When Jesus Redefines Your Work
If you’re anything like me, your life is filled with monotony. I spend the majority of my week in an office, perched in front of a computer screen where I complete my assignments. Most days, I’ll take an early lunch followed by a much-needed coffee break at 1 o’clock to get me through the remainder of the day. It’s a pretty simple routine and one I love. But hardly a week goes by without the fleeting thought: “Does what I’m doing really matter?”
It’s hard to escape this question in a world obsessed with measuring visible success. We’ve all got our metrics, even in the Church, and it shapes the way we read Scripture whether or not we’d like to admit it. We often focus on the Bible’s “heroes,” like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and Jesus. Even the disciples were accused of turning the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6). Would anyone say the same about you?
Perhaps the more important question we should ask is whether we should expect them to. For some time, the Christian Church has struggled with communicating spiritual significance about the workplace in the same way it does vocational ministry. Implicitly, many are left with the impression that their work does not matter to God to the same degree as that of their pastor or elder. After all, tapping away at a keyboard can’t compare to the significance of leading a church, right?
In Matthew 3:13–17, we meet Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River. John has been baptizing new followers right and left and now the one he’s been preparing the way for has arrived to be baptized himself “to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15). After a few moments of John understandably objecting to this arrangement — “I need to be baptized by you,” he says — he consents and lowers the Savior under the river’s current. As he lifts Jesus from the water, Matthew tells us, “the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (v. 16a).
Then something strange happens: “a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (v. 16b). For the first time in the New Testament, the Trinity appears in unison — the Son in flesh, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking — but what’s odd about this scene is the Father’s declaration. He says he is “pleased” with Jesus. Why?
If you look over the previous chapters of Matthew, Jesus hasn’t done anything other than fulfill messianic prophecy through his birth. And in the chapters that follow, he begins his ministry after his baptism, not before. You’ll find the same in the other three Gospels. By all accounts, prior to this scene Jesus has not performed any miracles, cast out demons, or faced down the devil in the wilderness. He has done little more than grow as an obedient son and apprentice as an artisan to his father. And God the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
That tells us something about what pleases God. There’s no question that Christ’s ministry, capped by his death and resurrection, mattered to God. So did Jesus honoring his parents, laboring alongside his earthly father and lying in a manger. But his resume is not in view here. God is pleased with His Son because of who he is, not what he has done. God’s pleasure flows from the simple fact that Jesus is his Son, and through faith in Christ, that same pleasure extends to those who believe.
One of the beautiful things about Jesus entering into this world is that it proves every arena of this world matters to God. If the Son can sweat in a workshop, so can we, even if our “workshop” is a cubicle, a coffee counter or a construction site. God desires faithfulness, not external metrics.
That’s not to say that evangelism and discipleship are pointless outside of vocational ministry — they’re not. Rather, it tells us that not only can we incorporate those disciplines into the workplace, but our work also matters to God in and of itself because he is pleased with faithfulness that flows from our adoption in Christ. And here’s the thing about faithfulness — it often looks mundane. It looks like the willingness to get out of bed each morning and devote every aspect of your day to serving the Lord because every aspect of your day matters to him.
If you belong to Christ, then you are a son or a daughter with whom God is pleased. Through our union with Christ, solidified by the Holy Spirit, we are given that same identity and status. Let that truth enliven your routine. Allow it to redefine your view of what matters because your Lord cares about it all.
This article originally appeared at The Village Church at tvcresources.net.Topics: Meaning in Our Work, Theology of Work, Work and Worship