Work, Perspective, and the Kingdom

I’ve been reflecting lately on the mantra that is so often shared in the Marie Kondo movement; this mantra was so popular several years ago “seek what brings you joy.” And I think it has caused many people over the past years to ask the same questions of themselves.

Does this piece of clothing, furniture, this house bring me joy? Unfortunately, it then has a lot of us trying to filter everything through this filter in a way for which it was never designed. We weren’t meant to judge relationships, jobs, and other aspects of life this way, through what I like to call the “me” filter.

But the question continues to remain in my mind, how does this compare with the belief I see so much through Scripture, that we were created for something greater than ourselves? Too often we try to put our minds around this theological concept of the Kingdom and our calling. But what if we are called as a people to be restorative and to be active agents in God’s mission of reconciling and restoring the world to Himself?

Too often I hear about people wanting to be led to the right job, the right office, the right profession. They want to “make a difference for the Lord.” I keep hearing in different conversations, “I’m praying for God to open the door for me to work for Him.

I think we do need to grasp that, yes, some people are called to their specific job or work field. But I think we forget we each, already, have a calling; we are called to follow Christ first and foremost. We are invited into this relationship. And other callings, to a workplace, a ministry, a relationship, they all flow out of that original calling, which is to be in relationship with Him and worship Him fully. It is God who initiated the relationship, without Him choosing us first, we wouldn’t be able to walk with Him. Our work will flow out of relationship with Him and our giftings given by God.

We, as followers of Christ, are a people that believe our relationship with God overflows and impacts everything, including our work. So often we pray that God would start to redeem and restore this world because we are unaware that He is already at work doing this. God’s restorative work started after the fall and will continue to the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, which we read about in Revelation 21. And He is using us, in our work and vocations, to accomplish this!

In the New Testament, we see the word “new” used often. There is the greek word Neos which is defined as totally new, but more often than not, the greek word that is used is Kainos which means renewed. So when we see this in scripture, we should attribute this to the renewing work of God.1 It is through seeing all2 work as being used in the renewing work of God that we can see our role in the Kingdom. When we see the roles of all believers in the kingdom contributing to the Kingdom, then the sacred/secular divide falls away.

Abraham Kuyper, one of the scholars who helped start the conversation of Sphere Sovereignty, said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”3

Let us remind ourselves that God is so much bigger than our minds can ever comprehend, and yet, have the perspective of D.L. Moody when he said, “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.” Let us reframe our question, from that of what brings me joy, to what in our work brings joy and honor to God? It is in these moments where we shift from our name being magnified to His, that He is glorified.

1If you would like to begin digging deeper into Biblical theology of Work, I’d encourage you to look at this article.

2 I say all work but there are certain kinds that do go directly against the Word of God, but I won’t jump into that discussion here but there are some types of work that does not honor human dignity or God’s design.

3 Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader, ed. James D. Bratt (Eerdmans, 1998), 488.

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Photo by Stănculea Iulia Adina on Unsplash