Your Work Today Matters

All Christians are missionaries - and the stuff of mission is the rather common, ordinary, mundane rhythm of everyday life. This means that your job - yes, the one that you don't love but pays the bills - is a mission field.

Now, I'm not sure that means you need to talk about Jesus around the water cooler with one of your co-workers (although you could and the Holy Spirit might create an opportunity to do so). In fact, it's a stretch to say that the Scriptures command each of us to proactively insert ourselves in conversation into the lives of relative strangers with the gospel message.

What does seem obvious throughout the Bible is that our lives - individually and together - serve as salt and light in a bland and dusky world. Which brings me to my point: your work today matters.

Tom Peters, in his book The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence, quotes Martin Luther King, Jr:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, Here lived a great street sweeper who did his life well.

The point that Peters makes to those of us who don't love our work is this: 'there's always a promotion right around the corner - or at least something close to a short-term employment guarantee' if you live out MLK's insight.

Let me take it one step further and say that the reason your work matters - and this is the heart of mission - is not to earn the applause of men or of God but to work in such a way that the people around you might see the way you work and glorify God because of you (I Peter 2:12).

Does that mean that the way you flip a burger will change someone's life? Yes...and no. No one experiences the forgiveness and freedom of grace just because you show up on time and treat people with respect. But when you care about the work in front of you and the people around you, the world takes notice - and questions are going to be asked that give you the opportunity to talk about why you have hope in a job that might not include hope in your benefits package (I Peter 3:15).

How crazy is this - not only did God come near and sacrifice himself for you, but because of the cross he connects you to his world through your work and creates opportunities for you to sacrifice yourself for him.

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