Faith and Work

And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.   And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.  Genesis 39:2-4

Recently on two separate occasions I have had discussions with individuals regarding how their desire to serve God surpassed their desire to work.  In a nutshell, they felt that they couldn’t adequately serve God if they had a full time job or a demanding career.  I wonder how many people think this way.    The error in this kind of thinking is that it is better to  have a paying job in some sort of ministry role (church/parachurch/etc.) or to live like a pauper, than to have a job in the secular marketplace and earn a good living.  Implied in this thinking is the notion that working people are not as good of Christians because they spend more time working than they do in ministry or spending time with God in devotional activities.

The reality is, all people are not called to spend their workdays in formal ministry roles.  We all have different God-give assignments in life.  We are all made differently and given unique talents and callings so that we can reach the people God has put into our lives in  this particular moment in history.   The story of Joseph clearly shows how God might prosper someone in the marketplace.   In Genesis 39:2-4 above we see that

  1. God prospered Joseph at his “job” in the Pharoah’s house.
  2. Joseph’s faith on display was a testimony to his Egyptian master.
  3. Joseph’s master gave him favor because of his testimony.

Joseph was doing exactly what God had called him to do by just doing an excellent job wherever he happened to be.  God apparently didn’t think that Joseph belonged praying or overseeing temple sacrifices somewhere because God prospered Joseph on the “job”.  This should be good news for most of us who may not be called into formal ministry work.  We can still be good Christians after all.    I believe the Bible tells us so.  How can you be a better Christian right where you are today?  Think about it.   You just might be a modern day Joseph.

10 thoughts on “Faith and Work

  1. eph2810

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I so agree with you, Janna. Although I enjoyed my work at the church office for six years, I think it is good that I am back in the ‘world’. The church employment was wonderful, but I think it is equally important that we serve the Lord in the ‘world’ and have Him work through us.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts we us this morning. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Danielle Blogging for Balance

    I made this decision about a year ago and apparently it was misunderstood by the so called ‘Christian’ community. I was moving where the Lord was leading and it was away from the comfort of like minded people and into the world. What really bothered me about this move was that because I was no longer considered ‘like minded’ I was dropped from their ‘circle of friends’ like a hot potato. Only a few stayed with me as I began my new journey and I am so grateful for their support and encouragement. Just because you are a part of a Christian community does not necessarily mean you are a Christian.

  3. Lana G

    We serve God with our lives daily no matter what we are doing or where we are doing it. My workplace is my ministry – my Africa. When I walk into Starbucks and get coffee, this is my ministry – my Columbia or whatever they are serving up that morning. Where else would the people I work with see Christianity being lived out and applied in “daily life”? Where else would the people who serve me a cup of coffee see that Jesus is real in someone’s life and they too can experience Jesus and don’t have to live in Africa or Columbia to meet him?

    God has placed each and every one of us exactly where he wants us. It is up to us to see that and wake up to our daily ministry, our daily service. You don’t have to “go somewhere” to have a ministry. You just have to wake up and be a minister right where you are.

    We have this fantasy of being sent or called to some exotic place to serve the Lord or to a “full time ministry”. Well, call home an exotic name and start serving Jesus where you are in your new exotic hometown. Trust me, it is a full time ministry and there are blessings!

  4. LynnLynn

    Jana,

    This is a great post. God purposely places some Christians into the work force for His purposes. He looks to those He blesses financially to use that money to serve His purposes.

    Thank you…. Well done!

  5. Joyce

    I believe that God does put people in my life for special reasons. Thank you for your words. I am in pray for what I am to do to find a job or be in a Ministry. I will listen for God’s words and will follow His will.

    Joyce

  6. AngieAngie

    Janna—I so agree with you and everyone else…we are to be that light in the darkness—and as we face trials—”hopefully” they will see Jesus in action in our lives….oh that my life would lead someone to WANT to follow Christ. I want to be the example He desires of me. Thank you so much for the awesome reminder of our task before us!

  7. Denise W

    Great job…………… I have always believed and taught that Jesus started his ministry by walking one step at a time and He finished His ministry one step at a time… He walked through His world and He touched those that the Father brought in His path… He did not go looking for a ministry…… His life was His ministry…….. How we need to learn that……. Whether it be on a job or at the store or in the parking lot……. It is our ministry to be open to the Holy Spirit and allow His ability reach out to those right around us right now…… and let tomorrow take care of itself…………. bravo!!!!!!!!!

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