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Stewarding Vocational Influence: Bloom Where You’re Planted

March 27, 2019 • Life for Leaders

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

 

Has your work ever felt pointless?

I remember in some of my early days in the workforce I found myself discouraged by the thankless nature of the work I was called to. I worked in an office, and while the tasks I was assigned from my communications director helped provide me with a means of productivity, I struggled to see how they were making any difference in the lives of anyone.

I struggled seeing the vocational influence I had to steward. From my vantage, my work was just a means of checking a box so I could receive my scheduled payments and move on with my days. But what if my perception of work was just a bit short-sided? What if there was value not in the product of the sweat of my brow but simply in the work itself?

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians begins offering us a list of directives towards the end of chapter three. Paul’s words are edifying to those caught in the midst of bondservice. He calls those working under oppression to “work heartily, as for the Lord.”

While in no way did my work fall under the oppressive leadership that Paul is referencing, I do share the struggle of feeling malcontent and hopeless about the work I do. I, too, struggle to see the point and while focused on using the work to advance my own agenda. Paul graciously and lovingly offers a word of hope. “Work heartily,” he says. What dignity and affirmation for a hard-day’s labor.

He continues, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”

How might our attitudes change towards our vocations if we saw them not as a means of self-glorification but of God-glorification? Instead of falling into the plight that Dorothy Sayers highlights of using our work to serve ourselves, what if we sought to serve the work the Lord has graciously invited us into? God is at work to “make his blessing flow/ far as the curse is found,” as the famed Isaac Watts hymn goes. We have been graciously invited to “serve the Lord Christ” through the daily work of our hands.

Take heart that through the finished work of Christ, whatever your work may be, it exists as an opportunity to serve God, serve your neighbor, and serve the work itself. 

Join the Center for Faith and Work Los Angeles for their upcoming 2019 CFWLA Faith & Work Conference: Stewarding Vocational Influence on April 6 at Tapestry LA. Tickets and info can be found at www.faithandworkla.com/annual-conference.

Something to Think About:

What struggles do you have surrounding working for God and not for people at work?

What would it look like for you practically to serve the Lord in your work?

Something To Do:

Journal about the struggles and joys you experience in practically seeking to serve the Lord in your work.

Register for the Center for Faith and Work Los Angeles’ 2019 Annual Conference.

Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, what an honor it is to be created in your image. Just like our ancestors in the Garden of Eden, you have graciously invited us to fill and subdue the earth so the world might sing your praise. Father, whatever our work, whatever our titles, and whatever our responsibilities, by the power of your Spirit work to reframe our perspectives and seek first to serve you in the specific tasks, occupations, and vocations you have called us to. May it all be for your glory. It’s in your name we ask these things. Amen.

P.S. from the De Pree Center:

We are pleased to help promote the great work of the Center for Faith and Work Los Angeles, where the writer of this devotion, Gage Arnold, is a frequent contributor. Their upcoming Annual Conference on April 6, 2019 will be excellent. It features several leaders in the faith/work integration movement, including Amy Sherman, author of Kingdom Calling, and Tim Yee, one of the writers of the Life for Leaders devotional. You can register here.

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Doing Our Work as for the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23)

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