Spiritual Capital for the Workplace

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Do you think it's okay to pray about a business decision?" The guy who asked me this question was considering a merger that would affect a lot of people, and he was noticeably worried. What was surprising was that he had been a Christian since childhood, he was active in his church, and was involved in a ministry to the poor in his city. Yet his question revealed that he had never understood how much he needed God and how much God cares about his work. In contrast, Paul knew that he was powerless without God. Writing to people in the workplace, he challenged them: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Col. 4:2).

I don't know about you, but I don't devote myself to anything that I don't think is absolutely critical—and that's exactly how Paul looked at prayer. The word devote gives us a clue as to why. It's a compound word made up of the Greek word for unto, plus the word that means strength, might, and dominion. It carries the idea of leaning into a source of power. It expresses a concrete act of trust, reliance, and dependence. In so many words, Paul is saying that God is our source of wisdom and strength in our work. We're to ask for it and depend on him. Not our business skills, our connections, or our bank account, but God himself. He is our real source of capital. Prayer in this sense is our declaration of dependence on God, not only for our spiritual welfare but for our economic welfare as well.

So, why do we need to pray about our work? Because we need God for everything we do. In his last conversation with his disciples before his crucifixion, Jesus said: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). In other words, we will be fruitful to the extent that Jesus supplies us with power.

It's important to note that this fruit to which Jesus refers is not just godly character (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit), and it is not the souls we have a part in saving. In Genesis 1, God defines fruitfulness on a much broader level. When he commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful, he did so before the fall. Since they perfectly reflected God's character, and as of yet there were no souls to save, he meant something else by fruitful.

The fruit that God desired is the result of our daily work—the development of his creation into its full potential. Thus, fruit or being fruitful is the development of any good thing God desires for his creation—physically, socially, spiritually, emotionally, or economically—and for his people.

Lay the truths of John 15 and Genesis 1 side by side, and it becomes clear that we are to pray about everything—including our work—because apart from Jesus we can do nothing. We can't grow spiritually, build a business, bring friends and colleagues to Christ, do good work on the job. This is all part of God's grand design for his kingdom. We need his power to accomplish anything—and everything we do.