“Purposeful” Work

What does your work mean to you?

Later this week we’re interviewing Bonnie Wurzbacher, an executive at Coca-Cola (and a really great Christian lady!) for her take on how to bring meaning to your work.  Don’t miss it! Bonnie’s wise words have got me thinking this week about perspectives on work in the corporate world.

I meet a lot of Christian working women who work full time in ministry or at other worthy nonprofits. Can I tell you a secret? I used to feel kind of jealous of those women. I imagined that they must enjoy some special sense of moral certainty about their work, as if it would be easier to make sacrifices for work if your work was as important and purposeful as theirs seemed.

I was wrong.

First, this balancing act is hard no matter what kind of work you do.  Second, God is God everywhere, He isn’t limited to the “ministry” sector, and neither is His important and purposeful work. I trust that God has me right where he wants me, and you should too!

What does it mean to be doing God’s work, at work?

I’ll start with a side note about what it doesn’t mean.  It doesn’t mean that you must talk about your faith every time someone walks into your office. I won’t rehash what I blogged about a few weeks ago, but there are ways to effectively share your faith at work that don’t have to entail praying loudly over your coffee in the break room every morning.

Here’s the bottom line. If you don’t work full time at a nonprofit (and most of us don’t), then your employer is in the business of making money.  It doesn’t quite sound as good as “feeding orphans in Africa,” but that’s the reality of where you are and where God has brought you. And unless you truly feel called to do the orphans thing, then this is the reality you’ll be operating under for the rest of your working life. AND IT’S OKAY. For-profit businesses do a lot of good things for the world, not the least of which is to provide incomes to the people who donate to nonprofits (and many corporations make large charitable donations themselves). But even so, you don’t have to feel warm and fuzzy about your company’s mission to find (or create) purpose there.

Believe it or not, a big part of doing God’s work just comes down to behaving honorably, including working hard and doing the best job possible at whatever task is before you.  “What?!?!” you’re thinking, “I’m making copies here, how can God be honored in that?” Do you trust that God has brought you to where you are?  Good!  Then you owe it to Him to do this work excellently. Your attitude and work ethic will be noticed by your coworkers, and as we discussed a few weeks ago, it will make you a much more effective ambassador for Christ.

Furthermore, the truth is, you don’t know what plans God has for you or how He wants to use your life to touch others. Maybe He wants you to become an executive like Bonnie, interacting with business leaders from all over the world. Let me tell you, half-hearted work won’t get you there! By taking your work seriously, you honor God’s plan and his providence.