This week, we complete our first cycle from Stevens and Ung’s, “Taking Your Soul to Work – overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.”
We’ve looked at pride (Chapter 1) and its opposite, joy (Chapter 10). The authors conclude the cycle by suggesting a practice or discipline that will help decrease pride and increase joy – continuous prayer (Chapter 19). ??
I’ll confess, I’ve never found it easy to combine prayer and work – in fact, work seems to be the enemy of prayer, squeezing out and suffocating reference to, let alone reliance on, God in all the challenges, stresses and pressures that come with the modern workplace. ?
But that is not how the Apostle Paul sees it. ?Writing to the Colossians, Paul seamlessly combines these two vital aspects of Christian living:
- Prayer and work are directed by God (1:3,9,12;3:23)
- Both are animated and energised by Jesus Christ (1:11,29)
- We work and pray with wholeheartedness and joy (3:23; 4:2)
- Prayer and work require continued attention (1:3,9)
- Prayer leads us toward a life of good work and carrying out Christ’s work (1:9,10;3:3,4), while work leads toward Christ’s power through prayer (1:29)
- Work strengthens our relationship with the Father (3:23), whilst prayer makes us thankful to the Father (1:12)
When we pray and work like this, our workplaces will change:
- We will see people through God’s eyes, we learn to speak the truth, we learn to comfort the hurting, help the helpless and listen to the lonely.
- We will become aware of God guiding us even in the most frustrating, challenging and annoying experiences at work
- We will find ourselves overcoming pride because even in our successes, we can say like Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God), “If I do not fail, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from him.”
- We will discover joy in the work that we do because, among other things, ‘… we know that our labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58) . Our work, however menial and mundane, has eternal consequences!
May this week bring you great joy as you work and pray for his kingdom to come in your workplace, family, neighborhood – in all the places God puts you to be his ambassador this week.
Next time: Greed: The Desire for More (Chapter 2)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010).?Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.??Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans
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