A regular of Headstart, we ignore that Weng spent some time in Canberra and are really glad he now resides in the best city in the world (in fact, is Canberra a city?). A psychologist by training, Weng has a good sense of humour, understands the ins and outs of how people tick and can speak to the whole myth-busting theme of this term and Monday’s myth: My work time robs my God time.
Night in a Tweet: Keep working hard – our work time is part of our God time
Continuing this term's theme of Debunked, we debunked another persistent Christian workplace myth - "My work time robs my God time" - and true to form, Mark robbed a quote from the internet from journalist Neal Acherson: not only do we want to identify and debunk myths but we would also like to see why they exist in the first place.
Why the myth exists
The myth exists for several reasons as some of us shared during the talk. For example, one of its functions is that it guards our idolatry of work. By holding on to the myth, we acknowledge the importance of our faith (which is a great thing) and realise that we need to devote our time for God. So, we automatically consider anything that is "non-God-related" to be a negative. In this case, our secular work is "non-God-related" and therefore consider it as "evil" because the more time we spend on work, the less time we have in reading the bible and prayer or doing other "Christian stuff" and what young workers hasn’t whispered that after a long day in the office – if only I had more time to read the Bible and pray?
However, it is a myth because it is not true. The myth implies that we can somehow manage our "God time" as if there is only a part of our time that belongs to God. In practice, we may try to fit God into a particular time of our schedule and once we are done with our "God time", then the rest of our time has nothing to do with God.
The other problem of this myth is that it implies that work has nothing to do with God or that God is against work! If we believe this myth, we somehow assume that our work time and God time are mutually exclusive, having one is always at the expense of the other. Somehow work and God are gladiators in a daily, cosmic fight each working week. So this myth eventually makes us resent work, even making us feel powerless as the same battle continues each week. It is very exhausting to hold on to this myth. The myth creates a unnatural division and an unnecessary and rigid dichotomy between our work time and God time.
Debunking the myth
So what does the Bible have to say on this? The psalmist prayed for an undivided heart (Psalm 86:11), not an undivided "schedule". Paul clearly pointed out that we are to do all things in the names of Jesus (Col 3:17). Paul did not just ask us to pray and read the bible in the name of Jesus. He asked us to do all things, whether it be working, exercising, eating our dinner in the name of Jesus, for the glory of God. It is about our heart and focus for God.
While this can be taken too far, what is surprising is that Paul explicitly includes work in the "everything" (Col 3:22-23). Like the Christian slaves in Colosse, our work gains the attention of God – which, if you pause and think about it – is odd, scary and exhilarating all at the same time. Odd because why on earth would an eternal creator God bother. Scary because what we do counts. Exhilarating because what we do counts. There is no more division between "work time" and ""God time". All time is God's time, including our work time. We can honor God through our work by working faithful and honestly because we are serving our Lord Jesus (Col 3:24).
What I left thinking:
I realised how liberating busting this myth is – we know that God is at work through our work. There is real work happening in the office – both in God changing me and God changing the colleague who sits in the booth next to me. And even though we may not be as involved in church as we used to when we were a uni student, we know that we can honor Him in our work, as well as, the many other things that we do.