As Christians, we seek to obey God’s commands because we love him and want to glorify him with our lives. We also obey, in part, because we want to imitate our heavenly Father, to be holy as he is holy.
When we think of glorifying God, we usually think of “moral” actions and commands: “don’t lie,” “don’t cheat,” “don’t steal,” “don’t kill,” etc.
But have you ever thought of your everyday work activities as ways that you imitate God and bring glory to him? Activities like owning, producing, employing and being employed, and competing?
I hadn’t, until I recently read Wayne Grudem’s book, Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business.
Grudem, a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, looks at all the activities of work and business through the lens of imitation, the idea that “God enjoys seeing his character reflected in our lives.” In his book he explores all the opportunities business provides Christians to imitate God, thereby reflecting his character and honoring him.
God created us in such a way that we would want to imitate his character. He created us in such a way that we would take spontaneous delight in seeing reflections of his character in our own actions and in the actions of others.
These actions include those taken during the course of our everyday work. Here are seven quotes from Business for the Glory of God for encouraging you in your work as you seek to imitate and honor Christ in all that you do.
“The reason God gave the command, “You shall not steal,” is that ownership of possessions is a fundamental way that we imitate God’s sovereignty over the universe by our exercising sovereignty over a tiny portion of the universe, the things that we own. When we take care of our possessions, we imitate God in taking care of the whole universe, and he delights to see us imitate him in this way…. When we care for our possessions, it gives us opportunity to imitate many other attributes of God, such as wisdom, knowledge, beauty, creativity, love for others, kindness, fairness, independence, freedom, exercise of will, blessedness (or joy), and so forth.”
“We know that producing goods from the earth is fundamentally good in itself because it is part of the purpose for which God put us on the earth. Before there was sin in the world, God put Adam in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
“God made us with a desire to be productive, to make or do something useful for other people. Therefore human desires to increase the production of goods and services are not in themselves greedy or materialistic or evil. Rather, such desires to be more productive represent God-given desires to accomplish and achieve and solve problems. They represent God-given desires to exercise dominion over the earth and exercise faithful stewardship to that we and others may enjoy the resources of the earth that God made for our use and for our enjoyment.”
“Employer/employee relationships provide many opportunities for glorifying God. On both sides of the transaction, we can imitate God, and he will take pleasure in us when he sees us showing honesty, fairness, trustworthiness, kindness, wisdom and skill, and keeping our word regarding how much we promised to pay or what work we agreed to do.”
“God has created us with a desire to do well, and to improve what we are able to do. Competition spurs us on to do better, because we see others doing better and we decide we can do that too…. God has made us with such a desire to strive for excellence in our so that, in doing this, we should imitate his excellence more fully.”
On Attitudes of the Heart When Carrying Out Our Work
“Therefore in all our ownership of property, and in all our stewardship, if we want to glorify God in business, we should seek to avoid pride and to have hearts full of love and humility toward others and toward God. In producing goods and services for others, and in using them for our own enjoyment, we should have hearts of thanksgiving to God for his goodness in providing these things to us.”
“If we love God above all, as we look at all of the business activities in the world around us, we will see evil mixed with good, and then our hearts should feel sorrow and grief when we see God’s commands being disobeyed and his purposes violated. But our hearts should also be filled with joy and thanksgiving and praise to him for the wonders of his creation, and for his remarkable wisdom in designing so many amazing ways in which business activity in itself is fundamentally good and brings glory to God.”
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