Introduction: Why Work as Worship Matters and How to Make it Happen
Many people have a hard time reconciling the idea of work and worship. This can be true both in the sense that they are difficult to combine, or they simply don’t believe it is possible to work as worship. For example, some people believe that only the most spiritual people are able to make time for prayer while they are at their job (http://blog.hayhouse.com/the-church-and-the-workforce/). Some say we should leave our jobs or church behind when we’re done for the day because we just don’t get anything out of it anymore (which may be true). What is important to remember is that work and worship are both important parts of our lives. We can’t discern what God is calling us to do without being in the world, and neither should we leave the Church behind when we’re done for the day. This article provides an insight into how both sides can come together by examining the idea of work as worship, the benefits of it for workers, and how to make it happen.
The Work Ethic in Christianity and Other Religions. The idea of a Christian “work ethic” gained ground during colonial America’s period of emergence from Puritanism.The idea of a “work ethic” in Judaism is seen largely as the obligation to participate in the Jewish economy, working for a living and paying taxes.The idea of a “work ethic” is central to Islam, which condemns idleness as an affront to God’s creation.
Virtually every religion in the world has some way of conceptualizing how to integrate faith with the work we do every single day. Work can become worship. when we are able to see the progress of our hard work and dedication in all sorts of ways, from being recognized by others who have benefited from our labor, to being rewarded for the time we invest in our work.As you begin to spend more time at your job, it’s important that you keep up with your spiritual practices so that your faith doesn’t waiver. Whether you’re a believer or not, keeping up with spiritual practices is important for personal growth. If you are religious but feel like something’s missing from your life, this might be the first step in figuring out what changes need to be made. “The religious life is the only life that can sustain itself in a state of radical openness. It has no other choice.” –John Caputo. When you feel like something’s missing from your life, take an inventory of how you feel and why you’re feeling this way. Maybe it’s because your faith is flagging, or something else is bothering you.
Steps to make your day work more like worship
- Before you rush off to work, make sure you’re covered by spending time with God. Even 5 minute prayers before your commute count. Do not start the day without talking with God. It is important to keep up with our spiritual practices so that we can grow spiritually.
- Don’t focus on your feelings. Acknowlege and take inventory but don’t let them run away with you. Most of our productivity and opportunities to be compassionate are wasted when we get wrapped in how we FEEL. Feelings are not facts. You may feel like you’re being terrible at your work, yet your supervisor has a different opinion. You may feel like your coworkers are gossiping behind your back and hate you, but they may be planning you a surprise party. Don’t get sucked into your feelings.
- Pray more specifically. Maybe your day needs to begin with praying over every task on your to do list and every person you know you will encounter.
- Emergency Prayers. When agitated, take a moment to pause and pray. I’m dating myself but I still remember the whole be cool about fire safety publicity campaign when I was a child. They told us to “stop, drop, and roll.” Thankfully I have never been on fire and had the opportunity to use this sound counsel but I get on fire at work, I get caught up, inflamed in passionate anger… and for that I have stop and pray. Who knows? Maybe being more specific about what I’m struggling with, right in the moment of the struggle with instantly cool that fire.
- Add a Playlist. Music helps me so much with my workday. When I’m in my office and I’m writing, I love to have a good worship playlist going.
What can you add to this list?