Mark 1:12-13. Temptation at Work

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
Kier in sight archives n L Ejbp Pcf0k unsplash

Before Jesus can even begin his work of proclaiming the good news, God’s Spirit drives him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. In many passages in Scripture, God calls people through a place of testing and refinement, for example, Moses (Exodus 3–5), Joseph (Genesis 37, 39), and Paul (Acts 9, 11). Recognizing that your work matters to God will make work more fulfilling, more meaningful, less frustrating, and probably more difficult too. If the aims of your workplace—or the habits of your heart—do not fully align with God’s path of restoring the world for the good of all people, you can expect tensions, temptations, and difficulties at work. For example, is there any workplace where all people are treated by everyone with the dignity they deserve as people made in the image of God? Once you start to follow Jesus at work, you can no longer feel complacent when anyone in your workplace is mistreated or belittled. All the more so if you are the one doing the mistreating.

This does not make Jesus an enemy of work. Jesus chose to go into the place of hardship and temptation, and he found that God was with in him the wilderness (Mark 1:13). Maybe God puts his people in difficult workplaces because you can do more good there. Maybe it is for your own growth and formation. As marketplace theologian R. Paul Stevens says, “Work can shape our identity, form our character, and influence our relationships.” [1] Maybe by God’s grace you can help make your workplace more as God intends, or maybe it will take all God’s strength simply to endure it until God opens another door for you. Whatever the circumstances, God is with you where you work.