One of the hardest and most satisfying jobs I ever had was working as a captain/waiter at Casa Gristanti Restaurant in Louisville, Ky. This was a job to pay for tuition and living expenses for my wife and me while working our way through seminary. I had worked in several restaurants during my high school and college years, but this was different. It was one of the finest Italian restaurants in the city with a demanding general manager and Maître d (I had to look up the term Maître d in the dictionary!). While my purpose in Louisville was to prepare for ministry, I found great joy in serving people in this amazing restaurant.
While working, I continued to worship God personally and at church with other believers through prayer, Bible reading, giving, hearing the preaching of God’s word and other aspects of worship. I also found that musical worship at church helped me focus deeply on eternal truths of God’s love and grace shown through His Son, Jesus Christ. Though my motivation to work as a waiter was money, my work became so meaningful to me that I felt I was worshipping God through serving others; I experienced God’s pleasure and that He was honored when I waited tables. Viewing my work as worship helped me deal with difficult people, a demanding boss and long hours.
So, how can our work be worship? How can our work have meaning? The Apostle Paul, a first century Christian-hater turned Christ-follower, wrote “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23) Jesus is our boss’s boss. He’s the one who owns it all and is the ultimate one we look to for approval, encouragement, and the ultimate reward (glorifying God and eternal life). Work can be worship and meaningful because it is a way to show the love of Christ and to bless others through serving them.
God has rescued me from my sin. He has given me a new start: an eternal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. I was in school to prepare to help others to know these truths. How better could I demonstrate this than by being a servant myself?
As Christ-followers, God wants us to have a meaningful, significant and God-honoring life. How can we see our work (no matter how important or unimportant it seems) as meaningful and as a way to honor God? I believe it begins with an attitude that shows that we have been with Jesus in personal times of prayer and worship. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15) We can also, “Let our conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6). As Christ-followers whose hearts are changed and filled with Christ’s attitude and character, it will naturally follow that our attitude and words will reflect these. We need to experience His grace, love and mercy toward us so we can show it to others.
I pray that God will give you great joy, significance, and meaning in your work today!
Craig Webb is pastor at The Glade Church in Mt. Juliet. Craig works with the Glade Church staff team to lead our church to accomplish its stated vision and purpose. Craig is also one of our teaching pastors. He grew up in Honolulu and moved to Middle Tennessee when he was 11. Craig attended McGavock High School, Samford University (BA), Southern Seminary (MDiv), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin). He has served as Senior Pastor of churches in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii and Clarksville, Tennessee and was Internet Producer for Pastors at LifeWay Christian Resources from 2003-2008 (Editor of LifeWay’s Pastor’s Today e-newsletter). Craig is married to Barbara and has two sons in college, Aaron and Carl, and a daughter, Gracie. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher writing a column each month.