Spiritual Renewal Through Work: A Personal Story

By Mark D. Roberts

March 7, 2019

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24


In the last two life for Leaders devotions (3/5/19 and 3/6/19), I’ve been talking about how God renews and forms us through our work. Yesterday, I put forth the example of Brother Lawrence, who experienced God’s presence even in the midst of tedious work that he found naturally disagreeable. Today, I want to share with you one way God is shaping me through my daily work.

As you know, I work at Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where I am the Executive Director. There is much about this work that I love. I get to help folks like you discover the adventure of whole-life discipleship, especially in the workplace. Through these Life for Leaders devotions, I get to study Scripture and share what I am learning. I have some fantastic colleagues in the De Pree Center and in Fuller’s Leadership Formation Division, which is our institutional home. Almost on a daily basis I thank God for the blessing of my work.

But certain aspects of my work have been extremely challenging. One of these has to do with the financial health of the De Pree Center. I am primarily responsible for raising the funds that enable us to flourish—and, frankly, to keep the doors open. I enjoy meeting with potential donors to share our work and preparing grant proposals for foundations. I love sharing the vision of the De Pree Center and the story of how God is blessing our work. Yet at the same time the financial uncertainty associated with my work consistently challenges my faith.

This has to do in part with what I experienced while growing up. For several years when I was a boy, my father was unemployed. Though we weren’t desperately poor, we ate government surplus food and I wore out-of-date hand-me-down clothes. These were not easy days for a young teenager who yearned to be accepted by his peers. As a result of what happened to me during that time, I have a deep felt need for financial security and predictability.

In my current job I have been greatly blessed and encouraged by the generosity of donors and foundations. Nevertheless, the very thing about my job that makes me the most uncomfortable—financial insecurity—is the very thing that God is using most to form me through my work. God is teaching me to pray, to seek him, and to be more open to his will. Most of all, God is teaching me to trust him in new and stretching ways. Though I have a long way to go, I can say with gratitude that I trust God more today than I did when I began at the De Pree Center.

Your work setting may be very different from mine. But, no matter the challenges, frustrations, and opportunities you face, God wants to use them all to help you grow to be more like Jesus. This is good news, indeed.

Something to Think About:

Can you think of a time (or multiple times) in your life when God renewed and formed you through your daily work? What happened and how did you grow?

What helps you to be open to God’s renewing work in the context of your daily work—every day?

Something to Do:

Talk with a good friend or your small group about how God is using your work to help you be more like Christ. If you don’t know what to say, talk about this uncertainty. See if you can discover ways God is forming you through your work as you talk. Pray for each other, for greater openness and attentiveness to the Spirit.


Gracious God, how I thank you for meeting me in the context of my daily work. Thank you for guiding me, encouraging me, blessing me with great colleagues, and using my work to form me. Though I don’t really love the tough challenges, I do thank you for using them to help me grow.

Dear Lord, may I be more attentive to how you are forming me through my work, so that I might be more available to you. Mold me as I work so that I might be more and more like Christ. Amen.

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
Jesus’ 10 Principles for Working – An Overview on Faith and Work

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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