“Don’t forget. Your work is your worship”—a fellow peer who recently participated in City Life reminded me after I explained to her that I had been slacking off in areas where no one would notice. The gentle reminder brought me back to warm Friday nights in a mid-sized meeting room of the Koury Convention Center this previous summer.
When she said that my “work is worship,” she meant that the way I worked was an opportunity to glorify God in the smaller mundane tasks of my job. This idea was paradigm shifting for me. Before being a part of City Life at Mercy Hill, I would often do my best to do well in the areas where I knew I would get the most praise. But where supervisors weren’t looking, I had no reason to do my job in the best fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t stealing handfuls of pens and Post-It note pads, but I did take the occasional glance at my phone that may or may not have transformed a few seconds into several minutes.
The project’s theme was centered around 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” As a freshman in college, I remember hearing that verse (insert eyes rolling emoji) and thinking, “You can’t be serious. How is eating a sub sandwich from the Aggie Dome going to bring glory to God?” But this past summer’s experiences have taken that notion and literally changed the way I live my life.
So, when I heard my friend’s timely prompting, my heart was immediately convicted. Here are three big reasons why we should go out of our way to do what’s right and orderly at our jobs at all times.
1. Our Work Is Service
When we work, regardless of what we do or how much we’re making, we are serving someone. That’s what a job is—someone is paying a person, or organization, in order to fulfill a need or desire. When we look at our professions through the lens of the gospel, we realize that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were ultimately service to us. How we work in our jobs ought to be a reflection of that.
Another City Life participant commented that most of her job consisted of filing artifacts in a dark room where she was alone. That’s when our College Ministry Director said, “File as best you can even if no one praises you. Someone’s life is going to be made easier when they find what they’re looking for because you did your job well.”
2. Our Work Is Good
You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s where we’ll have to agree to disagree. My boss is horrible, and I hate working there.” And while I won’t deny that, I can still affirm the fact that working is good. In Genesis 1 there’s a detailed description of God going to work and resting within seven days. And at the end of each day, God looked at what he had done and said, “Yo, this is good.” How could we look at God working and then have the audacity to say that our work is not good?
Additionally, I learned that work was not a result of the fall. In fact, God had given Adam the job to first till the earth (Gen 2:15) and then to name all the animals (Gen 2:19).
On another hand, think for a moment if you never had to work. At first you might think that sounds nice. “Let me pull out my Netflix and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s!” And it would be nice for a while. But after doing nothing for two weeks, you would become utterly bored (I know because this happens to me every break between semesters). This almost proves there’s an innate desire within us to work, to complete, and to do.
3. Our Work Is Worship
Here is where 1 Corinthians 10:31 comes back into play. We can glorify God in whatever we do because it is an opportunity to point others back to God. In glorifying God, we are worshiping God as a living sacrifice like Paul instructs us to do in Romans 12. On a most basic level, when we are going out of our way to do the right thing, there are times when we are the only ones to do so. When someone asks why, you have a wonderful opportunity to explain how your work is worship and present them with the gospel.
I can safely say my work is my worship, and I will never look at work the same again.
-Neeko Williams (NCA&T Student)