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Whether you realize it or not, the time you spend on your job can not only help you fulfill God's calling for your life, but it can also help you develop your personal ministry skills.

Adam and Jesus
Let's examine our common ancestor, Adam. God called the first person in the Bible to work the garden of Eden. We find in Genesis 2:15 that the word "dress" in the original language means to "work."

Working the garden was a spiritual endeavor for Adam. Jesus, Himself, spent four to five times more of his life working as a carpenter than a preacher. Were all those years wasted in the Lord's life?

Absolutely not. Jesus would not do anything that was a waste of time. What did Jesus do during His teenage years and His twenties? I've found just one verse that refers to that time of His life. Luke 2:52 says, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man."

That's exactly what you can do on your job no matter what type of work you do.

The years Jesus spent as a carpenter helped to produce a strong foundation for the greatest ministry ever. Every type of employment needs wisdom—doctor, electrician, office worker, building contractor, factory worker, or whatever. Every job presents its unique problems and calls for wisdom to produce maximum productivity.

If God would give Jesus wisdom as a carpenter, He certainly will do the same for you in your employment. It's interesting that one of the definitions of wisdom is "practical skill for life and work."

While working as a carpenter, Jesus also increased in favor with God and man. While you are working a secular job, you can increase in favor with God and other people by the way you handle your job. If you are in the workforce now and feel that one day you will be in the pulpit ministry, learn everything about your job, working with people, and organizational skills.

Realize that you have a ministry now, and God has much to teach you. There are things you need to learn while on your present job that will be beneficial should you be in a pulpit ministry later.

Only in hindsight, did I realize how much my work at an athletic club after Bible school was continued education for me. Consider each day to be a learning experience in working with people.

A Godly Ambition
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11, the Apostle Paul is talking to the church at Thessalonica, a church like most, where the majority of the people were not involved in pulpit ministry.

Paul gave the people in that church some wonderful spiritual advice. He said, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders (non-Christians) and so that you will not be dependent on anyone."

Obviously, Paul had told them that same thing before, and now he was repeating it. Imagine how well off the world and our churches would be if the advice of Paul was heeded.

It's interesting that Paul, who was a very spiritual person, didn't say something like this: "Now people, if you really want to be spiritual and please God, here's what you need to do: figure out some way you can pursue full-time pulpit ministry. Then what you do in life will have real significance, and you will have job satisfaction."

On the contrary, Paul commended working with your hands.

When Paul said, "Make it your ambition to work with your own hands" in effect, he was telling them to learn a trade, something they could do with their hands.

Even Paul, the greatest preacher of his day had skills as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3). At least once that trade was useful for him. It is a good idea for a person in the pulpit ministry to have something they can do well with their hands.

Obviously, in our rapidly changing world, working with your hands may mean something different now than it did in the first century.

There are other benefits for ministers having a trade or working with their hands. It is something they can do for enjoyment and helps them to be well-rounded people.

Maybe it is something like woodworking. To relax and have a change of pace in one's life, they can occasionally head for their tools and enjoy making something with their hands.

Your Pastor may get some of his or her best sermon ideas or answers to difficult situations you're dealing with while working with your hands.

One other benefit about being able to work with your hands is doing something that especially helps people feel good about themselves.

To have someone admire what you do or simply have the satisfaction that comes from making something yourself, is very rewarding. "It is comely for one to eat, drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor" (Eccl. 5:18).

Any type of employment you do working with your hands is a spiritual endeavor. Think of it as spiritual, treat it as spiritual, and you will reap spiritual benefits. First Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Preaching, teaching a Sunday School class, or visiting the nursing home as always been thought of as the work of the Lord. Any work can be the work of the Lord if we do it the right way and for the right reasons.

Is ushering at church spiritual? Yes. Is Pastoring doing the work of the Lord? Absolutely. Is honest employment the work of the Lord? Yes. Therefore, you can know your labor is not in vain.

Copyright © Living Word Church
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Nate Belkstrom
Web site: Living Word Church
Pastor Nate Belkstrom graduated from Christ for the Nations Bible College in 1976, and he spent the next six years in the workplace where he experienced a difficult time connecting his work with his Christianity. It was there that his heart was touched to help other Christians in their workplace experience.

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