Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenge. Today is Thursday, we’ve been exploring a topic all week and today, we are going to try to apply it to our lives. This week we’ve been talking about how Jesus resets every area of our lives including how we see work. We’ve talked a few times this week about how work can take on a life of it’s own. Work can consume us. Work can drive us. Work can become our idol. It can become something we worship, something we elevate above all other things and that drives all other things in our lives. Work can become our god. Whenever we take something good in this world, we make it our ultimate good. It becomes our ultimately bad for us. That’s a definition of sin.
Back in our series that we did this past summer on work and rest, we explored what it looks like to work well as a follower of Jesus and we saw four ways to approach work as a follower of Jesus today. Way to apply what we learned from Colossians on Tuesday about work and working continuously, working for God, working well and try to apply that in the early practical way of life today.
Sometimes our work can be redeemed. Sometimes we have been doing work maybe for ourselves, maybe just for the money but you know what, it’s good work consistent with God’s kingdom and we can continue to do it well and now we can offer it up to God. I told the story in that series about an animator who had been animating for work and now she had the opportunity to animate scripture for a church I had started. That was the way for her to offer her work to God. That was great.
Sometimes our work needs to be challenged. Sometimes we have been engaged in work selfishly that simply cannot be done by somebody in God’s kingdom. Say you have been working in the porn industry. You become a follower of Jesus, that needs to get reset. You can’t continue working in that industry, but you can challenge it. Your role in God’s kingdom maybe to challenge that industry. To speak out against it. To let people know what it’s really like the dangers of it -how it’s actually a form of modern slavery. I could go on but you can see how some kinds of work can’t be offered or redeemed for God, they have to be challenged.
Finally some work can be subverted. There are times when our work is something that we have been doing for all the wrong reasons. It’s not directly supporting God’s kingdom to do that work but it’s also not something that needs to be completely confronted and challenged and what we can do is we can be there as a follower of Jesus and subvert what’s happening there that is selfish, that is sinful, that is broken. We can undermine people’s belief in the idol of work and money and power and show them a different way by being there.
Followers of Jesus can’t withdraw from every industry. We can’t withdraw from finance and art and culture. We can’t withdraw from transportation, from supply chain management. We can’t withdraw from consumer products. We can’t withdraw from construction. I could go on and list all these industries. We can’t withdraw completely from the world. Christians need to be there and sometimes that looks like challenging and sometimes it looks like redeeming and offering it and sometimes it looks like subverting it and I highlight this one because that’s really what Colossians was talking about.
Paul was talking to slaves who happen to have become followers of Jesus. They are stuck in a system of slavery. It is the status quo where they live and what he wants them to do is undermine it. He wants them to subvert. He wants them to continue working for their owners but he wants them to know they are not truly owned by them. He wants them to be free, even though the world thinks they are slaves.
Now most of us have more freedom than the slaves that Paul is talking to but sometimes circumstances or responsibilities give us no choice. Sometimes we find ourselves in the kind of work where our only choice is to subvert. We have to stay there. We have no other choice to leave that work, we have to stay and subvert it. To undermine work’s ability to control us, to own us.
Really no matter what work we do, we can find ourselves feeling owned by that work. We can’t find ourselves handing over the entirety of our lives, our entire identity, our entire sense of security and confidence in life to our jobs. We can use our job titles to describe all of who we are. When we are doing that, we are selling out to work, we are selling ourselves to slavery, willingly. That is the system in our world. That is the system of slavery in our Western world. We willingly sell ourselves to work and if that’s happening in your life, then please subvert it. Undermine its power over you and continue to show others while you work alongside them, what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus in your industry.
Keep working. Work well at it. Show them what it’s really like to be an artist who does art for the Kingdom of God. Show them what is like to build for the Kingdom of God, to create for the Kingdom of God. To organize for the Kingdom of God. To lead for the Kingdom of God. Whatever kind of work you do, show people what that work looks like when it is done well and done for God and so doing it will subvert works power over yourself and over others.
Work may think it owns you, it may act like it owns you. The world may think that your work owns you, but you can undermine its power over you. Break yourself free from the chains of slavery and the only way you can do that is by turning to Jesus Christ as your soul source of self worth, of security and identity in this world. When you turn to him, as that soul ultimate source of meaning in life, you will find that things like work and money and so on, all comeback to the place they were always meant to hold in your life. Not the center or ultimate place, but on the periphery.
When we work for the Kingdom of God, living in the Kingdom of God, even well for the Kingdom of this world surrounds us, what we are doing is we are showing, to react to some of the things I said yesterday, that work could go wrong. We are showing people that we are not our own saviors but we are saved by God’s grace.
Our self worth and our self identity are not found in our work but they are found in Jesus Christ and that’s where we see ourselves as workers in God’s creation, advancing God’s kingdom and not as the creator ourselves. We see ourselves for who we truly are, we see other for who they truly are. That’s what Paul is telling bond servants and masters to do it in his letter to the Colossians we explored on Tuesday and that is what we can do in our working lives today.
And my challenge for you today is to think what concrete tools can I use to help me do the three things we’ve really talked about this week. What tools can I use in my workplace to keep working. To keep working there I can be a presence for God, I can either challenge it or subvert it or redeem it. What can I do to work well there? How can I show that this is work for God’s kingdom, for the sake of work being good and finally how can I work for God and doing you are going to bring other people along for the ride too. Map that out today. Think of what concrete tools you can use to actually make this happen. To keep working, work for God and work well.
Well have a great time discussing with your group what that looks like to put that into practice. I’ll see you tomorrow as we take time to pray and reflect. Don’t forget to read the Bible in sync as well. Bye for now.Read the Bible in Sync Today