By Art Klaum
“Who do you work for?” In social or networking situations, this is not an uncommon conversation starter. A follow-up question may be, “What industry or market segment do you serve?” How would you answer these questions?
I think many people who read this article may get stuck searching for an immediate answer. Why is that? I would suggest that it’s because we know we have a higher calling in the marketplace than what the world’s view is but don’t know how to connect it with our “official” job description. We may not be prepared to verbalize the reason for our hope or explain our role from God’s perspective.
If you think about it, aren’t we, as Christians, supposed to serve as Jesus served? Why is it a challenge then to explain how our work serves our Father? Aren’t we supposed to manifest the love of our Father in all that we do?
I’d propose that it really isn’t—or shouldn’t be—that hard to connect our work life to our Christian calling. It is not just a matter of perspective. It is a matter of understanding who we are—not just what our educational background is or what our job description says we are supposed to be doing.
Early in my career, a major aspect of what I did and how I did it was all about me. Clearly that is a very selfish perspective—and this was even after sixteen years of parochial education and going to church almost every week. It was all about me: my reputation, my abilities, my contributions to the team, my title, the recognition that I earned, and the possessions I had collected. Me. Me. Me. I did the job I was hired to do and very little extra.
Through a series of encounters with Jesus, my heart began to understand that the only thing I could or should be in control of is my surrender in allowing the Father’s will to be made manifest in my life.
In John 5:1-30, Jesus was challenged for healing a man at the pool called Bethesda. He did this on the Sabbath, when no work was supposed to be done. In response to the Jewish leaders who were questioning him, Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). Jesus didn’t care about society’s norms or mores about how to honor the Sabbath. The critics didn’t react very well: “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him” (John 5:18).
In my current role, my job is to help people do their jobs better. In many cases, I have no experience in what they do or how they do it. I am simply called to serve them. If I am able to help them have one less thing to worry about or resolve one thing that is keeping them from being as successful as they think they can be, I have been successful.
And you know what? It is not about me anymore. It is about the Spirit of God working through me to serve them. I know whom I serve, and my Boss will provide for me, even if I get the same reaction Jesus did at the pool of Bethesda.