On any given day in any given year, many of us could use encouragement when it comes to seeking God’s presence in our workplaces. Even if we’re fortunate enough to work in a job we love, we all experience burnout every now and then. We hit a wall where we lose some of our enthusiasm for work, struggle to be creative, or can’t seem to work well with our coworkers. These hurdles are especially tricky to overcome in 2020, when the world seems to be in a state of perpetual upheaval and there’s a new tragedy everywhere we turn.
As Christians, it’s especially important for us to imitate God at work—after all, it’s where most of us spend the majority of our week. And in the midst of a global pandemic, we have the unique opportunity to shine the light of Christ into the uncertainty we find around us. In his book Workplace Discipleship 101, Dr. David Gill offers practical encouragement for bringing Christ into the workplace and letting our faith influence every aspect of our work, even when we’re feeling burned out and discouraged.
Modeling God’s Spirit of Creativity
I read Workplace Discipleship 101 at the end of this summer, when Zoom fatigue had set in for good and I could feel my enthusiasm for the job I usually enjoy starting to decline. I wasn’t necessarily looking for encouragement about work in a book I had to read for work, but it found me anyway. In particular, I’ve been drawn back to this quote from chapter 6, “Align,” where Dr. Gill talks about the importance of expressing the creativeness of God as beings made in his image when we work:
So how can we express this godly creativeness wherever we work? This is an alignment question. Whatever our work may be, can we encourage and practice teamwork like our Trinitarian God does? Can our work be more productive . . . and our products not just “good for” but even “better for” their intended purposes and more “pleasant to the sight”—like God’s work? Can we bring order and harmony where our workplace is experiencing some formlessness and chaos? Can we bring light into any darkness in our workplace? Can we practice and promote better stewardship of God’s creation, better “dominion” before God? Can we better “cultivate” as well as “protect” people and the planet?
The questions Dr. Gill asks in this quote give me a helpful checklist for myself when it comes to expressing the Creator’s creativity at work, especially during this season. When I am “stuck in a rut” at work, thinking about how I might answer these questions for myself helps rekindle my energy and excitement.
From Exhaustion to Enthusiasm
When I notice myself losing enthusiasm for a project, I’ve discovered it helps to ask (as Dr. Gill suggests in the quote above) what I can do to take the project from being “good for” being “better for” its purpose. In the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis, we see God calling his own creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). When I think about ways to delight in my own work the way God delighted in the world he created, it becomes much easier to get excited about the project all over again.
Let’s face it: when we’re stuck with the same people every day, sometimes we can get on each other’s nerves, no matter how well we work together for the most part. And in a season where people have more than their usual reasons for being on edge, navigating relationships at work can be complicated. However, this is another area where reflecting on God’s character can change the way we think about difficulty. As Dr. Gill points out, it’s our responsibility to “encourage and practice teamwork like the Trinitarian God does.” Furthermore, he notes that we should strive to bring “order and harmony” to chaotic spaces.
Workplace Discipleship 101 invites us to take stock of how we follow God at work and implement practices that will not only help our own faith grow, but also make our faith apparent to the people around us. Dr. Gill issues a timely call for Christians to bring their faith to the workplace, and his practical suggestions for how to do this are especially helpful in the midst of a season that is unusually chaotic for just about everyone.
Written by Sarah Welch, Assistant Editor of Hendrickson Publishers.
About the Author
David Gill served forty years as a seminary or business school professor of ethics and is the author of eight previous books, including Becoming Good: Building Moral Character (2000), Doing Right: Practicing Ethical Principles (2004), and It’s About Excellence: Building Ethically Healthy Organizations (2008/2011). He has been a pioneer in the “faith at work” movement and now serves as Workplace Discipleship Coach at First Covenant Church in Oakland, California.
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