Excerpt from Workship: how our faith impacts our working

Here is another excerpt from my book: "Workship", which will be launch in March.

One of the saddest stories I have heard about faith and work was from a businessman who was a fund manager running his own company. He was a Christian who had achieved a great success in a difficult industry, running a company that was mostly made up of non-Christians. He told me that his faith was an integral part of his success at work: he prayed regularly about major decisions, he saw his success as a sign of God’s blessing, and he used his wealth to bless much individual ministry as well as Christian organisations.

I asked him about how he managed to sustain his faith in some of the tough ethical dilemmas he must face in his business, and particularly when many work colleagues weren’t Christian. With pride he said the following: “My colleagues will tell you that I am no Christian pushover. I have a saying that when I walk into the boardroom I check my faith at the door.”

To “check your faith at the door” means that you walk into that room where the biggest decisions are made as less of the person you could be or should be; it means that you have left behind the most important thing you possess: your connection to the Sovereign God of the universe and the empowering of His Spirit. It means that you still think it is possible to live dualistically: separating your faith from your everyday life. It means that your whole company is missing out on the wisdom that faith brings. It means that your work colleagues are missing out on a critical witness of the power of faith to transform every part of our lives, including how we make work decisions.

So we have a choice.

Do we pretend that our work doesn’t matter to God? Do we check our faith at the door? Do we feel guilty working in our secular jobs rather than going to Bible college and doing ‘Gospel work’?

Or, do we seek to worship God through our work? Do we seek to serve God and others in the way we work, the choices we make, what we say and do at work, how we treat other people?

In effect, the choice is actually between worshipping work or worshipping God through our work. Ironically, when we cut God off from our work, or eating, or relationships… we end up not making those things subject to his control, and we allow those things to replace God at the centre of our decision-making, as the source of our identity and pride and sense of security. We worship the created thing rather than the creator.