I once heard John Maxwell say we will gain a business idea we have never had when we read one Proverb each day. Scripture has much to say about calling and vocation, but one of the greatest truths scripture teaches is that God’s presence is with us in our work. It is one thing to understand our need for this presence, but it is another thing to maintain an awareness of his presence in the busyness of life. God’s presence is never in question, but our awareness of his presence is what makes the difference between a job and a calling.
Many people go through life not knowing their purpose, and they see their work as nothing more than a job that allows them to eat, pay bills, and maintain a roof over their heads. Unless we develop an intentional awareness of God’s presence in our work, we may miss out on the amazing things he seeks to accomplish in our work.
Proverbs 3:5-10 provides timeless truths for raising our awareness of the presence of God in all of life, including in our work. Several principles can be gleaned from this passage, but there are three that call for attention here. When applied, these principles will help us work with God rather than only working for God. He is Lord, but he desires to work with us in our careers.
Put God First in Your Heart
We begin raising our awareness of the presence of God in our work when we put the Lord first in our hearts. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV) reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Notice the emphasis on the entire heart. Compartmentalization is one of the great dangers in the Christian life because it implies we have only given a portion of our lives to the Lord. He is Lord on Sunday, but we are lord on the job.
A quick reading of Proverbs 3 is a reminder that God seeks to be Lord over our hearts because he knows how our lives work best. His presence is what makes the difference, not our skillset. When he is seated as Lord of our hearts, we will be the beneficiary of his presence and power in our vocations. The Lord is already present at our workplaces, but he is waiting for an open invitation to funnel his presence and power through us and into our workplaces.
Put God First in Your Work
Second, we must put the Lord first in all our work. Proverbs 3:6 states, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” If we are looking for direction, let us trust in the Lord. If we are looking for wisdom, let us trust in the Lord. If we desire job security, we should trust in the sovereignty of God because he is the one who opens and closes doors.
Prioritizing God’s will in our vocations will lead to increased productivity and a greater sense of security. When we put the Lord first in all our work, we invite him to go before us and open doors too great for you and me to open in our own strength.
Put God First with Your Fruit
Third, we must put the Lord first with the fruit of all our work. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” When we put the Lord first with the fruit of our labor, we concede that God is our provider. By putting the Lord first with the fruit of our work, we replace ourselves with God on the throne of our hearts, and we prioritize his interests over our own regarding where that fruit will be consumed.
In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses tells Israel, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” The fruit of our labor is a direct result of the goodness of God in our lives (Jam 1:17).
An awareness of God’s presence in our work will make the difference between treading water and walking in power. God desires to channel his power through our lives and into our workplaces, but he is waiting for an invitation.
Have we stopped today and taken time to recognize his presence? Have we invited him to be Lord over our careers? Have we asked him for his will in what we do with the fruit of our labor? If our answer is in the negative to any of these questions, we can take comfort in knowing it is not too late to extend that invitation. If we invite his presence into our workplaces, demands will begin to be met with his infinite supply of presence and power.