Finishing out the 2020 Vision series this week and I want to land on an area that is certainly a part of our everyday lives: the workplace and the marketplace and the mission fields we are called to therein. I’ve been impressed to think about the “buckets” we each invest our lives into each day: our personal lives before God, the home life we have with our spouse and kids, and the church and our responsibilities as Christ’s bride. I don’t want to divide these areas so much that it seems each is separated from the other. Certainly each area is unique and distinct. But who we are in one area needs to be who we are in them all. In short, our testimony on a public stage must be the same as what it is behind closed doors. And that is a reminder to me as much as it is to anyone else.
We spend so much of our waking hours at work and amongst people we don’t consider as family or perhaps even friends. But we have working relationships…with staff, with our bosses, sometimes with customers, students, clientele, etc. All of those relationships are people that we can speak life and truth into. The tendency often as Christians is to approach work as a place where we don’t ruffle a lot of feathers and certainly don’t browbeat with our faith. I’ve seen Christians do this badly and it leaves a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. On the other hand, I have seen very powerful witnesses to Christ in moments when a redeeming word or gesture is needed.
Today’s key points take us into the discussion of work but also the other areas where our reach goes on a daily basis. Finally, I believe a good place to end this vision series is in simply discussing vision: the dreams and plans God has for you. I believe work and mission are all wrapped up in one. We use our training and abilities not just to do a job but also to point to Jesus moment by moment. It makes sense to dream about how God might want to use those abilities to His glory.
Here we go!
1. Your job is your mission field
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
There is so much untapped potential when a person only works to punch a time clock and get to the weekend. But that is the attitude we often have towards work. We find work as a necessary evil; a job we tolerate so that we can have the life and stuff that we want to have. For many in 2020, this attitude needs some tuning. We have to being willing to see our work hours as a means to invest in lives around us. In reality, we need to see the whole of our lives (work, home, church, and so on) as representing Christ. Your job is your daily mission field outside of the home.
Perspective on work changes when we see it all as the Lord’s. All that we do is ultimately unto Him. Our employer, our boss/manager, our co-workers…we work with a mindset that Christ influences these relationships. What we do, what we say, and how we act ultimately is for God and reflects Him. Allow your co-workers to see Christ in you. Allow conversations to go to that place and when they do, be willing to talk about Jesus in a way that is not condemning (i.e. not judging those around you) but inviting and open to further dialogue.
2. The marketplace (physical and digital) is a place to display Christ
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
The marketplace of life is a primary area we must bring Christ into. By marketplace, I mean the place where you connect with others. It could be a coffee shop, the grocery store, the autobody shop, the stands at a high school football game…anywhere you encounter people and converse. Even social media has become it’s own marketplace and venue of shared thoughts and ideas. These days more discussion probably goes on behind a keyboard than it does face to face. That’s only becoming more the norm as technology advances.
The marketplace today offers unique opportunities to show Christ. Our words must be full of truth but wrapped in love. Sometimes just developing a relationship without strings attached is a wonderful on-ramp into someone’s life. Let’s face it, life gets messy. Going deeper beyond the surface is uncomfortable at times. But as we step out into public places or log-on to our social media feeds, there is a way to display Christ that brings glory to Him. We have to find that balance of love and truth that offers a compelling reason for someone to listen. We must be willing to go the extra mile with someone when the easier option is just crossing over to the other side and letting someone else do the work.
3. Beyond those areas, where might Christ send you in 2020?
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing…so the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Joshua 3:15,16
I personally love the idea of people pursuing God-inspired dreams. People who have counted the cost and have realized that God is big enough to catch them if they fall. If you are reading this, I hope you understand from anything I’ve written that God is for you and not against you. He has put things into your heart that He is asking you to steward and to one day use for Him. The parable of the talents is a reminder that we have gifts that God invests into us (Matthew 25:14-30). But it is up to us to do something with that investment.
This a place to dream. Perhaps you’ve been asking the question, “If I could do anything/go anywhere and money, resources, etc were not a factor, where would it be?” From a spiritual perspective, you’ve been leaning into that thought and wondering “is 2020 a year to step into something new?” I believe God’s favor goes before you into this year. He is saying, “All that you need is in Me. Stop looking at the x,y, and z of how something is going to happen. Start by taking a faith step, the first step.” As Israel waited to cross the Jordan River, it was not until the priests stepped into the water that the path was laid bare. That Jordan River step is the one you and I need to take as we consider what God wants to do in 2020.
Today’s message covers a wide range of topics but I hope it resonates and gives you some things to meditate on as we finish out this series. As I’ve written in a previous blog, I do not believe God has called us to a safe faith, but rather an unsafe one (An Unsafe Faith). I believe His anointing rests upon and goes before those brave ones who will, after counting the cost, step out to be His ambassadors. That might mean being bolder at work and being ok if people know you’re a Christian. That might mean inviting your neighbor to church. It might even mean taking a step you’ve never done before: moving to a new area, pursuing a new degree, or something as scary as quitting your job to start a new venture.
Please know you are prayed for as these messages go out. 2020 Vision is an idea the Lord put on my heart in December 2019 and as these messages post online and get emailed, they’ve already had hours of preparation and prayer put into them. I believe God does not have His word return void. I eagerly anticipate and expect to hear good things about what He is doing in your life this year. From here, we springboard into some more specific content that will help us live out and display the vision. God is good and He goes before us. God bless you and always, I love walking the journey with you.
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17
Other blogs in this series: