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Doing God’s Business – Seeking God in our workplace

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I attended Project Contempo earlier the year and Paul Stevens was the guest speaker. He wrote a book on Doing God’s Business.

I found this book particular fascinating as I often wonder the meaning of the job. It seems that the main belief is that the career has little relevance with our spiritual life. It pays the bills. It is 9-5 (sometimes longer). And that’s about that.

Paul pulled some of Martin Luther’s writing…in it Martin is arguing the relevance of work (career) in God’s eyes. In one of his sermons, Martin said:

I should rather be one of the shepherds tending the flocks of the field than to be canonized by the Pope.

In Luther’s Table Talk, he wrote, “a cobbler, a smith, a farmer, by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other, that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, even as all the members of the body serve one another.”

Luther continued to argue, “if you find a work by which you serve God or His saints or yourself and not your neighbor, know such a work is not good.”

Note to self…read up on Martin Luther…

At Project Contempo, perhaps one of the most glaring question ask is what do people think of Christians as workers? And sad to say, it is often not a positive one. Not that w are to market ourselves for our own glory. But rather, as workers, we are to present God’s character to those around us. And this include responsible, compassion, integrity and righteousness.

I am not too worry about my reputation. Rather, I am worry my lack of zeal (laziness, slacking etc) at work present a poor reputation of the Gospel!

I will end off with a story of a Christian whom because of his work skills and faith as seen commendable by others, he was saved.

Nicu Toader lived under the cruel and harsh communist dictatorship in Romania. During the height of the dictatorship, control was exercised over every aspect of life. During this time the local chief justice of the secret police of Timisoara called Nicu into his office.

Because he was an active leader in a very large underground Christian church, Nicu was expecting that this was the feared summons that would trigger the end of his freedom, and possibly his life. Almost worse than losing his freedom was the horrific pressure forcing cooperation with the secret police. It would often go like this: “Nicu Toader, we know you love your lovely daughter and handsome young son Emil. We also know there are terrible accidents with acid. You would not want anything to happen to them, would you? Tell us about our comrades’ statements and beliefsand nothing will happen to your children.”

On one occasion, Nicu was summoned to the secret police headquarters only to be told to go immediately to the chief’s private apartment to fix his home appliances. “Here are the keys to my apartment. I know – you know that we have spies everywhere – that you are engaged in illegal religious activities. Bu you are a serious Repenter [the term used for an evangelical Christian], I know that when you go to my apartment you will not go through my personal papers, take my food, or steal my valuables. And I also know that you are absolutely the best mechanic in the entier city of Timisoara. When you fix things they stay fixed! Your silly faith and your work skills bring you to my office this afternoon.”

This was the first of several calls for personal help by the secret police of communist Timisoara. After the Christmas 1989 revolution in Romania, the chief admitted that his Bucaresti superiors had told him to arrest the leaders and crush the underground church in Timisoara. When Nicu’s name appeared on the arrest list, the chief permanently deferred the order. It appears that god protected his church in Romania by the excellent work and public reputation of a skilled mechanic whose personal character convinced the chief to keep him around.

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