by Demi Prentiss
Where do you see God at work? In the magnificence of Sunday worship, or the embrace of group prayer, or the quiet of devotional times? In the sky, or the mountainscapes, or the crashing ocean? In the play of children or the intimacy of family life or the hospital room?
For many of us who practice the weekly discipline of naming our “moment closest to Christ,” those are places that we often expect God to show up. But seriously, how often do you see God at work – meaning, in your workplace? Whether that’s the place you receive a paycheck or the place where you volunteer or the place you labor to serve those you love – that’s not usually the place we perceive God at work.
What’s up with that? We know God is all, and in all. God is high above the heavens and nearer than hands and feet. God is at work in all things, including us and the people we interact with. So why can’t we see God at work in our workplaces?
In a recent blog, the Theology of Work Project posed the question and offered an answer, via a blog from The High Calling: Why Is It So Hard to Connect Spiritual Value to Our Work?
Fundamentally, the problem is this: our culture has no framework for approaching work from a spiritual point of view. There is no context, no point of reference. It simply does not exist….
And since there is no cultural context, then guess what? You must create your own context. You must face that blank slate and make it up as you go, even if it doesn’t fit what you’ve been told all your life. You might have to use your spiritual imagination to see God’s hand at work in that next presentation, to pray for your boss under pressure, to grasp the infinite potential for goodness and mercy and righteousness that is literally at your fingertips.
Training our eyes to see God in the workplace can be a challenge. Are we willing to stop leaving Jesus in the car once we’ve parked in our assigned parking place? Are we humble enough to see the Holy Spirit at work in that troublesome co-worker? Are we perceptive enough to locate God at work even in our failures? Are we ready to recognize Jesus next to us in the board room or the production line?
God is ready to help us do that. So are, possibly, some of our co-workers. Or someone outside of our work context. Many congregations have faith in the workplace groups that meet regularly. They provide a place to discuss how to sharpen our ability to notice God at work and how to be pro-active in partnering with what God is up to. Imagine what might happen if every Christian became intentional about bringing God to work.