Where do you see God at work?

Catholic Health Initiatives by Jordan Gruener

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.

Advertisements

Factoring God into our daily lives

by Fletcher Lowe

Adolph Eichmann, one of the Nazi officials who supervised the murder of countless human beings during the Nazi regime, was blinded by a systemic effort to eradicate certain groups of people. God was not a part of his equation.

Unlike Eichmann, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  were each confronted by a system of laws that was unjust, and each had their eyes opened, factoring God into the equation of their lives.

So too with Jesus. He and the Pharisees had an ongoing conflict.  One of many contentious occasions (Mark 2:23-3:6) focused on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were guardians of an intricate system of laws governing the Sabbath.  To some extent they had reduced the practice of religion to following a set of laws. But here comes Jesus in a bit of civil disobedience, helping his followers glean the grain fields to resolve their hunger. Then Jesus goes on to restore a man’s withered hand. Both events took place on the Sabbath, contrary to Sabbath laws.  Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus was not blind to human need – he was factoring his own divinity into the equation of his daily life.

During my ordained life part of my pastoral ministry has been to visit members in their places of work.  The conversation begins with what do you do here. Then the second question:  What is the faith connection with what you do here, the Sunday-Monday connection?  I must tell you that for the vast majority – like 85% – this is the first time that that question has come to their consciousness. What an indictment of the church! For that work place is where they are spending most of their God-given time and ability.  After some continuing conversation, most come to an “aha”: Their eyes open and they begin to see that their work – as a contract lawyer or a mortgage broker or a governmental official or a homemaker – is indeed their baptismal ministry. The “aha” comes as they factor God into the equation of their daily life and work.

The question is the same for each of us – for you and for me: How do we, as the Baptized, factor God into the equation of our daily lives?