Every now and then when I am talking with someone, in the course of the conversation, they will mention their ‘secular job’. I always pause and think about that statement. It actually grates me. Why is that?
Unfortunately, many people have created a division between the “sacred” and the “secular”. This dualism is a product of Greek philosophy that has so influenced our Western worldview. Life is often seen as a series of boxes– one for family, one for work, one for friends, one for recreation, and one for faith (God or our “spiritual life”). As long as we prioritise correctly and make appropriate contributions to each box, life will work out for us. This results in a compartmental style of thinking. In contrast, in the Hebrew or Jewish mind, and also from a Christian perspective, life should be viewed as one large circle with God in the centre. Everything else is to find its meaning and perspective from that centre. God wants to be involved in every area of our life – not just our spiritual life. All of life is sacred and God is interested in every dimension of our lives.
Brother Lawrence, a French monastic from the seventeenth century, is well known for writing a little booklet that has touched millions of people’s lives. It’s called Practising the Presence of God. It’s about living with a greater realisation each moment of every day that God is with us and interested in doing life (including work) together with us.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).” Doing something in Jesus’ name means to do it in his character. It means doing it as Jesus himself would do it if he were in your place. Paul is saying that our entire lives – from the moment we wake up until the time we lay down to sleep – are be lived out ‘in the name of Jesus’. Yes, God is interested in our work life. It matters to him and hopefully it matters to us too.
I hope you enjoy your job this week, whatever you may find yourself doing, and that you see it as part of your meaningful contribution to making the world a better place.
On my new podcast, I recently released a two-part series of messages called “Your Work, God’s Work” given back in 2013 which present a holistic view of our daily work. Visit Podbean or iTunes or your Spotify account to listen. You can also read the summary notes on my BLOG.