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.