I am a scientist, researcher, politician, and educator. In all these fields, I’m not allowed to talk about my faith in Christ. And sometime it makes me upset. So how can I honor God through my works?
This is such a great question. Scripture summons us to speak about the good news of what God has done in Christ. So where does that leave you and many others who spend much of their waking hours in jobs that dont allow for that?
In their helpful new book,The Symphony of Mission, Jim Mullins and Mike Goheen explain that Gods mission is like a great symphony with many instruments playing their notes in one accord. They propose three vital ways we join Jesus in his renewing work: through our spoken words (as your question suggests), our stewardship, and our service.
1. Spoken Words
Peters epistles are full of wisdom for Christians in environments hostile to the gospel. After encouraging his readers to stand firm amid suffering, he adds: Always be prepared to give an answerto everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hopethat you have (1 Pet. 3:15).
Even when we arent allowed to speak publicly about Jesus, we can have an answer ready for anyone who asks why our work and life look different. Always be prepared implies readiness across different situations to share about our hope. This isnt a passive process but takes intentional creativity.
Spend time framing the gospel in language specific to your fields. When fellow politicians raise an eyebrow over why you hold two seemingly contrary commitments, describe a vision for restorative justice motivated by Jesus, who rules with righteousness and mercy. Or when your research assistant notices how excited you get over the smallest discoveries, describe your awe and wonder at the intricate order of Gods world.
Service isnt always doing more; it’s embodying the posture of Jesus.
As you pray for your coworkers and meditate on how the gospel permeates these different spheres, you may notice subtle opportunities to draw a connection between your work and your faith in Christ. For some of your colleagues, it may seem impossible to be both a Christian and also a scientist or educator. Seizing such moments could be powerful in changing that narrative. And through the Holy Spirit you can do this without fear, revering Christ as Lord (1 Pet. 3:15).
While spoken words are an essential way that we participate in Gods mission, they can sometimes eclipse the other two.
Scripture’s opening scene drips with Gods creativity, wisdom, order, prudence, and love for beauty and goodness. Genesis 12 doesnt list these attributes; it reveals them through the glory displayed in Gods works of creation. In the same way, we reflect his glory in how we rule and subdue in the specific domains he’s called us to (Gen. 1:2628).
You deeply honor God as you search out his designs for education, politics, and science. He rejoices as your work pulls back the curtain that sin has drawn, revealing a bit of his radiance. As you educate with humility and patience, you reveal something about the God who doesnt teach abstract principles from afar but came close in Christ to teach explicitly and through example. As you attend to the needs of the marginalized in your political work, you reflect the God who sees those who have been cast out and forgotten (Gen. 16:13). And your research embodies a response to the God who designed his creation to proclaim the work of his hands, pour forth speech, and reveal knowledge (Ps. 19:12).
3. Sacrificial Service
Jesuss life was marked by humble service, climaxing in the ultimate act of self-giving love on the cross. Our world is desperate for this kind of love, but its hard to give. For sin turns us inward. We need the Spirit, then, to bring the love of Christ to life in and through us, dramatizing the gospel.
For you, service may be caring for the needs of a sick colleague, praising someone from a different political party for creative policy, or purposely taking on a hard task to free up a new employee. It could also look like honoring Sabbath rest at the expense of getting ahead or even just keeping up. Service isnt always doing more; it’s embodying the posture of Jesus, who didnt cling to privilege but came in the form of a servant, considering our lives more significant than his own (Phil. 2:111).
Devote time to reimagining how your work already displays the glory of the Father. Ask Jesus to continue growing your love for those you serve and work alongside. And invite the Spirit to give you opportunities to share the good news of Christ’s kingdom.
TGCs Thorns & Thistles column seeks to apply wisdom with practical advice about faith, work, and economics. If you have a question on how to think about and practice your work in a way that honors God, let us know at [email protected].