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Many well-meaning Christians feel trapped by their employment instead of viewing their jobs as an opportunity to serve the Lord.

Walk into any Christian bookstore in America and you will find an abundance of books on marriage, parenting, finances and many other vital topics. However, there is one area of life that seems almost forgotten, and that is the subject of work.

It has been estimated that 90 percent of all Christians have never read a book about work. Imagine that!

Why is the subject of work the last frontier of Christian living?

I believe the first and most important question about work we need to answer is this: is working sacred or secular? Or you could say, "Is work a spiritual or a natural endeavor? Is it something we primarily do just to pay our financial obligations?"

The way we answer these questions will impact our work experience and ultimately our entire Christian life.

Think about it. You most likely spend more waking hours at work than doing anything else. If work is something natural (basically done to pay the bills and feed your family), about half of your waking hours has no spiritual value.

Let's examine Colossians 3:23: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." The preceding verse, verse 22, talks about servants serving their masters. If something is true for a servant serving his master, it will also be true for an employee serving an employer.

In fact, Bible principles should work more readily in employee/employer relationships.

Your Specific Job Doesn't Matter To God
The proper context of Colossians 3:23 is speaking of work. Notice the word "whatsoever." Whatever you do at work, do it heartily as to the Lord. This would be inclusive of only legal and ethical employment.

The word "whatsoever" encompasses whatever your occupation is—a banker in Boston, a taxi driver in Chicago, or an office worker in Los Angeles. I believe the church has done an excellent job of exhorting people to serve the Lord but hasn't communicated very well how this can be accomplished in the workplace.

This has left many well-meaning Christians feeling trapped by their employment instead of viewing their jobs as an opportunity to serve the Lord.

An example of this would be a man I knew who had studied to be a doctor before attending Bible school. He had such a desire to serve the Lord that he felt he should become a full-time pastor or missionary when he graduated. Twenty years later, he is neither a doctor nor in the ministry. He has had a number of other jobs. He says he feels "trapped" in his job.

I believe the man made this mistake. He saw his choices like this: Choice number one—to be in full-time ministry and serve God. Choice number two—to be in a "secular" job and not serve God.

He never considered choice number three—be in a "regular" job and yet see it as something done unto the Lord.

Romans 8:6 says, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." The word carnal simply means natural.

We also know from Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

You could say this: the paycheck we receive for sin is death. Lying, cheating, sexual sins and the like all give the paycheck of death. Most dedicated Christians would avoid those obvious sins like they would avoid the plague. Why? The answer is obvious: the result of sin is death.

The death that is spoken of in that verse does not mean that our heart stops beating and we perish from this earth. Death in that context means separation from God.

Sin is death (separation from God). Something else is also harmful to us: to be naturally minded about our jobs. This produces the paycheck of death for us or separation from god as it relates to our work experience.

Obviously, that doesn't mean you'll miss heaven. What it does mean is you will miss the fruit of God's life and peace.

A Prime Example
You may recognize the name Smith Wigglesworth as someone who was a well-known preacher years ago. Before Wigglesworth was a preacher, he was a plumber.

One day Wigglesworth was repairing a woman's leaky bathtub. He was just doing his job and singing to himself. The woman was very curious. Finally, she asked him, "Why are you so happy? Why do you smile so much?" Wigglesworth then was able to tell her about Jesus and lead her to the Lord.

Called To A Greater Purpose
God wants to use all of us in whatever type of employment we have. Let Jesus put a smile on your face each day.

Hopefully, you're reading this article as a Christian who really loves God. If you have a heart to serve the Lord, but you're in a dead-end job or just feel like what you do doesn't really matter and seems so secular, be encouraged. The Bible says we are to do our work for the Lord.

If you don't have a real sense of purpose in what you do or don't understand your work as spiritual, remember that your job, if done properly, honors the Lord. And don't be deceived—you can have a high ranking job and still feel that what you do doesn't matter.

As a Christian, your purpose must be greater than earning money.

As a child, I was taught that anything I did in church I was doing for Jesus so I should do the best job I could. Scripturally, we can say that any work we do, we are doing for Jesus. Anything you do for the Lord is then sacred (scriptural).

And, your job has added significance; done properly, it will bring a reward—"the reward of the inheritance" (Col. 3:24).

Copyright © by Nate Belkstrom
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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