Is your work as a leader as important as your missions work? In short, does what you do Monday to Friday from 8 to 5 really matter to God or is it a means to the end of sending money to missions or going on a missions trip? It seems that since God is a God of purpose, it’s therefore unlikely he created something that occupies most of our time, to be meaningless. In fact, God worked at many jobs. He was an artist when he created blue skies, orange sunsets and yellow fish. He was a geologist when he created rock formations and a botanist when he created trees. He was a gardener when he created the perfect biosphere called the Garden of Eden. He was an engineer when he created intricate, complex living beings called humans and animals, he was a miracle worker / farmer when he created seeds that grow, he was a chemist when he created water and air, he was a sociologist when he created Adam AND Eve, he was a music composer when he created song birds and in the person of Jesus he was a carpenter, a philosopher and a teacher. Work and its outcomes clearly are what God values.
Work was happening from the beginning! God created work and He is a worker. “My father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working” (John 5:17). The God-head, Trinity worked to create earth. They put Adam and Eve in the garden to work there. When they violated Gods rules, the way work was done changed but work did not go away. We are to work while we are on earth and when we get to heaven we get jobs to manage heaven forever. Work was there before the earth was formed and it will be there after the earth disappears.
Tim Keller in his book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Plan for the World notes that “The material creation was made by God to be developed, cultivated, and cared for in an endless number of ways through human labor. But even the simplest of these ways is important. Without them all, human life cannot flourish.” (Don’t need one more book to read? Read the best quotes here!)
The end of work in Youngstown, Ohio happened on what came to be called, “Black Monday”, It was September 19, 1977. The towns prosperity was fueled by the steel mills. Society there depended on them, families flourished, home ownership and family income were in the top tier in America. However, things changed after World War II. The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company announced they would be closing their Campbell Works mill due to economic and legal issues. They let go of 5,000 workers and the entire city lost 50,000 jobs in 5 years and the region was send into a depression.
Derek Thompson notes in The Atlantic magazine, “Youngstown was transformed not only by an economic disruption but also by a psychological and cultural breakdown. Depression, spousal abuse, and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade. The city built four prisons in the mid-1990s—a rare growth industry.”
Work is not just a means to an end of supporting missions work. It’s God's design and plan for how we function on earth and in and of itself, it glorifies God, provides meaning and community. Here are 7 things work does for you as a leader and for those you serve. (adapted from Tim Keller)
- Work is an act of love, giving people a dignity to produce things
- Works is a place for “otherness” and community
- Work is serving the common good, not just advancing ourselves
- Work is allowing people to be creative and imitate God since they were made in his image to be creative
- Work is loving people in the process of doing it
- Work is making culture better
- Work makes life function, connects the human race, transports people, entertains people and more.
Thanks for taking time to read! Now get back to work! What you do really does matter to God!
Greg Leith is the CEO of Convene. He was born in Canada and lived in all four corners of North America. His career spans over 35 years of senior leadership roles in corporate, non-profit and academic sectors. Recently, he served as Director of Strategic Alliances for 13 years at Biola University in California.