Have you ever heard someone talk about ‘church at work’? At my church there is a specific group that meets with this name for people to encourage each other as Christians in a work place. Now this is good, it is clearly important how Christians conduct themselves at work. However from my own experience; as someone who was unable to work for several years due illness; the phrase ‘church at work’ has been at points quite discouraging. This was especially the case because I wrestled with my identity and purpose whilst unwell (more on that here). However, I have recently been thinking about this topic and I was encouraged! Here are some of my thoughts:
I think that Colossians 3:17 is a helpful place to start: ‘…whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ In other words we should seek to live to glorify God whether we do paid work or don’t. In fact in Romans 16:1-16 Paul mentions the ‘work’ of a number of people without specifying if the work was paid, the important thing was that they worked in the Lord.
In fact the Bible places huge importance on kingdom work (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Peter 4:10) such as: praying, encouraging and serving others. This is great news, you can work for God and glorify him even with reduced capacity. I think we need to be regularly reminded of this because in my opinion British society puts very little value on people who don’t or can’t do paid work.
Also interaction does not need to be face-to-face and neither do prayers need to be long. My friend Steph inspired me by telling me that she seeks to be a positive influence online and to encourage people. The good thing about digital interaction is that it is when and for how long you choose. I have also been personally encouraged by seeing many answers to bullet prayers (more on that here).
So in short you can ‘work’ for the advancement of God’s kingdom through paid work or in how you chose to live your life. God cares about every single person and will go back for just one (e.g., the parable of the lost sheep). Therefore even if you only interact with a small number of people you are not excluded from doing God’s work. Be encouraged when you hear about ‘church at work’, it does include you whatever your situation.