In the Let There Be Light messages earlier this spring, we learned that God has strategically placed us – in this place and at this time. Our role is to be salt and light right where we are planted. More recently, JP’s message on “Hands” reminded us that God has given us gifts to use for Him.
But how exactly do we do that? Some of that discussion starts with examining the meaning of your work, as we blogged about earlier. But it’s also vital to think about doing that work with excellence.
Recently, members of the External Focus team were able to attend the Acton University conference, where we learned from thought leaders at the intersection of faith, work, and economics. As we realized that week, it can be overwhelming to think about how much our work matters to God. Yet work is the where we spend a majority of our time, build lots of relationships, and make lots of small, daily decisions that have an opportunity to reflect God’s character.
In my time in the business world, I discovered that living out my faith at work became more complicated as I was given more responsibility and developed more relationships with my co-workers and clients. I like to try to keep things simple, so I looked for a rule of thumb or framework that I could I could check to see how I was doing at work.
I like to use these “3 Es” for being a faithful Christian worker.
In some ways, the first two are easier to realize should be a part of how we glorify God in our workplaces.
But the third E is also vital if we’re going to be thoroughly Christian in the way we work.
I think Dorothy Sayers sums it up best in her essay “Why Work?
“The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.
"Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly–but what use is all that if in the very center of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth.”
I would encourage you and your community group to evaluate how you are doing at being excellent in your vocation. Can your daily work be considered “excellent”? Would people believe that the same hands that made Heaven and earth had a part in your work product or service?
(For more on what it means to be excellent at your workplace, check out this talk from my friend Greg Crooks.)