One of the main reasons I decided to do City Life was to learn how my faith should impact my work. I was faced with leaving college and the structure of college ministry, so I wanted to learn how to live out God’s mission in the workplace. To this end, City Life has taught me three main things: I am to glorify God in everything (including my work), no job will give me fulfillment, and the opportunity to do missions is not limited to missionaries.
Our theme verse for the summer was 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” This was a verse that I had heard multiple times, but the true meaning never clicked in my mind. The realization that it was possible to do something as simple as eating, drinking, or working for the glory of God shifted the way I thought about these seemingly mundane activities. I realized that glorifying God isn’t reserved for church events and gospel conversations; it is meant for everything. Initially, this was convicting, but it’s also motivational because it gives a purpose and meaning to everything I do. Now, I am able to appreciate everything I do instead of just going through the motions.
Not only did my perspective on the purpose of work change, my perspective on what I can receive from my work has changed. We are taught from a young age that we need to find a job to enjoy because that will fulfill us in life. However, this summer has shown me that finding fulfillment through my job is impossible. It is a gift from God to find a job and enjoy it. But God doesn’t intend for us to seek fulfilment in that job because true fulfillment only comes through him.
This concept challenges the idea in our society that occupation equals status. Certain jobs are viewed more highly than others, and this causes us to view certain people more highly than others. When we devalue certain types of labor (manual, food service, etc.), we buy into the lie that our work defines us and gives us meaning.
This summer, I learned that I am called to continue God’s mission in whatever job I occupy. God calls everyone to something, and our responsibility is to identify that calling and follow it. Most of the times I’ve heard somebody talk about being called by God it has generally referred to a job in ministry. But this summer, I realized if I’m not called to a job in ministry, I’m called to be a missionary in my workplace. When I enter the workplace, I’m not solely compelled to be a good employee, I’m called to be a light in the darkness. Practically, this ranges from not cutting corners to putting my coworkers needs in front of mine and to sharing the gospel.
I’ve realized that I will only begin to enjoy my work and see the fruits of my work when I view work rightly. All of the speakers, group meetings, book discussions, and our trip to DC showed me that work isn’t a necessary evil; it is a gift from God that he has given to us that we may glorify him and further his mission.
-Andrew King (City Life Participant)