I’m a Realtor — How Is My Job ‘Worship Work’?

“I’m a Realtor—My Job Isn’t ‘Worship Work’”

I hear it quite often — especially because I have spent much of my adult life in pastoral ministry. I meet someone doing good, important work, who doesn’t feel as if they are serving God in their everyday vocation.

It just happened a few weeks ago. I was speaking to a realtor who is a Christian. He was differentiating the work he does from the work I do. He said, “Guys like you have made big sacrifices to serve God. I sometimes feel guilty doing what I do. I mean, what have I given up in my job serve Christ?” He didn’t think much of his vocation of selling houses.

I almost interrupted him, saying, “Are you kidding me? You come alongside people who are making one of the largest, most important financial decisions of their lives. They don’t know the ins-and-outs of what to look for in a home, they can’t discern all the lingo in contracts, they need your insight to see problems with the house, they often are going through times of major life transition, and they are relying on trustworthy, timely, excellent work. On a daily basis, you are helping people with one of their most tangible needs — shelter!

“And that’s not even mentioning the fact that you lead your team with excellence, coaching them to help them succeed, and creating a positive, healthy work environment. What do you mean your work doesn’t matter? Your work matters and your work IS worship. It is a place you can serve God and others every day!”

He was slow to buy it. “Hmm. I’ll have to think more about that.” He certainly hadn’t ever thought of his job as a realtor as being “worship work.” Why is that? And why are there so many people like him? What beliefs lay behind this disconnect? I can only guess…

  1. “Making profit is evil, or at best, good only if it is given to organizations doing ‘worship work’.”
  2. “Because I’m not speaking explicitly about God, or Christ, or the Bible in my work, it isn’t very spiritual.”
  3. “My work is just what I do. It is a necessity of life. It’s not a place I serve God. I do that at church.”
  4. “My church wants three things from me: 1) to attend, 2) to serve, and 3) to give. That’s what matters, not my daily job or vocation.”
  5. “I have a secular job. I wasn’t spiritual enough to choose a job that really matters.”
  6. “I don’t even really like my work. How could I possibly serve God there?”
  7. “I haven’t discipled anyone or led anyone to Christ at my job, so it isn’t as important as people who do spend their time discipling people or leading them to Christ.”
  8. “My company doesn’t allow me to speak about religion or faith, so it is hard to serve God there.”
  9. “I really like doing this work. I didn’t choose it to serve God. I chose it because I’m good at it and can make a good living doing it.”
  10. “My pastor has never told me my job matters, or that I can serve God and others through my work.”

I don’t know what was behind the realtor’s comment. But what if, on a regular basis, he heard his pastor saying things like, “What you do in your everyday work matters to God, and it matters to people and to the communities you help flourish. It is the daily, moment-by-moment work situations, whether paid or unpaid, which are opportunities to serve God and others.”

  • What if he regularly heard stories about people’s work lives which demonstrated how they were serving God through their jobs?
  • What if he often heard prayers prayed for the congregation’s work?
  • What if his pastor had met with him to learn more about his job and encourage him in what he did?
  • What if this was the normal way following Jesus was framed–loving God and others through daily (often mundane) tasks?

If we can eat and drink for the glory of God, surely realtors can sell houses for the glory of God. I long for the day when more people will believe and live into that. A growing movement of pastors around the country is working for that very end. 

Topics: Vocation

About the Author

Matt Rusten serves as the executive director for Made to Flourish. Rusten received his master of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has served in churches in North Dakota, the Chicago area, Kansas City, and most recently as pastor of spiritual formation at Blackhawk Church in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Margi, and their daughter, Olivia, and son, Owen, live in Kansas.