Viewing Our Work as Worship
In this episode we’re going to be talking about the heart of the Work + Worship podcast and why it exists – and hopefully it’ll give you a better understanding of the conversations that we’ll be having with other entrepreneurs + homemakers!
Today, we’re going to be talking about how we view our work as worship. We’ll start with defining work and what the Bible has to say about our work. Then we’ll discuss a few simple ways we as Christians and business owners can view our work differently. And dive into the idea that by keeping a heart posture of worship, we can be better stewards of our work, businesses, lives, and families.
So let’s start with our definition of work – what do you think of when you hear the word “work”?
Most of us probably think of a job or our business.
You know, the “work” that earns money.
But if you look at the actual definition of work – this one is from the Oxford dictionary – work is defined as “a task or tasks to be undertaken; something a person or thing has to do.”
In this sense, work has a MUCH broader meaning. It’s literally everything we do.
Our tasks could include everything from serving a client or launching a new course to doing the dishes and giving our kids their bedtime baths.
Our work is walking the dogs and shoveling our driveway.
It’s budgeting and cleaning our home and all of the big and little things we do every day – many of them mindless and not something we’d consider “work” as it relates to our bigger purpose.
But it’s ALL work – we’ll talk more about this in a second.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I was a little surprised to see that the definition of work in a dictionary was more closely related to how work is portrayed in the Bible than I had expected.
How Work is portrayed in the Bible
If you’ve ever read the Bible (and if you haven’t, I HIGHLY recommend you do. Actually reading through the Bible was a gamechanger in my own life + faith).
Anyways, if you’ve read the Bible you probably know that God has a LOT to say about work.
In fact, there are 859 Bible passages that relate to work.
So to say the work we do here on earth is important is an understatement.
Now I feel like there needs to be a quick disclaimer here… While I am saying our work is important + purposeful, let me be really clear: I am NOT saying that our work is the basis for our salvation.
Our salvation comes through faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone.
No works involved there, folks.
BUT, our work is still important on earth and in relation to eternity. And the Bible has a lot to say about it.
And while there may be over 800 passages about work, we really don’t have to go far into the Bible to learn about work and God’s purpose for it.
The Creation story in Genesis has a LOT to say.
As we read through Genesis 1, we read all about God’s work in Creation. One of the things I love most about these verses is that each time God creates something – light, the seas, the trees and fruit of the world, everything – He states that it was GOOD. That’s how each day of creation was marked – God created something, saw that it was good, and then evening passed and morning came and the next day of creation started.
The first time we EVER hear about work and creation it is GOOD.
As God filled the earth with good things, we were created in His image and called to work alongside him and – you guessed it – fill the earth with good things!
Our Work is GOOD
I remember when I first became a Christian (and shortly after an entrepreneur for the first time), one of the first books I read was Called to Create by Jordan Raynor.
It was the first time I really challenge my perspective on work and saw it as something GOOD and creative.
Coming from a corporate job that seemed to suck the life and soul out of me, work had felt like a burden, not a blessing.
There’s so much I could say about that book specifically, and maybe I’ll do a whole podcast episode on it or bring Jordan on the podcast, but for now I’ll just say this to sum it up: God is the Creator. He created everything in this world, and He created us.
And He created us to work.
In Genesis 2:15, it says: “The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”
We were created and CALLED to work. Our work is rooted in God’s original design for humanity.
It isn’t bad or just a part of the fall.
Although – it definitely got harder because of it.
But work itself is good + part of God’s original design for us.
Working as Worship
So now that we’ve established what we mean when we talk about the idea of work – and how we were created and called to work, let’s talk about how we think about our work.
And more importantly, how we can view our work as worship.
Which is the heart of not just this episode, but this entire podcast.
In Colossians 3:23 Paul tells us: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
There are a few really important pieces here.
First – Paul says “Whatever you do” – not just our work outside of our homes. Not just the work that pays bills or gets us recognition.
ALL of our work is important – and I’d argue all of our work is part of our ministry here on earth – whether it’s in our business, raising littles, serving on Sundays, being in our community – the phrase “Whatever you do” encompasses all of that.
Second, Paul says to “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”
As Christians, we’re called to work differently.
We don’t just work to work. Or work to make money. Or work to achieve.
Our work is a way we honor + glorify God.
This passage reminds us that we should strive to do our work as if we are working for the Lord, and that whatever work we do should be done with excellence.
Our work should be an act of worship to God, seeking to honor Him in all we do.
Whether it’s a big business goal or cleaning our dishes.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Do it ALL for the glory of God.
Whatever we do, whether it is work-related or not, should be done with the intention of honoring God. Of viewing our work as worship, and not just as what we can accomplish.
Worship vs. Accomplishment
Let’s be honest, there’s a big difference in working to achieve + working as worship.
As a recovering workaholic who loooooovess getting gold stars, this is something I’ve really struggled with personally. It’s SO easy for me to want to do excellent work because I want accomplishments and recognition.
Full transparency here, I got sucked into the gold-star rat race for a really long time, and I’m sure I’ll share more of my testimony on a later episode, but for now suffice it to say work in terms of what I could achieve was definitely an idol in my life.
Now that’s not to say there’s something inherently wrong with achievement in itself.
In fact, I think as Christians we should be striving to do excellent work as a way to honor and glorify God.
BUT in our world, it’s so easy for our achievements to become an idol. To hit six-figures just because that’s what a “successful” entrepreneur does. Or to have 10k followers because THEN you’re an authority and expert in your field.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with these things – but at the end of the day, those worldly metrics don’t mean much, and at worst – they become dangerous when they become idols and take precedence over our relationship with God.
So how can we VALUE our work, strive to do excellent work, but not let the importance of our work take God’s place in our lives?
I feel like we could have a LOT of episodes just about that one question – but for now I’ll just say that it comes down to the belief that everything we have is a gift from the Lord. Our talents, our time, our resources.
He has given us our work to do. He has a calling on your life.
So how we steward those things, aka our work, should first and foremost be an act of worship to Him. We can honor and glorify Him through doing excellent work that serves others well.
In fact, I think viewing our work as worship is one of the simplest ways to live out the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others.
Even if our work isn’t Christian in nature, HOW we work and HOW we serve others is a way to live out the calling to love God and love His people.
Let’s bring heaven to earth in how we run our businesses. In how we manage our homes. In how we love our families. In how we serve others.
And let’s start by viewing our work as an act of worship unto the Lord.
Work + Worship Podcast
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