“Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:28 NLT
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 NLT
Brothers and Sisters, I love the season of Fall.
I love the fall season for a million reasons and maybe more. One of the things I’ve noticed at the heart of my love for fall is the place that work has taken. Work in the original act of God’s creation was part of our fulfillment of God’s joy and command. After the sin of Adam and Eve, work became hard, sometimes regrettable, missing its mark and purpose. In the redeeming work of Christ, work is brought back into the light of fulfilling God’s commands and creating much joy, as all of creation experiences God’s grace.
This past spring, I read two books that spoke about work in the way of fulfilling vocation. The first was, The Search for God and Guinness, by Stephen Mansfield. The second was, Meaningful Work: A quest to do great business, find your calling, and feed your soul, by Shawn Askinosie.
Stephen Mansfield tells the story of Arthur Guinness and the Guinness family, and how their attention to God shaped their work and the values of the Guinness company. In summarizing the Guinness Way, Mansfield quotes Harry Grattan Guinness, a descendent of Arthur, “Gentlemen, find out the will of God for your day and generation, and then, as quickly as possible, get into line.” This first order of life – attending to God – has shaped the culture of the company and community for generations, bearing much goodness and joy.
Shawn Askinosie’s story is filled with his personal quest and discoveries about his vocation, work that is offered to God and is a joy to people. His work has some helpful exercises for those in business and beyond, especially around understanding, discovering, and expressing vision. However, central to the story is Askinosie’s attending to God. In the last chapter he writes, “I rest in God’s presence and later the fruit of that rest will manifest itself in the details of my relationships and business” (171). It is in his attending to God that work and life take on the attributes of goodness, joyful, flourishing – words that express God’s grace being manifest in the ordinariness of life.
As you go about your work today, I pray that at the heart of your endeavors, they will flow from your own abiding in God. May the tasks you take on, and the deals you close, be a part of fulfilling God’s command to care for all of creation. At the end of the day may you rest, because you have found yourself working alongside of Christ, and His joy and His rest, is yours.
We look forward to being together this Sunday when we continue in our Faith Questions sermon series with, “Is Jesus The Only Way?”
With much love,