For the vast majority of Christians, Sunday is the primary day of community worship. It is the day when Christians gather to pray, hear the Word, profess our beliefs, confess our corporate and individual sins, and sing praises to God. Worship is a community gathering as collectively we bond with each other through our love of Christ. But our work is also a community event where workers bond with the larger community. Can this work also be worship?
In Craig McAndrews’ recently published book Soul Purpose INC. (Lucid Books, Houston, TX, 2018), he discussed three work mindsets. Craig is a seasoned business executive who currently teaches at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business (I obtained my MBA degree at their evening school while working as a young engineer).
The first work mindset is live-to-work. When workers decide “where to spend their time and resources, they usually give work their best. Some might even consider this type of person a workaholic. … They often spend much more time working than intended, and they often work in order to reduce feelings of guilt or anxiety. Work helps them feel productive, significant, and alive. A downside of the live-to-work mindset is that these people can easily become stressed if they’re hindered from working.”(p. 17-18)
The second work mindset is work-to-live. Workers “go to work because it allows them to do more of the things they like to do outside of work. In some cases, their job provides funds for their hobbies and leisure, while in other cases, a flexible work schedule allows them the freedom to participate in what makes them happy. … They think about their job less so they can spend more time doing what they want to be doing.”(p. 18-19)
Most workers probably fall somewhere between the live-to-work and the work-to-live mindset. In fact, most workers shift between these two extremes over their working lives depending on their employer or assignment. Craig offers a third work mindset: work as worship. “The way we do our work is powerfully connected to our worship. The words we speak reveal a lot about who we are on the inside. The way we deal with people reflects our true character; the way we use our hands and feet highlights what we really value.”(p. 22)
When we work, we use our body – both physically and mentally. In Romans 12:1 (NIV), Paul writes: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” At work, we use our physical and mental abilities to uplift our community. We seek forgiveness when we error while working. And we are thankful for God’s providence and our God-given competencies while we work. This is how we work as worship.
We are not usually in a church building surrounded by our Christian brothers and sisters while doing our daily work. But we are in the world following the Holy Spirit where God is working. Redirecting our work mindset towards work as worship connects our faith and work by offering our bodies as a “living and holy sacrifice.” This form of worship is just as holy and pleasing to God as our Sunday worship.