April 22, 2019 • Life for Leaders
[May you know] his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.
Yesterday was Easter Sunday. Today is Monday. Chances are you’ll be back at work (unless you’re a preacher, in which case I hope you’re taking the day off!). Easter and work. Is there any overlap? Does Easter make a difference to your work?
At first glance, the answer to the question, “Does Easter have anything to do with work?” seems to be “No.” Unless you work for a church, Easter appears to have little to do with ordinary employment. It is a holiday, after all, a day for worship, gathering with family and friends, feasting, and other kinds of holiday fun. Not much work here.
But, if we think beyond the Easter celebrations to the reality being celebrated, Easter may turn out to be more relevant to work than we first imagine. If the resurrection of Jesus was the culmination of God’s plan to redeem all things, then surely it has some relevance to work. If the resurrection was a world-transforming demonstration of God’s redeeming power, then it must have something to say to what we do with the majority of our time.
Consider, for example, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1. There, he prays that the readers of his letter might know “[God’s] incomparably great power for us who believe” (1:19). This power was seen, above all, when God “raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand” (1:20). The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates and illustrates the power of God, not just in general, but “for us who believe.”
How do we experience this resurrection power? We might think first of our experience of salvation. Or perhaps we remember some amazing experience on a mission trip or as we prayed for someone to be healed. We readily and rightly associate God’s power with events that are saturated with Christian meaning. But, if we take Scripture seriously, we must also recognize that God cares about all of life, including our work. In fact, God created us with work as our primary purpose (see Genesis 1-2). Thus, we have every reason to believe that God will make his power known to us and through us in the context of our daily work.
I have seen evidence of this truth time and again through the experience of those for whom I have been a pastor. They have shared with me how God made a difference in seemingly impossible situations. As they have prayed for colleagues, bosses, subordinates, customers, and others, they have sometimes been astounded by what God has done. Of course God’s power is still God’s power, and God doesn’t always do what we wish. But if we are open, aware, and seeking, God will make his power known in every part of life, including our work.
So, does Easter have anything to do with your work? Yes, it does. Thanks be to God!
Something to Think About:
Can you think of a time when you experienced God’s power in the context of your work?
Do you pray for things associated with your work? Would you be willing to ask God to make his resurrection power known in the context of your work?
Can you think of other ways that Easter matters for your work?
Something to Do:
Ask God to reveal the reality and power of the resurrection in the context of your work this week. Pay attention to see what God will do.
Gracious God, on this Monday after Easter, we continue to celebrate your victory over sin and death. We recognize that you alone have the power to conquer death. You made this power known in the resurrection of Jesus. You are the victor! All praise be to you!
How amazing to think that this same power is “for us who believe.” You make this power known in our lives, not only by delivering us from sin and death, but also through your gracious participation in every part of life, including our work.
Lord, we ask you to exercise your power in our work. We pray for supernatural guidance. We ask for the grace to be servants to our colleagues. We pray for your blessing, so that our work might bless you and others.
To you be all the glory, gracious God! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Introduction to Ephesians
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, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.