Kingdom Principle: Life is to be an act of Worship – your labor will either be worship or it will be wasted.
Your Work is to be an expression of Worship.
When you are asked by someone who doesn’t know you very well, “Tell me about yourself?” what is your answer? (Think of your answer…) How quickly does your profession/work come up? In other words – how quickly do you substitute “what you do” for “who you are”? There are two basic responses that result from this thinking. First, you must discover your identity apart from your work – you are a human being, not a human doing. In this way, it is wrong to answer the question about yourself with “what you do” for a living. Or a second possibility is to understand that your labor/work is an act of worship. Thus in this way, telling someone about yourself by describing what you do – is a great way to share with them how you worship.
So when asked about your life – feel free to answer – I am a Worshipper – and I spend most of my awake hours offering my life as an act of worship, as a ______________. (Rom. 12:1-2)Where the blank is your labor/job. This answer may seem foolish, but it is at the heart of the Kingdom and it is the opposite of the fool in the Psalm passage. (see 1 Cor. 4:8-17)This is not limited to those with “paid work”… For someone who is a student… this is where they find themselves 7-8 hours a day… therefore – fill in the blank with “student”. The same is true for those who are retired or others who spend the majority of time outside “work”. The truth of this conviction is declared by Jesus in his parable about working all day, or for one hour and getting the same pay. When your work is an expression of worship – the joy comes not from the pay/compensation, but rather from the contribution you are making to the Kingdom.
I try to follow the statement “Work to Live, rather than Live to Work” which implied the basic truth that working is a means to an end and that the end is to live your life to the full. This is supported by my perspective that we are all called to be in full-time ministry. (This does not mean employed by the “church”, but to live as the church “full time”. As a Life Coach I ask many people the question – “If money was no object what would you do with your life?” That question is often too difficult to answer, so I simplify it with: When you have all the time in the world – what will you do? As well as, When you have all the money in the world – what will you do? The answers usually begin with: I would quit my job & travel &/or spend time with family &/or help those in need. These are great answers, how do your answers fill in the “____” if you were to have endless time and money. I have discovered a very important secret, which very few know and I believe the church has even attempted to cover up (The best part is that my job is not to sell the secret, rather to give it away) Your work (labor/job/profession) is one of your greatest forms of worship. This is also one of the greatest paradigm shifts of the Kingdom – because it frees you from spiritual disciplines (which most don’t practice) and going “to” church (which most do less than 2 hours a week) as being the only means to connect with God. (Spiritual Disciples and being in community with fellow believers are essential to your continued formation, but they were never intended to limit your worship, rather to increase the intimacy of worship.) With a renewed paradigm of work as worship, there is no need to quit your job should you ever experience a windfall of time or money – that would remove you from the most consistent and regular aspect of worship in my life.
This raises many questions for most people: What if I don’t like my job, what if I don’t have a job, what if I don’t work in/for Christian company or location, what if I don’t like the people I work with or what if my work is a constant place of temptation? what if? what if… What if we stop asking “what if” and change the question –How can my work become an aspect of worship? (This re-orientation has been the theme since Pentecost – quickly review the Kingdom Principles of the last 7 weeks.)
- Living in the Kingdom of God is a choice…
- Living in the Kingdom is a matter of faith…
- Living in the Kingdom is a spiritual reality…
- Living in the Kingdom is a physical reality…
The reality is your work/labor can advance and express the Kingdom of God – when you choose, by faith to merge the spiritual and the physical as an act of worship.
The scriptures this week show us, what happens when we don’t see our work as worship. We end up in sin, foolish, trying to make on our own, and missing the opportunities to give God Glory.
King David’s work was to lead the nation of Israel – that meant leading the troops out to war. His sin, (that most overlook) was abandoning his work, this then opened the door for sin to grow leading him to adultery and murder. (James 1:13-15) You may not consider yourself tempted to be an adulterer or murderer, (Matt 5:21-30), beware before you judge David, the point here begins with looking the small choices of going to work everyday. David did not “have” to go off to work – he had money to “pay” someone else to do his job thus increasing his time. So if time & money is what you seek – beware. So what can you do? Col. 3:17 – “Whatever you say or do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus.”
If you hate you job or you simply have no job; as the Psalm directs – do not be a fool. The fool works for money or because they “have to”, our call is labor for the Lord, trusting that He shall be our refuge. What this means in practical terms is – Trust the Lord to provide, and begin to do/labor/work your heart’s desire. (There are many ways to go about this – do not move in anger/resentment or quit thinking you are now released… Rather, first begin to ask the Lord, How is it that you ended in this role, and what can/must I learn from this place first? Second ask the Lord if he releases you from this job? You may have an “assignment” that once you finish it a promotion will come your way.) As we saw in last week’s scripture, if where you intend to go is not the Lord’s will, expect Him to intervene and bring conviction and correction. This is a blessing, not a curse. Don’t make the error of looking for a job to provide enough money to give you the freedom to do what you want when you are not at work. Rather, approach work in such a way that you express the Freedom of the Spirit as you work and trust in God’s provision is a matter of Faith.
My issue is simple, I still struggle to believe that what ask the Lord for can be given. For 5 years I have continued to attempt to live into Ephesians 3:14-21… I am still not asking for enough. I have a limited scope of what God can do and is willing to do. Every time I think I grasp how deep and wide the love of God is – God “peels back the scales of my eyes” to show me another dimension or depth I could not fathom before. When I ask – I ask for hundreds and he says, why not thousands, when I ask for thousands, he says why not millions… so on and so forth… I find myself counting my wages, and rowing all night long, when what I really need to do is let my Work be Worship, rather than making Worship so much Work.