Many Christians think that they can't serve the Kingdom of God at work, but that's not true, says a North Carolina megachurch pastor.
J.D. Greear, founder of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. – which has a goal of planting 1,000 churches by the year 2040 – just finished a 2-part series about Christians and the workplace on the "Between The Times" blog.
Greear said that many Christians today believe that working for God is done by volunteering at church or attending small group, and that it is separate from their workplace. Work isn't always viewed as a way to serve God, he observes, but "a necessity that must be endured to put bread on the table."
But he asserts in his series "What Makes Business Christian" that the Bible offers a very different perspective on how Christians should approach serving God.
"Scripture teaches us how to serve God through our work, not just after work. The Bible speaks clear and radical words to people in the workplace, showing us that even the most menial of jobs have an essential role in the mission of God," Greear maintained.
He also doesn't think that it's a coincidence that most of Jesus' parables had a workplace context, and that of the 40 miracles recorded in the book of Acts, 39 of them occurred outside of a church setting.
The young megachurch pastor said that what this means is "a Christian's secular vocation helps to bring God's presence to the world. God is active through a person's work to ensure that families are fed, that homes are built, that justice is carried out. Too many Christians begrudge their work when they ought to revel in the fact that God is using them, in whatever small part, to fulfill His purposes."
"The first purpose God had in mind for Adam wasn't to read a Bible or pray, but to be a good gardener," he pointed out. This means that the work of Christians should be done with the highest standard of excellence.
With this in mind, Greear makes it clear he is not naïve to the fact that not everyone is in a great work setting. "It is demoralizing to work for someone who doesn't give us credit for what we've done, or worse, only responds by offering critical feedback. A bad boss can make otherwise satisfying work an absolute terror. In a situation like that, most people lose the motivation to work with excellence, he said.
But for Greear, Christians should pursue excellence in their work, not to impress their boss or for better pay, but with the idea in mind that they work first for Christ. And if Christians work for God, this should make them work with excellence and also with integrity. He writes that "work that is 'Christian' will conform to the highest standards of ethics."
The bottom line is: "God is interested in how Christians do their work, and He wants to be involved in it," he stated.
For Christians, work in a secular or Christian environment makes a difference in the lives of those around them.
Christians should "allow the transformation of the gospel to change the way you look at and do your work. You were redeemed by grace-now live out that grace in the context of your job. You may never look at work the same way again."