For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
I had the opportunity recently to hear Sebastian Traeger speak on work. Although the auditorium was packed, he could have been speaking to one young person sorting out his future. Or to a professional in a mid-life funk wondering if what he does really matters. What he said, and the thoughtfulness of his presentation, actually surprised me. It had less a flavor of a highly successful entrepreneur’s career advice, and more that of a friend counseling a friend.
Here are the highlights from his talk:
- Is fulltime ministry more valuable than my job? Are some jobs more valuable to God than others? No.
- Who we work for is more valuable that what we do. Whatever is our work, as believers, we work for God. He is our boss. We are servants of the King.
- God deploys each of us to do what He has for us to do – and what He means for us to do is always beyond our competence. We need Him.
- What God values is not always obvious to us (Matthew 20:1-16).
- God deploys us. Be fully where He has you until it’s clear He has a next assignment for you. He deploys us both inside our workplace and beyond, in our communities and to the nations.
- Desire, abilities, opportunity – these three factors work together under His guidance. You may have one or more but not all three where you are. Don’t be discouraged. Trust God and do whatever you can to be faithful in hearing and obeying God in your desire, abilities, and opportunities.
- What assignment has God given you? Be faithful.
- Paul’s example in his letter to Philemon about Onesimus – one can seek freedom (a change) from his (work) situation but he must strive to be faithful in the meantime.
- There is mystery in God’s purposes. Trust Him.
- Finally, in sorting out your work situation, remember 3 things: 1. We live in a fallen world. Take this into account in dealing with your expectations. 2. Pray for opportunity (within your work and outside your workplace). 3. Trust God.
Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert go deeper into these concepts in their book The Gospel at Work. They present a revelationary teaching on the issues of idleness and idolatry in our work and how to “pursue faithfulness, then fruitfulness”.
“The answer to fighting complacency is recognizing that you work for the Lord in all that you do. He’s not primarily calling you to your job; He’s calling you to belong to Him. Understanding the gospel in light of our work helps us to understand that we are to be sold-out disciples in all things.”*
Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert
Photo Credits: Images of Sebastian Traeger (bpnews.net) and Greg Gilbert (cbmw.org)