June 13, 2021

Work as Worship: Launching Our Faith and Work Initiative

By Andrew Franklin

If you were in a church in the 90’s, there is a good chance you had a “WWJD” bracelet. This was a simple reminder on your wrist to always be asking, “What would Jesus do?” Although made somewhat obnoxious by its widespread popularity, this bracelet was clever and caused people to think about responding like Jesus in certain situations. But, how many people who had that bracelet kept wearing it when they went into the office, worked behind the counter, sat in the conference room, stood on stage, met with their boss, discussed with their client, or ate with their coworker? How many people abandoned the WWJD mentality when these situations were exactly the places where we needed to be asking, “what would Jesus do in my workplace”?

When you look at the Old Testament and the Hebrew it was originally written in, you come across a fascinating word: “Avodah.” The root of this word is used to describe both work and worship. For example, in Exodus 34:21 God says, “Six days you shall work (avodah) but on the seventh day you shall rest….” And in Exodus 3:12 Moses says that because God brought his people out of Egypt they should “worship (avodah) God on this mountain.” We typically think Sunday (worship) and Monday (work) are worlds apart, but if we have a biblical outlook on work, the distinction is less clear.

We are excited to call Solano Church’s faith and work initiative the Avodah Project. The word Avodah is a simple reminder that our work and our worship are linked; God cares about the work we do, not just the work of the pastor and the missionary but also the tasks of the doctor, the graphic designer, the chef, the teacher, and so on. Worship happens on Sunday, yes, but a fundamental truth to the Christian worldview is that all of our activity can be God-glorifying and Christ-focused.

How would Jesus do my job? How can I proactively create good things which are pleasing to God? How can I participate in redeeming broken parts of my work, or corrupt practices, or an unhealthy workplace culture? How do I even choose a vocation? What is the role of evangelism in the workplace? I am confident that most of us have asked these questions at some point and through the Avodah Project, we hope to equip the members of our community desiring to navigate these difficult ideas.

The Avodah Project will have its first event on September 12, 2015 8:00am-10:00am. The workshop will be free and open to all; more details will be available soon. We are praying that God will use our time together in the months ahead to teach us what the Bible says about work, encourage us as we hear stories about other Christians in their workplaces, and invigorate us through the reminder that God loves us and cares about every aspect of our work. 

One thought on “Work as Worship: Launching Our Faith and Work Initiative

  1. In trying to answer the question: What Would Jesus Do?, it seems reasonable to examine what He has already done. Jesus did many things while He was here on Earth, some of which are recorded in the Bible. As not all the things He did are recorded, and indeed the Bible states that it would be beyond the ability of the world to hold written records of all that He had done (John 21:25); let us look at those things that Jesus states that He came to do, a much shorter list. Of all the things Jesus states he came to do, the vast and overwhelming majority of them are things that could only have been done by Him.

    Some of the things that Jesus stated that He came here to do are as follows:

    To reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27)
    To serve, and to give His life (Matt. 20:28)
    To save the world through the Father (John 3:17; Luke 19:10)
    To preach the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43)
    To bring division (Luke 12:51)
    To do the will of the Father (John 6:38)
    To give the Father’s words (John 17:8)
    To testify to the truth (John 18:37)
    To fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17)
    To give life (John 10:10,28)
    To proclaim freedom for believers (Luke 4:18)
    To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19) ?
    To bring judgment (John 9:39)
    To preach (Mark 1:38)
    To call sinners (Mark 2:17)

    The specific things that Jesus did were to achieve these broader goals. He shows the purpose of His deeds on Earth, as a potentially necessary proof to get people to believe in Him, when He implores us to: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” (John 14:11) One must be cautious in trying to choose individual actions based on specific examples of what Jesus did, as the examples are specific to Jesus.

    Jesus is of the utmost kindness when He, conveniently in the next verse, tells us: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) Believers work for Jesus simply because of the fact that they are believers. No matter how confusing their situation is to them, Jesus wins.

    So, does Jesus help us at all in figuring out what to do in specific situations? Well, yes, yes He does. With the last words that He spoke on Earth before going back to Heaven, He gave us both ample help and told us exactly what to do. People may think that His words here are not specific enough for day to day situations. I believe that is the problem; we don’t take His words as His Word, literal and applicable to every second of every day, when we push our eyes over these written words:

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

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