What is Your Work?

By Rev. Tim Yee

August 5, 2017

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31


A person unbuttoning their shirt to show their hidden Superman shirt.Most of us spend the majority of our lives working in some capacity though the contexts we work in vary greatly. So let’s begin with a commonly asked question: What do you do for work?

I have a title at my church: Senior Pastor. But that doesn’t describe what I actually do. What does a pastor do? It depends on the church, the role and the circumstances of the day, but generally pastors care for and lead a specific congregation.

In my context of a small, mainline, urban church that is experiencing a season of renewal, that means my job description includes church-planter, counselor, worship leader, custodian, fundraiser, preacher, Sunday School leader, human resource director, security guard, social justice advocate, hospital chaplain, and community leader. I’m sure you might also have several jobs that make up your one job!

Outside of my church, I have other work that includes mentoring students at Fuller Seminary, serving on the board of Union Rescue Mission, and consulting with individuals and groups as requested. And I failed to mention that I am also a husband and dad of two young girls! Being a dad and husband includes work like laundry, cooking, dishes, paying bills, teaching math (we partially homeschool), supporting my wife’s consulting work, and remedying any technology issues that arise.

As you can see, defining your work is very specific to your context. Using my work as an example, that means 75% is church, 20% is home and 5% is other. Your work proportions will look different, but the important thing is to not limit your understanding of work to only that which you get paid for or have a title. Take some time to write down what your work is in a normal week: the jobs you get paid for, any regular volunteer work, and the work you do to support your household.

The Apostle Paul exhorts believers to do everything for the glory of God. That means I take my paid work as seriously as my volunteer work. That means I strive for excellence serving my family as much as I do at the office. That means even the things that don’t have titles or job descriptions are to glorify God. I don’t glorify God only in the 75% that is focused on my primary work of leading the church but in the whole 100% that comprises all the work that God has given me to do. Tomorrow we will look at how work fits into a broader picture of our lives that is to glorify God: work, play, love and health.


Do you think your paid work is more important than your unpaid work? If so, in what way is it more important in your situation?

Does your “job” have more than one job description? What other “titles” would be appropriate for the work you regularly do?

If you could sub-divide your work into categories of primary paid, secondary paid, volunteer and household, how does each rank in terms of purpose, enjoyment and engagement? Does any of your work rank highly in all three categories?


Lord, I want to glorify you in everything I do but especially invite you into the work that I spend the majority of my week doing. Whether paid or unpaid may I find purpose in what I do. Help me to enjoy and be engaged in the work you have given me and to have the courage to make any needed changes. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryGod’s Glory Is the Ultimate Goal (1 Corinthians 10)

Rev. Tim Yee

Contributor Emeritus & Pastor

Rev. Tim Yee is Pastor of Union Church of Los Angeles, a 100-year-old church in downtown L.A.’s Little Tokyo District where he serves a diverse church of professionals, internment camp survivors, artists and homeless. He serves on the Board of Union Rescue Mission where he leads the P...

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