Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final article of a series about “What’s at Stake When Looking for Work?” We know job searching is hard and it is important you are equipped well because there is a lot at stake. If you are looking for a job or need career clarity, check out the Career Navigator, career coaching program offered in individual or group settings.
For the last post in our series on “What’s at Stake in our Job Search?”, we close with one final big idea: The Glory of God is at stake in the path you follow in your work.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Glory to God”?
Personally, it triggers a bad memory. The churches in our area had banded together to welcome an evangelist. We loved the work we did with the development team. When the primary preacher arrived, he ruined the phrase “Glory to God” for me. To warm up the crowd, he told a series of jokes. They were bad jokes. (Not offensive in their content, just completely inept at drawing anything but pitied laughter from the audience). At the end of every poor attempt at humor, the preacher said “Glory to God.”
I thought to myself God’s glory and your humor don’t go together, friend.
The phrase also triggers some memories of pain. Over the years, I’ve listened to a number of clients share their heartfelt career aspirations:
“My goal at this phase of my life is to do something that glorifies God.”
“I want to do work that has a real divine purpose and brings him glory.”
“I just want God to be glorified in my career and I don’t know how to get there.”
Glorifying God in their work seems like a burden.
Finally, there is an often-quoted ancient saying about our topic. St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in the 2nd Century, is reported to have said, “the glory of God is man fully alive.” This phrase is used by everyone touting faith-life as a fulfilling adventure. It implies that our happiness brings God glory. Unfortunately, this idea is easily co-opted into a Gospel of self-fulfillment. (It also does not square with reality or what Irenaeus really said).
So how does God’s glory intersect with our work?
First, a definition: to bring God glory is to show off the essence of his character and being. It means headlining his qualities and attributes.
Second, the method: Jesus provides a clear answer. In his last prayer, right before his arrest, Jesus said “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) Finding, investing in, and eventually finishing the work we have to do is critical to display our maker’s wisdom, love, and power.
So doing work that glorifies God is as simple (and complicated) as finding and doing the work he has planned for each of us. At that intersection of our gifts and opportunity, we find the tasks by which we glorify God. Getting job choice right is critical because it’s in our work that we are called upon to shine the love, patience, creativity, determination, and compassion of God.