Wise Men Bring the Gift of Work

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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A Pittsburgh business executive wakes up one Monday morning with a problem. He needs God’s help, but it isn’t Sunday. As a faithful church member, he suddenly realizes that he’s relegated God to explicitly religious activities. And he asks himself, “Does God care about my profit margins and cash flow statements on Monday as much as he cares about my offering on Sunday?”

On Wednesday after school, a teacher in Plano is anguishing with a school administrator over a policy issue that deeply affects one student’s self-esteem and the teacher’s sense of calling. She needs God’s peace and wisdom in that public school hallway. But she wonders, “Is God present and available in the middle of the week at a public school?”

On Saturday morning, a homeowner’s association meets with the city’s zoning commission and the Mayor’s task force on low-income housing. Tempers flare. Accusations and insults fly. One city employee can’t believe how ugly the meeting gets. Where is God? Does he care about these neighborhoods and property owners? Does he care about city planning and housing for the poor?

Does God care about Monday through Saturday as much as he cares about Sunday? Is Jesus interested in the well-being of cities, families, workplaces, and schools as well as sanctuaries and churches? Does Christ value our work and leisure as much as our worship and prayer?

Is there a connection between Sunday and Monday?

Yes! Jesus Christ is Lord of the weekday as well as the Sabbath. He is God’s agent for creation. All things were made by him and for him. Without him, not one thing came into being (John 1:3). In the creation narrative, God is busy working for six days before he creates the Sabbath. Certainly, God was present and active those first six days. Certainly, he blessed those first six days when “God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). God valued the first six days as much as the seventh day.

We are created in the image of God, and God is a worker, a potter, a farmer, a shepherd, a vintner, an architect, a metalworker, a builder, and a carpenter. God forms and orders community. He ordains and supports family. In Jesus, God redeems every area of life and is in the process of transforming it to his will.

The incarnation did not happen in a synagogue, in the presence of a priest on a Sabbath morning—during a transcendent prayer of praise—but in a farmer’s barn, in the presence of animals, a young working-class couple, visited by shepherds and aristocratic academics.

I discovered one of my favorite nativities in the lobby of a hotel, Le Creche des Santons de Provence. This kind of nativity portrays the holy family being visited not only by magi and shepherds, but by the baker and his wife, basket weaver, fruit seller, hunter, florist, fisherman, mayor, and many other provincial workers. They all bring gifts representing their trade or profession. Whatever they produce during the week, this is what they offer in honor of the Christ. So, too, for us. We offer our work, our family, our leisure, and our everyday lives in honor of Christ.

Whatever we do in word or deed, we do it all in the name of Jesus, thanking God for our work (Col. 3:17). Paul tells us, “Here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Rom. 12:1-2, Msg).

Worship begins on Sunday and continues through the week in our work, play, and in all the ordinary relationships of daily life. Church is not a sanctuary to take us out of the world. Rather, it is a place and time to reflect and celebrate what God has been doing the previous week. And to prepare for what God will do in the next week. What a wonderful rhythm God has given us. We begin each week focusing together on God’s grace. We gather together as his church to worship, equip, inform, and encourage.

Like a sports team, we study the film. We debrief last week’s game. We celebrate the team’s successes and individual gifts. We confess our mistakes. But that’s not all. The team prepares for the next week. Our coach offers instruction and additional training. Someone inspires the team with a pep talk. And we all leave the locker room ready to play another week.

God calls Christians to practice his presence every day. Listen to him and to your own life. Say quietly, “thanks” or “help.” Look for the subtle evidences of God in surprising places and people: a flower growing through a crack on a city sidewalk, a simple act of courtesy or generosity on a freeway or in an elevator.

Every joy can be an invitation to praise, every mistake an invitation to confession, every table a reminder of the Lord’s table.

God cares about the quality of our life on Wednesday morning and Saturday night and Sunday morning. He cares about our participation in the marketplace and our participation in the worship space. He cares about our celebrations and our sacrifices and our praise and our thanksgiving.

You don’t have to wonder, “Does God care about my daily life?” He does. Every day!