SUMMER PODCAST REBOOT – this episode was originally published in Vision Week in autumn 2019.
Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Thursday’s Podcast in Vision week here at STC. Our vision for 2020 is ‘Join Us for the Better Life’ and this week we are considering how our 24/7 busy lives are radically and practically changed as we engage with this better life that Jesus calls us to. Yesterday, money – today a reflection on work.
Work … it can be defined in many ways – perhaps the following two definitions are the most common.
- physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something
- paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession
However we define it, we spend most of our waking time engaged in work. We will spend around 90k hours at work in our lifetime, that’s over 3,500 days. It’s good to know then after a long day at work as we travel home we can say ‘Another day gone, only 2,413 to go!’ I hope that little fact helps your working day zoom along today! Seriously, if we spend so much time ‘at work’ how can the Better Life Jesus brings change the working life I engage with every day? Read on …
Paul has some wise words to say about ‘work’; remember, he was a part time tent maker as well as an amazing theologian / church planter so he knew what he was talking about!
Colossians 3:23-24 NIV
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. …
A few weeks ago on The Grow Project we considered our ‘Calling’ as disciples of Jesus. Let me remind you again of these words in the introduction to that module …
‘one of our key teachings at STC is that of ‘identity and purpose’; a phrase we use to describe this is ‘who are you and what do you do?’ These two questions are so fundamental in our walk as disciples of Jesus … his apprentices. For many, our identity is often found in what we do, what we have and what other people think of us.
As his disciples our identity and calling is found in Jesus and becoming like him. This is our ‘calling’.’ Work is such an important part of our lives and we often think of work as a means to an end, to get what we need so we can do what we want. Our workplaces are often overlooked when we think of our ‘calling’.
As a disciple of Jesus, I have found such a release to understand the difference between my ‘occupation’, the work I do – and my ‘vocation’, the Godly calling upon my life. In my own life, since becoming a Christian, my paid occupation has changed from working in industry to ordination and working in the church. However, my vocation has never changed, I am still a child of God looking to live out his Better Life every day whether I am paid or not.
My ‘work’ may change – perhaps a new career, maternity leave, homemaker, full time carer, etc; indeed we may have times in life when we have no paid work at all. However, we always have a Kingdom calling to fulfil. You see, disciples of Jesus are never left ‘unemployed’. Periods of unpaid work just give more time for Kingdom work!
Knowing this distinction between ‘occupation’ and ‘vocation’ can be a great release and enable us to see sharing our faith as being a natural overflow of who I am (vocation) than than a task I must fulfil (religious occupation!). Witness at work can be as simple as a friendly smile, a gentle encouragement, a genuine thank you, a get well soon card, a home baked cake – especially on a Monday morning – the first morning back after the weekend! Our workplaces can be the best place to share God’s love. Just imagine, if you weren’t there, who would bring the presence of heaven to your colleagues?
Again, a reminder from the Grow ‘Calling’ module:
The church generally has lost confidence in its ability to witness; we have been told a lie that nobody wants to listen to our God story any more – it’s not true, people do want to listen! Tricia and I are Christians because someone told us their God story; they witnessed to us – it works!
Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.
Lord Jesus, thank you for my occupation – the gift of work; the opportunity to use my gifts and skills to, in some way, make a difference. Thank you for my vocation – my heavenly calling to being your child. I rejoice in them both today. Amen