What Work Taught Me About Jesus and His Kingdom
Work...the word that can either inspire excitement or dread, pleasure or frustration, confidence or doubt. I’ve been working various jobs since I was seventeen years old, but it wasn’t until this year that the Lord began to open my eyes to the reality of how He is shaping my heart towards work.
I work in retail, which can often be a difficult, frustrating, and exhausting field of work that wears me down instead of filling me up. I’m surrounded by so many people, each with their own individual needs and longings that I am unable to meet oftentimes, which can lead me to become the emotional or mental punching bag for them and their unhappiness. Most days, I arrive home completely drained and restless...wondering if I really made a difference for Christ or if He even sees my work.
It wasn’t until recently that I sought the Lord’s counsel on how I should view and approach my work when He opened my eyes to see how this particular season, this particular job, and this particular form of work is shaping me into becoming the woman He longs for me to be.
So whether you’re a mother, a cashier, a CEO, in ministry or out of ministry...all work matters to the Lord. Nothing is wasted or unseen by His eyes (Psalm 34:15). These are the lessons He’s taught me on how to view and approach my work in a Godly manner, regardless of my job title.
WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD: CREATED TO WORK AND TO WORK WELL
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” - Genesis 1:26-27 NIV
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” - Genesis 2:15 NIV
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” - Matthew 25:21 NIV
We are created in the very image of God: echoes of His personality, His likeness, His character are written within our DNA. Work was designed and created by the Lord our God. The very Creator took intentional time and purpose in His work of creating this world and everything in it. He delighted Himself in His work of creation: He declared “it is good” over everything He created, cultivated, and sustained. He didn’t rush through it trying to enter into a new season of life, instead He faithfully engaged in each moment of His work.
If I am to reflect my Creator, shouldn’t I take the same view and approach towards my job? I was created to work, to work well, and to find delight in it. Though this work isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my life, I still desire to be a faithful servant of the Lord in every moment of my life. When I see Him face to face one day, I want Him to be pleased with how I lived my life, including how I approached my work. I long to hear those words of delight spoken over me.
MAKE CHRIST THE DELIGHT OF YOUR LIFE
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” - Colossians 3:22-24 NIV
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart--they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” - Psalm 119:1-4 NIV
“If you love me, keep my commands... Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’” - John 14:15, 23-24 NIV
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God---this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is---his good,pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:1-2 NIV
The Lord opened my eyes to see that my job could be an opportunity to express my love, gratitude, and devotion to Him for how His love changed my life. My work became a form of worship to Him. I began to see my job through His eyes and His perspective. Everything changed after He began to shift my mindset from pleasing people to pleasing Him through my work.
I had been approaching my job with the mentality that I was only serving people, which led to me feeling so defeated, discouraged, and overwhelmed. Once I started focusing on serving God, no longer did I have to work to prove myself capable or good enough to others;instead, I could simply do my best work in order to bring pleasure and delight to my Savior’s heart. Honoring and glorifying Him became my purpose. Delighting myself in His love for me became the strength I needed to be sustained and to serve others.
I encourage you, sweet sister, to sit at the Lord’s feet and to let Him speak His truth over you. Let Him remind you of His great love for you, personally. Let Him unwind you from all of your striving and to lead you by the restful waters that can replenish your soul.
LEAN ON THE LORD DAILY
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” - Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” - 1 Peter 5:6-9 NIV
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NIV
Our work is a battlefield, whether in ministry or not. Satan robs us of life and delight, and one of the main ways he tries to wear us down is through our work. Don’t be fooled, sweet sisters---the battle is a lot more subtle and quiet than we realize. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is not against the people that surround us. We are surrounded by temptation daily, and our flesh is always at war with our spirit.
It wasn’t until recently that the Lord really began to reveal just how conniving and low the devil will stoop in order to direct my attention to my flesh and sin. Satan knows my weaknesses. The insecurity in myself was tamed by the connection I felt when I engaged in gossip with co-workers. My need for affirmation, worth, and value was found in the attention and gaze of male co-workers. My desire for identity and purpose was met in pleasing people...but when their praises fell, I lost who I was.
But know this, my dear friends:
Satan might be the roaring lion, but we have the Shepherd of our souls standing before us and within us. He fights for us.
It’s in our weakest moments when Christ becomes the power we need to fight the good fight of faith. It’s only when we call on Him that our enemies flee in fear. We cannot fight this battle with our own hands---and we were never meant to. I don’t know the battles you face or the weariness that you may feel, but Christ does. Allow Him to be your strength and to redirect your focus away from the battle and back onto His face. It’s only when we fix our eyes on Him that we find ourselves recentered and strong enough to walk the path He calls us to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello Friend! I'm so glad that you are here! My name is Paige: I am a 23 year old native Texan who is currently residing within the beautiful state of Washington. I am an INFP and a deeply introverted and reserved young woman, but I have a passion for loving God and loving others very deeply. I found the Lord in one of the darkest seasons of my life, but because of the grace of Jesus, I encountered a love so deep and merciful that I can't help but share the hope I found in him. I hope the words I write can serve to build you up, encourage and inspire you to seek him daily.