“The problem with Western Christians is not that they aren’t where they should be, but that they aren’t what they should be where they are” writes Os Guinness in his classic book, The Call.
This astute observation even describes many of us trying to live out our faith in all the work we do, especially in our vocations. Yet, often in the “real world” of work we don’t seem like we are making much progress.
My friend Dr. Christian Overman gives some excellent suggestions in a recent blog that might help all of us. In his post, Overman shows several examples of followers of Christ making intentional alignments between biblical truth and their daily work. He then suggests:
The key to successful contextualization of faith and work is intentionality. Of course, prayer is essential, and apart from God’s enabling grace we are helpless. But sitting down outside of the workplace and thinking through how we can align our work with the biblical worldview is something we all need to do.
Overman is right. Intentionality is key. How can we be more intentional about integrating our faith into our everyday work?
To answer this question, Overman shares several questions we should ask ourselves when it comes to contextualizing our work. These questions are available on his website, compiled into an article entitled “Questions for Contextualizing Work.”
Here are some examples of the questions he asks:
- How is God present in this activity? In this place?
- How does my work fit into God’s reason for creating the material world and all it contains?
- How has the reality of sin in a fallen world affected this activity? What can I do about it?
- How does this activity fulfill the first commission given by God to human beings: to govern over all the earth (Genesis 1:26-28)?
Overman has another document, Signs That I Have a Well-Developed Theology of Work, that you might find useful. Here are a few examples of the forty-seven ideas Overman lists:
- I am consciously aware of God’s presence everywhere in my workplace (Psalm 139:8; 46:1).
- I communicate with God at work, and I ask him for wisdom regarding the work I do (II Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 1:18-20; James 1:5).
- I think about God’s justice being done throughout every aspect of my work (Psalm 33:5).
- I realize God’s creation in my workplace includes both physical as well as spiritual realities (Colossians 1:16).
- I understand my workplace is affected by corruption due to sin. I’m not surprised when “bad things” happen (Genesis 3:17; Romans 5:12).
- I think about the fact that my workplace is a realm God intends for me to steward and govern over well (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:4-8).
- I am conscious of the fact that since I am a believer in Christ, and I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, he empowers me to live a God-glorifying life in the workplace in all circumstances (I John 4:4).
- I bear in mind that by God’s grace, he will work through me to bring his light to every sphere of my workplace (Luke 11:2; Matthew 5:13-16).
Reading our blog or reviewing Overman’s lists are great tools to help you start your day, but they are not enough in and of themselves. We all need to slow down long enough to think intentionally about how we can contextualize our faith in our specific workplaces.
This is a discipline we need to ask God to help us develop daily. We need to get be better at making a conscious choice to apply what we was learn from God’s word on Sunday (and other days) to the work he has called us to do on Monday.
What would you add to Overman’s list?
Leave your comments here.