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Right Now, Freedom in Your Workplace (Excerpt from The Gospel at Work)
Excerpt from The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert.
Knowing that you work for King Jesus and not for other people changes the way you approach your job. You have a new master, a new assignment, a new confidence, and new rewards — all because of Jesus. That’s not just a series of bullet points to pull out of your mental wallet here and there. It’s a whole new way of thinking. And this new way of thinking leads to a newfound freedom in the workplace.
EXPERIENCING FREEDOM IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY WORK
Having this eternal perspective about your work frees you from both idolatry and idleness in your work. It frees you from thinking that work can provide everything you want. And it frees you from thinking that your job doesn’t matter to God. What does this freedom look like in your day-to-day work? It means you can respond to circumstances and situations differently because your ultimate identity and reward have already been secured by Jesus. That is an awesome anchor for your soul. Without it, it’s inevitable that you’ll be blown around like a leaf by the winds of stock market gyrations, temporary successes and failures, performance reports, bosses who do or don’t treat you well, and your own desires, whether they are met or not. When you are secure in your new identity in Christ, and when you embrace your new assignment from him, you are free to stand firm amid all the nauseating ups and downs of life at work. You have anchored your soul to something that is truly immovable. And it’s why who you work for is more important than what you do.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that your identity as a person saved and loved by Jesus gives freedom in the workplace.
1. Working for Jesus gives you freedom to worship God through your work.
Worship is our response to who God is and what God has done. When we see God rightly, we want to please him. And one way we do that is in our jobs. What does worship in the workplace look like? Does it mean singing praise songs quietly to yourself on the job? Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! But biblical worship is more than just singing. To worship is to give God the honor he deserves. This means obeying God in every task you perform, knowing that when you do that task with all your heart, you are pleasing God. It means your attitude and aims are no longer tied to yourself and your circumstances. The goal of life is not how much money, power, fame, or comfort you can accrue. Rather, you desire to please God and make much of him.
Even more, worshiping God in the workplace means you find yourself learning about him, seeing his work, and enjoying his presence in your job. When you see creativity, revel in it as a reflection of the Great Creator of the universe! When your boss does a good job leading, rejoice in that as a good gift from God. When your boss doesn’t do a good job leading, rejoice that the King of the universe is greater than him! When you see justice prevail, when you help a client get the best price on the best product for their needs, rejoice in those things as a beautiful reflection of God’s goodness. When you have an eternal perspective, you are free to worship God in your work.
2. Working for Jesus gives you freedom to serve others wholeheartedly.
Have you noticed how rare it is to find a truly altruistic person in the workplace? Most people, even the nicest ones, are driven by an agenda. It’s incredibly difficult to find someone who simply wants to do good to others. As somebody who is working in order to love God and love others, you can be that person. You should be that person! Why? Because all that you really need is already secured for you by Jesus. It’s nice to be appreciated by your boss and respected by your peers. But everything you think you need that appreciation and respect for — affirmation, love, acceptance, a sense of well-being, future reward — is already yours in Jesus. You are freed from having your identity tied to what people think about you. You are free to serve them without an agenda.
God has loved you unexpectedly and unashamedly. You can now extend that same love to others. On the job, you can love your coworkers, employees, and bosses by looking out for their good and serving them, not for your own gain or to set yourself up for future success, but simply because you love them. Show them you care about their lives and not just their performance. Buy someone coffee and talk, or offer to forgo your lunch and run an errand for someone. Respond to them graciously, as Christ has been gracious to you. Serve and love your coworkers unexpectedly and unashamedly, because that is how Jesus has served and loved you.
3. Working for Jesus gives you freedom to trust God in your work.
Work is a source of worry and anxiety. There’s no way to escape this. So much can go so wrong in so many different ways. Murphy’s law rules the land, and there are days when it seems to be the only law at work in our lives. As someone who works ultimately for the Lord, you have the freedom to trust God instead of giving in to worry. It’s not just that Jesus is a great career planner, though. No, we trust him with our future because he has already secured it for eternity. Even if things are going south in our jobs, we have defenses against the crushing power of anxiety. We can work with an open hand and trust God.
Think about a worry you’ve had at work recently. If you’re like us, you probably have several to choose from! Deadlines, feeling overwhelmed by expectations, difficulty with coworkers or your boss — the workplace can be a constant source of worry and anxiety. Now, think about what would happen to you if that fear came true — if your worries proved true. Does your blood pressure start to rise? If this happens, focus on remembering the truth that God is in control of everything. Even if our worst fears come true, it is because the God who loves you and is working in all things for your good has allowed them to come true. He’s not surprised by the things you worry about; he’s not shocked. He allowed these things to happen for a reason, and your response is to have faith in God in the midst of these circumstances. You can choose to love him and love others, secure in the fact that your reward is already secured for you by Jesus...
Come back to the ZA Blog on Monday for three more practical observations from Traeger and Gilbert. Subscribe to the blog to get the post in your email inbox. And meanwhile, learn more about The Gospel at Work.
‘Chock-full of insights and tips, The Gospel at Work is a helpful contribution to the vital recovery of the place of faith at work.’ —Os Guinness, author of The Call
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