According to the Small Business Administration, most new businesses fail within the first few years because they are underfunded. Sad but true, success in business is impossible without resources.
But did you ever consider that we can be spiritually underfunded too? If we fail to pray about our work—whether we're dealing with budgets, office conflict, legal issues, strategic plans, or our career goals—we're headed for disaster.
If you've never thought about praying about such things when you're at work, don't feel badly, because you're in good company. Jesus' own disciples had a similar disconnect between their faith and their work. At least four of them were professional fishermen. Their power zone was the Sea of Galilee—an environment they understood well, and the last place they ever dreamed of needing God. Sure, they knew that Jesus could heal and feed a multitude, preach a moving sermon, and even change water to wine. But what did Jesus and faith have to do with boats and navigating the Sea of Galilee—their workplace? Yet caught in a storm that threatened their lives, they woke him up crying,
Master, Master, we're going to drown!" to which Jesus responded, "'Where is your faith? "
On that day some burly professional fishermen learned in no uncertain terms that Jesus was the Lord of their workplace as much as he was Lord of their synagogue, and he had more ability in his little finger than all of their combined abilities, experience, and expertise gained from years on the water. And he was not only able but willing to bring his power to bear in their workplace.
What's our take-away from this passage?
First, Jesus' power is not reserved for mission projects in third-world countries and religious activities at church. His power applies to boats and big waves and other real-life stuff we deal with on the job on a daily basis.
Second, he is always present and ready to move beyond our frail competence, inadequate resources, and limited thinking, and bring his power to bear in the ordinary parts of our lives, as well as in our most challenging dilemmas. When God says "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you," he wasn't just talking about church. He means every moment of life, in every area of our existence—including our work. That's a reassuring promise considering today's economic environment.
Accessing God's Power in Our Work
The next time you're dealing with a knotty problem or wrestling with a hard decision, remember: His promise for guidance is as true at work as it is anywhere.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them . . . (Isa. 42:16)
And, he wasn't just talking to missionaries when He promised:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)
Lest we lose perspective, is there anything that we use or produce in our work that can't be traced to God's good hand? Where do the raw materials come from? Where did our expertise come from? Remember Moses words,
You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth . . . " (Deut. 8:17-18).
None of us can do the work God gave us to do in our own strength. Wake up to God's spiritual capital waiting for you at work today. Recognize the importance of prayer at work.
Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:
- Why do you think it is so easy to fall asleep spiritually at work and forget God's presence and interest in your work?
- What can you do to remind yourself of God's presence during the work day?
- Are there things you think you shouldn't ask God for at work? Why?
- Have you ever had the thought that you shouldn't bother God with the small things? But Is ther anything that we can ask that isn't "small" in comparison to his power to begin with?
Adapted from Workplace Grace by Bill Peel and Walt Larimore