by John Spadafora,
Director of Church Connections
God works and creates a beautiful universe. The crown of His work is man, His image-bearer: created for Him, created to work like Him, created to display Him to others throughout the world (Genesis 1-2).
God has given leaders to the church to equip His people for their divine work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). This month we briefly look at three New Testament realities of work.
Love is the greatest | The purpose of life for all humanity is summed up in this: loving God supremely and our neighbor sacrificially as Jesus has loved us. Through our love, we bring others into relationship with God, and they in turn do that with others (i.e., make disciples). Transformation begins to occur in individual lives, in community and, ultimately, in society as we enter and engage it. Our love through our work serves the common good of all and not just an individual. Consequently, the great mission of God through the gospel, which aims at nothing less than the reversal of all the consequences of sin and evil in our world, is moved along until that day when Jesus returns. For most of God's people, the primary setting for this drama of God's transformational love, after the home, is the workplace.
Jesus is our boss | Four times in Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul highlights the reality that we are ultimately working for Jesus. If so, what does serving Him look like? Obedience, respect and whole-hearted service for others. In Titus, the apostle Paul adds, "not to talk back, not to steal, but to show that [we] can be fully trusted, so that in every way [we] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (2:9-10, NIV). Interestingly, Paul is addressing followers of Christ working in the broken environment of New Testament-era slavery, characterized by everything from good relationships to petty annoyances to outright abuse. That's not unlike workplaces today throughout the world. Into that world, we follow Jesus as our boss.
We are His priests | In Jesus, we have direct access to God and we are all ministers in our world. We are mediators who stand between God and the people of our workplace, representing them to God and representing God to them. Thus, the workplace is indeed a sacred field of ministry in which we love and serve others. It's the primary ministry venue for disciple-making priests in light of the volume of time that we spend there.
Therefore, to equip God's people for the work of ministry, we must address work in these ways.