English Bible:

“before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the LORD God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— the LORD God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. The LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. In the fertile land, the LORD God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also he grew the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides into four headwaters. The name of the first river is the Pishon. It flows around the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. That land’s gold is pure, and the land also has sweet-smelling resins and gemstones. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It flows around the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris, flowing east of Assyria; and the name of the fourth river is the Euphrates. The LORD God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it.”

What is the first thing you notice (besides the strange names that are difficult to pronounce)? I also have a picture of the Garden of Eden as a place of perfect paradise. This is a quiet, peaceful, joyful place because the presence of the Living Lord is tangible and fully experienced. 

This passage opens with the idea that there was no being created to take care of the garden. God formed out of the earth, a human, who was created to take care of, to work the land so it can continue to produce fruit and for people to live in perfect harmony with God Himself.

All of this happened before “the fall” in Genesis 3 meaning that God gave humankind the gift of work so we can partner with Him to take care of the land. Apply this to your setting. Your work is actually a gift from God. You and I have been given gifts and talents to do our work. We do not do this work alone. God is with us. When we think about partnering with God to work and steward the resources and people around us, how does this change your view of work?

Did you notice something else in the passage? Read the passage again.

“a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land” I find this very interesting. if we think about this, the water is coming up and nourishing the fertile land all around. Water brings life. Where is scripture does it talk about water bringing life? All throughout the New Testament! Jesus Christ is the Living Water in the world (John 4).

When Jesus was resurrected from the dead (John 20), Mary Magdeline thought He was the…gardener! Not only does Jesus Christ (Emmanuel – God in flesh) nourish the world, but He is also working the to restore the earth back to the original state of paradise. We get to participate in the redemption of the world with Him!

Everything we do at our work has eternal consequences. The way we treat those around us has eternal consequences. Our work is not just about getting the job done in order to play. Our work actually has a purpose. So whatever it is you do for a living, know this, you have partnered with Jesus Christ for the redemption of the world. Each person we come in contact in the workplace should know they also have the chance to partner with Jesus Christ in the restoration of the world.

How has your view of work changed now? 

“Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17 CEB

*Note: The concept for this series we first published on http://www.seedbed.com “Sermon Series – Office Hours: Ministry in the Marketplace”