Leveraging Your Work for World Change
By Autum Swain
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” -Genesis 2:15
Our world today looks a lot different than it did when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden; however, there are many parallels to how we should view our work today. In the beginning, God called man and women to work. Jobs have since taken on a negative light for many of us. But work was always intended to be a good thing. At the core of work is stewarding that which God has given you, including your education, relationships, resources, and personal calling.
Work can also be compensated or uncompensated. Work that is uncompensated (mother, wife, daughter) is just as significant as that which is compensated. It is still work and when working for the Lord your are impacting the world in a positive way. Likewise, work that is generously compensated can be just as glorifying to God as volunteering for a homeless shelter or other compassion ministries. It is walking in obedience to the roles God has called you to that makes all the difference.
Think about it! God instituted business before he did the church. In the beginning, people would trade goods so that everyone would have their needs met. Whats more, people would line their work up with their interests and skills. The local church only became a necessity after the fall, but business always was a need prior to and after the fall. How does that change your perspective on your work?
Work also includes volunteer roles. Volunteering is a powerful way to “work” in the world we live in, as it brings glory to God. God has put passions on our hearts for a reason. So my question for you is how are you stewarding what God has given you and how does that play out in your work? Have you considered how you can volunteer your time to meet a need among those less fortunate than yourself?
If you are not sure in what ways God has called you to work, consider your sweet spot. This is where your gifts and skills intersect with your passions. Take time to really think this through. Eugene Peterson says, “The primary place for our spiritual formation takes place in the workplace.” Being in your sweet spot will help you thrive in your “workplace” environment. However, your “work” is also where you are challenged in your faith, and where you can be salt and light outside the four walls of the church. You have the greatest opportunity to put your faith to work when faced with challenges, demonstrating to your neighbors and co-workers how you handle such situations.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” -Colossians 3:23
Your emotional and spiritual attitude in which you approach work makes a significant difference in the impact you will have at “work,” whether you’re a stay at home mom or as a corporate executive. Good work as defined in “Work Matters” by R. Paul Stevens is, “energy expended purposefully, whether manual, mental or both, but nonetheless it is purposeful energy that brings glory to God and serves our neighbor.”
Women at work can change the world when its done with this in mind. Therefore, value one another and the roles each of you play in this world of “work”! God does not play favorites. He does not hold certain “jobs’ on a pedestal, therefore neither should we. Whether you’re a pastor, nurse, teacher or the president of a bank, if you live according to Colossians 3:23 you are a minister in your own way. Step up to the responsibility and challenge to steward yourself and your work so that it brings glory to God and makes a positive difference in the lives of others.
Dr. Autumn Swain, who attends Capital City Church and leads the Be the Love team in Kingstowne, is an entrepreneur, educator and bridge builder as well as a wife, mom and devoted community member focused on empowering people to live holistically healthy lives and equipping leaders to build healthier communities. She has diverse experiences in various sectors and a passion for increasing the capacity of leaders in their calling to transform communities.
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