Archive for January 2014

WHAT FRAGRANCE ARE YOU WEARING?

January 28, 2014

Every day when you arrive at your workplace, your attitude arrives with you. Attitudes are much like the cologne (or perfume) we are wearing; we smell the fragrance when we first put it on, but others smell it throughout the day. The fragrance you wear at work is noticed by those around you.

Fragrant

So what are your coworkers and customers smelling? The apostle Paul reminds us that as apprentices of Jesus, we have the fragrance of Christ. The attitudes we wear to our workplaces should remind others of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – should make up a great deal of our “fragrance.” After urging the Thessalonian believers to seek the common good of all, Paul lays out three attitude adjustments that powerfully transform the workplaces we have been called to inhabit. Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV) Paul encourages us to cultivate attitudes of joy, of prayer, and of gratitude. Though our work and our workplaces can be very frustrating at times and we often deal with some very difficult and demanding people, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to positively influence a workplace culture that promotes human flourishing, synergistic teamwork, and the common good.

As an overflow of our walk with Christ, we have the wonderful opportunity to bring a positive, joyful outlook to our daily work. No matter what our circumstances, our hope remains firmly tethered to the good news of the gospel. Because of our faith and our understanding of Christian vocation, we can give a warm smile to all of our coworkers, even those who at times rub us the wrong way. We can look for the good in others and praise them. We can truly celebrate when others are recognized for their achievements. We can express our appreciation through kind words and handwritten notes. And yes, our attitudes can be the sweet aroma of Christ to those around us.

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR THROUGH YOUR WORK!

January 14, 2014

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17, NIV)

Image of Christ

The fact that Jesus was a carpenter tells us that He did not think His occupation was below Him or that He was wasting His many gifts by spending time in the workplace. Think about it for a moment. The One who was the master craftsman of the universe spent a great deal of time during His thirty-three years on earth crafting things with His hands. It’s easy for us to overlook the fact that Jesus knew what it meant to get up and go to work every day. Jesus experienced both the exhilaration and the exhaustion of putting in a hard day’s work. He didn’t see His work as mundane or meaningless – it was the work His Father called Him to do.

I have a pretty good hunch that Jesus was a top-notch carpenter producing work of the highest quality. In fact, even before Jesus entered His rabbinical ministry, Matthew reminds his readers of God’s pleasure in His Son. Following Jesus baptism, the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and a voice from heaven declared, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17, NIV) I am sure there were many things that pleased the Father, but one important aspect of Jesus’ life that we must not overlook was His work as a carpenter. Much like us, He spent time in the workplace dealing with the same types of things we deal with every day. He was able to overcome the trials and temptations that affected His life and He was able to receive that vote of confidence from His Father – “with him I am well pleased.” Jesus’ Father is also our Father. How great would it be to hear those very same words about us from our Father in heaven!

We worship God in and through our work, but one of the primary ways we love our neighbor is in and through our vocation. Jesus calls us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NIV) The transforming truth is that God is very much at work in our work. He is transforming us in our work and transforming the world through our work.

Keep an open mind and an open heart as you enter your workplace today. Love those around you. Help transform the world – one day at a time. Remember, you are “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

MORE THAN A CARPENTER!

January 13, 2014

 ” ‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3, NIV)

Jesus the Carpenter

I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it before, but the other day as I was reading through the Gospel of Mark, I stumbled across this verse. It stopped me dead in my tracks. We are told that Jesus, who was spending His time as a wandering teacher, came back to His hometown of Nazareth. The crowd listened to Him teach in the synagogue, and they were stunned because He was displaying such wisdom and power. In their eyes, Jesus was still a carpenter from Nazareth – not a preacher. Mark records the hometown crowd saying,  “and they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3, NIV) That’s really hard for me to grasp. They took offense to Jesus! Really?

As I pondered these words, I began to reflect on the significance of Jesus spending so much time on earth working with his hands in a carpentry shop. Here was the Son of God sent to earth on a redemptive mission of seeking and saving the lost, of proclaiming the gospel – yet He spent the majority of His years on earth making things in a wood shop. Why was it the Father’s will for Jesus to spend so much time making things with His hands instead of gracing the Palestinian countryside, proclaiming the gospel and healing the multitudes?

Dallas Willard brings this refreshing perspective:

“If He were to come today as He did then, He could carry out His mission through any decent and useful occupation. He could be a clerk or accountant in a hardware store, a computer repairman, a banker, an editor, doctor, waiter, teacher, farm hand, lab technician, or construction worker. He could run a housecleaning service or repair automobiles. In other words, if He were to come today He could very well do what you do. He could very well live in your apartment or house, hold down your job, have your education and life prospects, and live within your family surroundings and time. None of this would be the least hindrance to the eternal kind of life that was His by nature and becomes available to us through Him.” (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, New York: HarperCollins, 1998, pg 14)

Yes, Jesus was more than a carpenter, but His vocational calling to work as a carpenter speaks volumes about the importance of our day-to-day vocational work. We, too, are more than our occupations. We were created in God’s image and our job is to seek and save the lost, to proclaim the gospel, and to bring others into a closer relationship with our Savior.

Our job is to spend our days, “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

WHY CAN’T I BE CONTENT AT WORK?

January 9, 2014

“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (Genesis 2:5-9, NIV)

Utopia

God created Utopia from nothing. He created a world which was pure, clean, and beautiful and gave it to man to take care of. God was a worker. He created man in His own image – to work the land and care for His new world. God saw a vision of men and women working in harmony, worshiping Him and glorifying Him in everything they did. He saw a peaceful world filled with love and beauty.

So why has that which God designed to be so majestic often become so mundane – so meaningless? Why all the confusion about our work? Why can’t we relax and enjoy our jobs? Whatever our jobs are, no matter how ordinary they seem, they can be extraordinary and brimming with God-honoring importance and significance if they are done well and for the glory of God.

If we are discovering the rich and robust doctrine of vocation for the first time, we might be tempted to see it as a passing Christian fad. In our more cynical moments, we might wonder whether all this talk about work is merely the latest hype in an often shallow, populist Christian faith. Though this kind of thinking about work may be new to you, let me assure you that the language and doctrine of Christian vocation is not faddish but foundational to an integral Christian faith. A right understanding of vocation has been a transforming truth in the day-to-day ordinary lives of faithful followers of Jesus for many centuries. Vocation is a robust theology of ordinary, everyday life.

What can you do to bring a little excitement back into you job? Try praying. Try studying the word of God. Quit complaining. Do your very best in everything you do. Make sure the path you are taking is a path that honors God and not one that turns you further away from Him.

Happiness and contentment come when we find ourselves living closer to our Father and further from those things that bring us down.

Happyness

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

YOUR WORK MATTERS!

January 7, 2014

“This is my Father’s World, O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.” (Maltbie Babcock, 1901, “This is my Father’s World.”)

My Father's World

The world we now inhabit still belongs to our Father. It’s future is highly and immensely important to God.  C. S. Lewis speaks of God’s new creation as not “unmaking” but “remaking.” In Miracles, he writes, “The old field of space, time, and matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug, and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field: God is not … . We live amid all the anomalies, inconveniences, hopes, and excitements of a house that is being rebuilt. Something is being pulled down and something going up in its place.” (New York: HarperOne, Reprint 2001, pp 244, 253)

Does your daily work reflect that you are a part of God’s new-creation redemptive building project? Do you grasp the destiny of this world, and have you thought about your place in it?

Much of our daily work is caring for our Father’s world and those who call it home. We make things. We fix things. We care for things. We serve others. What we do here is not a waste. The skills we are developing in our workplaces will never be wasted; they will be utilized and further developed in the future work God has for us to do in His “new” heaven and “new” earth. Our time here is simply preparation for an eternity of activity and creativity for all the ages.

Your work matters, not only today, but also for the future. Whenever you “clock in” make sure you understand that you are not just working for today; you’re working for eternity!

Your-Work-Matters-series-150x150

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

SHARE THE LOVE OF THE LORD!

January 3, 2014

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

Let Your Light Shine

One of the ways that we are salt and light and act as redemptive agents in this broken world is to live out a faithful presence in the workplace. Woody Allen once observed that 90% of life is simply showing up. As followers of Christ, we are called to a mission of engagement in, not withdrawal from, the broader world. To faithfully engage the world means we must be fully present within it.

A large part of our calling in the workplace is faithfully showing up every day and demonstrating to others the good found in and through our work. Living out a faithful presence in our workplace means that we embody the gospel by doing our best work and by being exemplary workers. It means that we extend common grace to our coworkers and our customers and seek their good. As image-bearers of God, we must remember that our work has intrinsic value in itself and is to be an act of worship. We must also grasp that our work has instrumental value in that it provides for our economic needs, allows us to care for the needs of others, and creates a sphere of influence for the gospel to be lived out and shared.

As we begin this new year, I pray that each of us accepts the challenge that our workplaces are places of ministry and that we consider them gifts from God. We don’t necessarily have to become “fire and brimstone” preachers, but we must understand that we are working for a purpose. That purpose is to glorify our Father and to bring others closer to Christ! What a perfect venue to share the love of the Lord!

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Happy New Year!

“Working for Christ”!


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