Bring your (Spiritual) Self to Work
In “God the Worker”, Robert Banks looks at God’s C.V. God is both composer and performer, metalworker and potter, builder and architect. In a market-driven culture that sees spiritual things as somewhat esoteric and separate from the practical, the Bible shows a God with practical, intentional skill. While we build spreadsheets, submit work orders, treat patients, mark assignments, engage stakeholders and write emails, we exercise our image of God skills that we've cultivated through our education, training and experience.
In an article in the Guardian, Jackie Bailey argues there are other ways to intentionally embed our spiritual beliefs into our increasingly secular workplaces.
“According to the research, if I focus on relationships and authenticity, my workplace can become an arena for genuine, heartfelt growth and connection”
How can we bring our Spiritual self to work? Will our faith be appreciated in workplaces that appear to have different values?
We know a God who truly cares about detail, but we trust that His plans are good even in the most chaotic and ambiguous circumstances. This distinctive is something that all workplaces can benefit from. But how?
1. Live by the Spirit
Some days at work can feel extremely challenging and taxing, how can we meet the challenges of budget constraints, and short timelines or implement new strategies and procedures with grace and peace?
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal 5:24
In our quiet times, we can pray to stay in step with the spirit and not fall into anxiety, comparison to others or frustrated arrogance - but stay in step with the Spirit of God, who works in us to glorify God. This can help us find peace and comfort in our frantic days.
2. Taste of the Spirit
In Andrew Laird’s book I am What I Do: Reshaping our Understanding of Self and Work, he reminds us that we are providing our colleagues with a taste test of what it's like to follow God. As we “taste and see that the Lord is good” we can show what a spiritual life as a Christian looks like. As you talk about your weekend and how you enjoyed spending time at church, or a film which you interpreted in a spiritual way, you can give others a taste of what a spiritual life looks like.
3. Rest in the Spirit
Bailey’s Guardian article suggests small acts of rebellion that can bring back the spiritual into our daily work. One of her examples is clocking off on time, rather than working past her capacity. There are times when we may need to “go the extra mile” as scripture suggests, but there are times when our spiritual act of worship is rest. God calls us to sabbath so that we can remember that we are not machines for work, but creations made by God. When we submit to our limitations as created beings, we are bringing the spiritual into the world, in ways that can challenge an urgent work culture.
So when you’re going to work, whether in person or online, bring all yourself, and don’t leave the spiritual behind.
"God is a Worker", Banks, Robert.
"I am what I do: Reshaping our Understanding of Self and Work", Laird, Andrew.
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