Propel article: Offering our Work as Worship

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It was a delight to be asked to write a piece for Christine Caine’s Propel Sophia Newsletter. The full article can be read here.

I walked into the newsroom with a huge sense of excitement and anticipation. Ever since I had learned to read by asking my mum to sound out letters in newspaper headlines, I wanted to be a journalist. Finally, I had arrived.

It was a regional television station and I was the most junior reporter. One of the things I was passionate about was expressing my faith in my workplace, but right from the start I realised that would be difficult.

Journalism is a stressful work culture. We had to file three stories a day, while our city counterparts worked on one. Stress alleviation in the office often included swearing, crude humour, and drinking. Though I didn’t initiate any of those, I could not escape them either.

Then there was the temptation to flattery. We flattered politicians and celebrities to get interviews. We flattered ourselves with the mini-stardom of being recognised on the streets because our faces were in people’s living room each night. I worried about getting caught up in smooth-talking and mirages, and how that might compromise my integrity.

So being Christian for me in journalism meant being good, humble, hard-working, and taking every opportunity to witness. But I soon suspected God was interested in more than how I worked.

I started to ask why God had placed me there. My church had few answers that satisfied, but I sensed it had something to do with revealing truth and upholding Gospel values. 

The thought that God might be interested in the work I was doing was a revolutionary thought in my Christian circles: could it really be that God is interested both in what I am doing and who I am when I am doing it?

I reflected on his purpose for humanity: to join in relationship with God in stewarding his creation (Genesis 1:26).  His first command, after all, was to “work the earth and keep the garden” (Genesis 2:15). We had been made to work, but how could we work in a context that seemed so far from the garden? 

The clue for me came in the Hebrew word for “work” (avad) and “keep” (shamar), which are the same words for worshipping God and keeping his commandments. Our work is a means of worshipping God.

I also began to realise that I didn’t have the burden of taking God to work, though I was the only Christian there. I became aware that God was already there, doing his thing, and asking me to join in. After all, Jesus was sovereign over everything; he was Lord even of the newsroom since “all things have been created in him and through him” (Colossians 1:17)

From that time on I’ve been learning how to connect our Sunday worship with our Monday work . . . how we can workship.