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Closing the Sunday-Monday Gap: Recognizing the Importance of our Work Life as Christians

Christians desire guidance for how to integrate their God life with their work life—especially those in the business sector. “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, NIV). Listed below are three insightful perspectives on this issue. The first two frameworks overlap in some ways, but they also bring out distinctive contributions, and offer particular guidance to help close the Sunday-Monday gap. Some may tend to compartmentalize work life as a second class necessity, and that the real action of Christian living takes place within the church facilities. We want to bring our whole life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, on Sunday and the rest of the week.


Ken Eldred, longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author on faith and work, suggests one integrative model that highlights a three-fold Christian focus while working:


1. A ministry AT work: Pointing those around us to God. (Living and sharing the good news).

2. A ministry OF work: Serving and creating via work itself. (Doing our work well and enjoying the use of our competencies and creativity as we serve others).

3. A ministry TO work: Redeeming the practices, policies, and structures of institutions. (Practicing our work in light of Kingdom values and virtues: bringing greater human flourishing, products, and services to society while addressing unethical actions and injustice). [1]


Secondly, William Peel, head of a prominent faith and work center at Le Tourneau University, and his co-author Walter Latimer propose that to bring our God-lives into our work-lives, we must help colleagues become receptive to Jesus by building a platform of credibility with them. We earn credibility for the good news, as well as credibility for ourselves to share the good news, by developing a consistent track record in each of these three areas:


1. Competency: Doing excellent work on the job.

2. Character: Making wise job decisions of integrity.

3. Consideration/Concern: Showing genuine mercy and compassion for our colleagues.

[2]

Finally, Dallas Willard, offers an intriguing big-picture perspective that helps us understand how our day jobs can fit into our Kingdom lives. Imagine a sheet of paper that has four concentric circles drawn on it: three smaller circles nested within a larger circle. Your “job” is portrayed by the smallest circle in the very middle. The next circle is your “ministry” or “calling.” The third is your “work,” and the largest circle encompassing the other three is your “life.”


Willard explains that “it is extremely important for you to distinguish those [four] things if you’re going to take care of yourself and be the kind of person who can stand in the world of business as a whole person for Christ.”


Job: “Your job is what you get paid to do. You can immediately see that for many people

there’s a problem in that their job will become their whole life.”

Ministry / Calling: “There are some things that God specially wants done in your time and in

your place, and He’s given those things to you to do. “

Work: “The total amount of good that you will accomplish in your lifetime. For many of us,

our family will be a large part of that.”

Life: “Encompassing all these is your life. That’s you. God is more interested in your life than

he is in any of the other things there. . . . If you are careful to distinguish between who

you are and what you do, then you’ll have a basis to stand in the face of the pressures

that can tear you apart in this world.” [3]


Action Point: Perhaps I take one of these models and reflect on it for a week or so, praying through each part of the model, and discern what guidance God might give you to live more fully while you work. Or, invite your study group or fellowship to join you in this prayer project. Then take another model and do the same. Each of these three frameworks can offer helpful insights about connecting our God-lives with our work-lives.


Some material in this article was adapted from a short e-book, Jesus, Money and Work: Practices for Forming Christian Character (InterVarsity, 2012), available on Amazon.


[1] Ken Eldred, The Integrated Life (Montrose, CO: Manna, 2010), p. 107.

[2] William Peel and Walt Larimore, Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work

[Going Public with Your Faith] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004/2010), 71.

[3] Dallas Willard, “Appendix A: How God is in Business,” in Bill Heatley, The Gift of Work:

Spiritual Disciplines for the Workplace (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 147-148.

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