Is God relevant in a secular work environment? If yes, how much of my faith can influence my workplace? This is a question many believing Christians in the workplace struggle with. Most believers strive to live a life according to the faith in the word of God. From the perspective of workplace culture role of faith may have become more complicated. Christians have a commission to share the gospel of all ethnos according to Matthew 28:19. Does that mean we have to convert or convince people of another faith? We are not talking about imposing the faith of one person upon another. That is not easy and not recommended in a workplace culture.
Biblical insights for workplace Christians and executives and business owners
To understand this issue better we need to look to Jesus and His example. If we believe Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith He also has solutions for all our situations. Jesus was once at the house of a Pharisaical leader in Luke 14:1-6. As we know Jesus was not well-received among Pharisees. It is noticeable that Jesus was still willing to go to the house of a person who did not believe like He did. In another instance Jesus also did engage with the infamous Samaritan woman by the well. Jesus went out of His way to meet people.
Firstly, our openness to engage with people who do not look or believe like us is the first lesson Jesus conveys there. Jesus saw all humans as one who needs a savior. Perhaps the leader invited Jesus to his house from curiosity or to find some fault with him. The Bible says that in the Pharisee’s house, the guests were watching Him closely. Certainly, they recognized a different kind of Rabbi in Jesus. At the Pharisee’s house, Jesus did not cut a conversation for the sake of winning an argument or to prove they were wrong. He rather identified a need in a person in their midst. People across the aisle have real needs that matters. People are always in need of solutions to their needs and problems whether they disclose or not.
Secondly, Jesus through the Holy Spirit identified a need or a problem. Workplace is an active community where a kingdom believer is actively involved on a day-to-day basis. Are we able to identify the need or problem even in a rough situation like Jesus did? Jesus was definitely not in a faith-friendly atmosphere there. He presented a cure for a man with dropsy who also happened to be one of the guests.
Thirdly, we don’t have to go looking for a problem. If we have a caring heart and keen eyes the problems and needs keep popping in front of us. It is how we handle the problems that others suffer from makes us different from the rest of the crowd.
Fourthly, when we do a good deed, it can still be challenging to some. The Pharisees had a rigorous religious belief so they were unable to see the goodness of God here beyond their framework. The Jewish Law did not permit non-essential travel or regular work on a Sabbath day. The Pharisaical religion knew how to and how not to handle a certain issue according to the Law. Still today there are variants of Pharisees in religious communities. They can be so focused on the dogmas that makes forget of purpose of religion is to rescue humankind and not to oppress them altogether.
Fifthly, the Pharisaical framework lacked the supernatural ability to apply a divine solution to the problem like Jesus did here. They are so much focused on the nitty gritty stuff of religion while missing the big purpose. “How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cummin, but have neglected the more important matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the things you should have practiced, without neglecting the others (Matthew 23:23). The kingdom believers today are also called to handle problems whether in the workplace or community just like Jesus did. When a solution is manifested people care less about their boundaries of faith because all like to enjoy goodness whether it is a bodily healing or a solution to a problem in the workplace. If believing Christians follow the example of Jesus and prefer practical solutions to practical problems over the religious differences it triumphs over other petty issues. Church and state no longer becomes a hindrance in a secular workplace if believers engage more prayer and Holy Spirit in their work lives.
The age-old debate of the separation of church and state have held a bad taste among the unbelievers and believers alike. Many believers lack proper understanding of faith in workplace. The overly influence of religious orders in the government of people was a phenomenon in Europe in the past centuries. But the case of the newly formed USA was different as far as the separation of church and the state was concerned. The pilgrims came to America for religious freedom. They preferred a governance structure in early America with minimal reach of the state over religious affairs. The separation of church and state can be seen either as an overreach of church in state affairs or overreach of state over religious issues depending on where one comes from. For instance, many orthodox Jews believe that the Holocaust were initiated by heads of state who were Christian-born. People can have all different biased views based on their culture, traditions, backgrounds and even past experiences. The America of today is becoming more and more diversified.
In the recent decades we are faced with new issues in workplace that we are required to navigate through. Frequent pandemics, racial and gender discrimination issues, riots and looting issues, government shutdowns and inflation, increasing debt of nations, political and media bias towards conservatives to mention are just a few. Ideological wars funded and backed by powerful lobbyist groups and lawmakers can no longer be ignored at the workplace as it trickles down to policies and people that we work with. Individuals or organizational cultures are swayed through policies and funding by higher ups to back a certain viewpoint over the other. These days ideologies influence values and values influence ideologies in every level at workplace. There is an increasing overreach of politics and governmental control over business policies. An executive at workplace that is higher up has more influence in shaping workplace cultures than the one in the lower levels.
For a believer in the workplace such persuasion is not easily won or lost. These are some new challenges that are presented to workplace Christians. Managers and executives face a new challenge when the ideologies are introduced through agencies and organizations that directly or indirectly affect workplace. Mandates that are ideologically or politically driven have become challenging to company bottom-line and policies. Jesus once made an analogy about having enough resources to handle change. If we can’t fight or win a war due to lower resources than the enemy it is wise to not go to war in the first place. The same applies to today’s workplace cultural wars as well. Cultural wars are legitimate. They come and go. But the real problems and needs among the people always exist. Cultural wars can be a distraction when it comes to handling the real issues that people face. If we look closely, they originate from excuses and inability to address the actual issues whether from a governmental or corporate level. When people and decision-makers chose to move far away from the Biblical foundation of life they need to patch up problems with weaker and floundering policies. The opportunities are plentiful for believers in workplace to shine like Jesus in the midst of all type of ‘cancel cultures’, Because the flawed policies of secular government make the problems increasingly worse in our communities. The more our workplace and communities become complex it is a better prospect for God’s glory to manifest.
Let your light shine brighter
There are more occasions for the Lord to shine brighter in a ‘cancel culture’ or in complex cultural war. There are three steps to become an influencer as a kingdom executive no matter how intense the value wars are. The politics can become messier and so does religious climate in the coming days. Firstly, know yourself as a kingdom executive in your workplace. Secondly, be an influencer by providing meaningful and tangible solutions to practical problems faced in the workplace. Thirdly, shape the culture and community of people around you as a kingdom reformer.
Firstly, to know your identity in this broken world is a challenge all of us have to go through in life. Growing up in a Christian home does not necessarily guarantee us to know our true identity in Christ. Whether one grows up as an atheist or animist all seek to find their real identity growing up in this broken world. Jesus was not born into an era that was most conducive or acceptable. Even Jesus took time to operate in His full identity. There was a training and discipline that He went through the first thirty years of His life before He ever stepped into any public ministry. Why did Jesus take such long time? Because the Bible says He had to go through sufferings as a Son of Man growing up in this broken world. He became one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). His early disciples went all the way before their eyes were opened to know their new kingdom identity in its fulness of purpose.
Secondly, once we know our real identity we can provide meaningful and tangible solutions to practical problems faced in our workplaces. Jesus maintained His relationship with the Father despite the hostile environment in His public ministry. The connection to the Father enabled Him to provide concrete solutions empowered by the Holy Spirit to the situations around. Peter and John in Acts chapter 3 did not have even some change to offer a lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate. But they turned to the lame man and offered him more value than all the money contributions he ever received. Many recognized the man who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. That is real influence to practical problems that Holy Spirit helps you identity and solve on a daily basis. If the disciples’ eyes were open through the Holy Spirit it is still an open invitation for us as we are still in the era of the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, how can a kingdom influencer be a reformer to shape the culture and community of people around? Does reformation happen in the workplace only when we defend our rights as Christians? No. Kingdom executives are capable of providing more than competing alternatives. They are capable of providing superior solutions through the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s prayer, your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). To reform is more than protecting our rights. It is a transformative work by the coming of the kingdom of God upon us through the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. One individual touched by the power of God through the workplace carries the potential to be a reformer. The transformational freedom of a born-again believer can be overpowering to the extend he or she cannot afford to just carry the Holy Sprit within and not let Him flow. Whoever believes in me, just as the scriptures have said, the rivers of living water shall flow from within him (John 7:38). Unlike a lake one cannot contain a river. It has to flow. It needs an outlet. The Holy Spirit from within needs an outlet. The transformative work as a result is the role of a kingdom reformer. It is all about how much we can yield to the extraordinary power which Paul says, comes from God and not from us (2 Cor 4:7). This river is the river of reformation in our workplaces.
Workplace is constantly influenced by people, performance and policies
People are the most valuable possession in a workplace. They need to be treated with dignity here on earth and moreover for their eternal value. They are not just cogs along with the machines to make profit for enterpriser or executive. The human dynamics in a workplace is multifaceted. People are constantly interacting with peers, procurers or suppliers and customers or clients in a workplace. Even among the peers people have more influence over others based on their ranks, experience and responsibilities. But at the end of the day, all are people that have real needs. Knowingly or unknowingly, all are in a quest to find meaning and purpose in life. Every living soul on earth is on a race with time and with having a blind date experimenting with their destinies. Everyone’s time on earth expires whether they like it or not. Some live as if they don’t even know have an expiry date attached to them. A kingdom influencer in workplace knows this well and therefore cares for people beyond bottom-line. Although workplace is not the primary place to develop one’s spirituality, it is one of the places one spends a lot of time on a given day. The timer is racing towards a date of death or expiry. A workplace therefore provides lot of opportunities that can help one find his or her destiny. A kingdom influencer in the workplace is given the task to leave footprints in the lives of as many they come across for the kingdom’s sake. The kingdom of God is set to meet the needs of people, first and foremost.
Just like people, performance is another factor that measures the success of a work life. Performance and mission of the workplace binds a workplace community together. Every person working towards a common goal or purpose of the mission of the company. In the area of performance there are several needs and problems that arise on a daily basis that need to be resolved. A kingdom influencer can make an impact in the morale of workplace. We are called to impact the performance factor and thus shine the light of the Holy Spirit in our workplace.
Policies: Some work culture can be hostile to faith while others not as much. Many workplace functions depend on the laws, policies and the decisions made on a daily basis. Can a kingdom influencer affect the policy changes in a workplace? Human decision making is complex enough. Many decisions in the workplace are restricted by laws or strict protocols. From a biblical standpoint there is another system that is full-time at work. The Bible calls it the god of this world or cosmos. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe to keep them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). The god of this world is not a system that visible rather is at work influencing decisions of humans every day. This system uses humans in all levels and capacities to affect the decisions made in academia, families, workplaces, government, media and so on. Such decisions trickles down to workplace policies and decisions. A kingdom executive can also be an influence in bringing reform to the workplace. Nehemiah in the Bible was not only building the walls but he was also a reformer.
What is the benefit of being a kingdom influencer?
Kingdom executives are part of another invisible kingdom. It was introduced by Jesus two thousand years ago called the Kingdom of God. And He sent them out to announce and preach the kingdom of God and to bring healing (Luke 9:2). Kingdom of God is a covenantal based system that a person needs to be willingly plugged into. It is redemptive in nature. The administration and influence of kingdom of God is far above in jurisdiction than the god of this cosmos and his second heaven principalities. The kingdom of God came in the person of Jesus to addresses the fundamental issue of brokenness of human beings and the broken world. As a kingdom influencer, the Kingdom of God is brought into action to bring healing to the brokenness. An executive who knows his God shall do exploits the Bible says. People who know their God will be strong and take action (Daniel 11:32). Through the covenantal relationship with Jesus there is a great helper and associate to guide you in all truth. His name is Holy Spirit. He is a tremendous help for a believer to perform on a daily basis. He provides the fruit of the Spirit and helps a born-again person to par in excellence.
The way the invisible Kingdom of God operates is manifesting on a daily basis at home, workplace and community in the power of God under the direction of the Spirit. In the business world the kingdom of God is manifested when a kingdom executive becomes a conduit for the Holy Spirit to move in your workplace and community.
The reward of being a kingdom influencer is twofold. It results in two returns. One is the rewards of good work here on earth impacting the lives of people in a positive way. It is done through ushering the creativity that the Holy Spirit brings into your situation. It is much effective than our own performance, character and policies. The other result of being a kingdom influencer is the eternal value. We have responsibilities in our lives on earth. From an eternal perspective, our short life on earth is a probation period for the coming age. In the kingdom scope of things, we are being qualified to rule and reign with Christ in the millennium reign while on earth now. The kingdom life qualifies our faithfulness to grant us sit beside Him on His throne just like Jesus overcame in His earthly life. Therefore, sat down beside My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21). Our life on earth is about fulfilling our assignments during our time down here. There are projects God has for us to finish, books he has us write and so on. From an eternity standpoint, our kingdom life on earth is a place of internship where we graduate to rule and reign with Christ. The term Bible coins for such a believer is overcomer.
War of kingdoms
In a competitive and complex business world of today it is not just about performance. We are in a war of kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness on one hand warring to influence the hearts and minds of people to make them captive versus the kingdom of God one needs to willfully yield to bring in fruits and influence in righteousness. Either we intentionally choose to shape culture by kingdom influence in our community or the community and culture is guaranteed to shape our lives with their ideologies. If we do not allow to be reformed ourselves by the word of God the culture around us is guaranteed to reshape us into its form and culture. In the story of the talents Jesus admonished us to occupy our workplaces till He comes. Thus, the power of the gospel is manifested. The gospel not only has the power to reform us but to also be a kingdom reformer to those around us. Jesus warned us that the salt is good but if it is not salty it is no use. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:13-14). A kingdom influencer is called to be the light in the cosmos or known world. But one can also choose to be under the bushel or in other words hide your life where the light is non-beneficial. Be useful by shining light all around. Salt best serves its purpose in the kitchen table, dining rooms and boardrooms where there is interaction and communication. Light is always positioned in a visible place. This way the whole room receives maximum exposure. If we are mostly in the basement the lesser our impact.
What is our business?
The term business used in this context is not necessarily confined to business as in profit-making activities. It is broadly used to cover every assignment one may have in a particular season in his or her life. For some it could be making tents like Apostle Paul did. For some others it could be sitting in a jail like Peter did. Paul wrote most of his epistles from prison. For Joseph, the assignment was once sitting in the dungeon and later feeding the famished of Egypt and Goshen. Ezra’s was to lead a six-hour prayer meeting on the banks of Ahava River. For Noah it was building an ark when everyone around discouraged and even mocked him. Whatever your affair would be in this season it needs to stand out in two things. One, it is done with the anointing from the Lord. Two, it is executed through His strategies and plan. Every moment ahead is significant as the anointing needed is available for all assignments God has for you. The execution steps also come from the Lord as we patiently yield to the Spirit to learn His ways of doing things. God’s strategies are better than human strategies. God’s anointing helps us execute His will.
Depending on the Lord at all times is a safe way to ensure that our business and life affairs are done in the anointing and His ways. The remnant that came out of Babylon captivity after seventy years was a small group of people with little resources. Nevertheless, they accomplished a fantastic job through the leadership of Nehemiah a workplace executive. Nehemiah knew that the breakthrough that they experienced was because of the good hand of God that was upon him. The assignments God had for Nehemiah was not easy (Nehemiah 2:8). Neither are the assignments God has for the kingdom executives going to be an easy either. The road ahead may mostly seem gloomy and difficult. Do not judge your assignments with your own abilities. Nehemiah knew absolutely that without God there was no other way he could get things done. It is one thing to mentally know that you can do nothing without him. It is another thing to live depending on Him every day. How can every decision made be based on dependence on the Lord? One way Nehemiah lived this principle was by seeking the Lord daily. Prayer was not an obligation or ritual for him. It was his life line. Prayer is the evidence of a kingdom influencer’s dependance on God.
Definition of work in the Bible
The first person to work in the Bible is God Himself. The term work or business can be found in the first book of the Bible. Work was a term initiated by God. It was not an invention of man. God introduced work in the very beginning of the creation account in the book of Genesis. Therefore, it is important to understand the original meaning of work before it became twisted after the fall. Since the fall of Adam and Eve and the consequences of a broken world the term work became compromised and intricate. God was the first one to work. The creation work in Genesis was done in harmony. God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit was all involved in the work. Genesis 2:2 has the first reference to work in the Bible. God had completed the work he had been doing. On the seventh day he stopped working on everything that he had created and formed. He fulfilled His work and rested on that day.
The word used for work in Genesis 2:2 is “melakah” which properly means deputyship. Deputyship is when someone is authorized to exercise the powers and appointed to represent and act on behalf of a king or higher authority. It has the same root as in “malak” in Hebrew which means a messenger, angel, priest, prophet, ambassador or king. When we are engaged on earth as a kingdom influencer we are in essence on assignment as an ambassador of the King. “Melakah” is assigned given to us by the King, the highest authority. The king we have access to has also given us His kingdom and His resources. The redeemed ones until this day continue the work as God initiated in the beginning which is “melakah.”
Since the fall humans messed up the definition of work as they toiled and labored from a place of curse on the earth in the unregenerate nature. As a redeemed believer “melakah” is a process one learns to abide in God and unlearn from the ways of working in the curse. We are not saved by good works but are all called to good works on earth. In everything show yourself an example in all good works (Titus 2:7). Good works in Hebrew is “tobe melakah” which means assignments that are well-pleasing to the Lord. Not all assignments that come to our imagination is necessarily well pleasing unto the Lord. In a broken world that is under the curse of hard labor Lord’s well pleasing will is something we discover by abiding in Christ. Do not conform to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2). “Melakah” is accomplished from a place of rest as God rested from His work on the seventh day. The kingdom influencers carry on the same deputation in the same spirit of rest as God worked.
Even after being born-again, the enemy loves us to have a bondservant of Egypt mindset. The Israelites maybe came out of Egypt physically but they still carried Egypt mindset in the wilderness. Enemy hates us serving no master but him. As a kingdom influencer we are a bondservant of Christ and deputy of the kingdom of God. Godly workmanship is done being filled with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge (Exodus 31:3). Knowledge comes from knowing the Lord and having a relationship with Him. This is different from the toil and labor in a slavery mentality.
We are His deputies and ambassadors on earth. But the world wants us to be his bond servants to the worldly system and to the god of cosmos. The kingdoms of this world are claimed to be in Satan’s control and therefore he does not want any representation of God’s kingdom on earth. While Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, Satan offered Him the usurped power. Satan asked Jesus to act in obeisance to have it all. Instead of becoming Satan’s deputy on earth, Jesus decided to go through the gruesome death on the cross and fulfill His Father’s “melakah”. Just like Jesus, the remnant of born-again believers is also tempted to pay obeisance to the Enemy every day. But to say no to our own plans and yield to the Spirit is the deputyship we have received.
Work has a greater meaning for the born-again ones. “Melakah” is enjoyable and not hard labor. The execution part of the labor is done by the Lord of hosts and His angel armies. When mammon and his minions become our boss, the work and its incentives take charge of our lives. As a result, work gradually becomes servile work to the point that we no longer enjoy. Work rather becomes a burden. This servility attitude can affect our work whether in workplace or church house. We can be doing some ministry without any relationship with the Lord. Remember, the first work was done by Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in harmony.
God’s ambassadors on the earth have a different mindset. It is having an outlook of being His representatives in every work assignment. There is a remnant that have unlearned to toil and be involved as deputies as kingdom influencers and ambassadors on earth. A kingdom work is walking in new nature that is already made ready before the foundation of the world. It is ordained beforehand so that we may walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). The assignment that is given to each of us is already completed in Christ. God completed the work in Genesis 2 and rested. The redeemed ones today are called to enter into God’s rest and fulfill all our “melakah” while here on earth. However, we can either choose to work in rest or toil in our old Egypt nature of bondage and slavery.
The other word for work used in Hebrew is “abodah”. It means more like in tillage, bondage or toil (Exodus 5:11). The prevalent definition of work today is “abodah”– different forms of slavery systems that humans have invented since then. Both capitalism and socialism have their own versions of work to enslave us. The Bible states that in Christ, we are God’s bond servants and not part of slavery systems here on earth. The word work we are more acquainted with is closer to “abodah” – toil or labor. A classic example of toiling labor was the children of Israel in Egypt. You may think, well it was then, thank God we now live in an era of liberty and democracy in most nations. The answer is yes and no. Egyptian bondage labor is just the primitive version of our modern rat race of survivorship. The only difference is in the olden days the enslavement had more to do with physical labor. Today we are enslaved not just to physical labor as in some parts of the world, but subjugated to financial slavery and mental oppression. People toil in much emotional strain and pain. As a result, many are addicted to mentally based illnesses and medications. In Egyptian bondage the children of Israel’s slave labor were enforced by flogging and scourging. Today the flogging can be in many other ways. The debt-based financial system allows us to have anything under the sun instantly using credit. For example, a mortgage can get us up and running and then forces us to toil to pay for it later, for some for the rest of their lives. Car loans, student loans and so on. So goes the list. On one hand, credit is a blessing but on the other hand, a curse in disguise.
Growing into maturity
Good education leads to good job. Good job leads to good pay. In essence one way or the other we follow these rules to have success in the cosmos realm. When one becomes born-again there is an instant new nature available to him. A baby that is newly born has a whole new realm opened as he or she enters the world. It is different from the confined life experienced in the womb. Similarly, when a person is born-again, he or she comes out of the confined and toilsome life to a possibility to freely move and explore a new life. This new life is something one learns over time to get acquainted with. So is a born-again person who becomes a new creation. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Old nature and confined ways are thing of the past. But there is still a learning curve in adopting the new nature just like as a child grows and learns to adapt over time. The new nature is about pursuing the regenerate nature that one is born-again into. For a born-again person the ways of the new nature are contrary to the human systems and its system of operation. A regenerate or a born-again person has to unlearn the toilsome ways and to enter into rest with the Lord (Hebrews 4:9-11). The rest that Bible talks about here is not rest as in hibernation. It is an active rest–a restful way of working and living. Just like God rested on the seventh day. Walking in rest is to tread all around in the new nature daily and not in toiling as in the rat race. Hebrews 4:3 says, “For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest! (TPT).
From the moment one is born into the world, the broken world also affects the will, intellect and feelings in a negative way growing from childhood to youth. During the times of Noah, God sent the flood because of the depravity of imagination of human heart. Sin has a consequence whether it is common or occasional. God decided that neither will He again smite the earth with flood even when humans deserved judgment for His evil ways. God determined in His heart not to curse the ground anymore as He was pleased with Noah’s sacrifice. God is delighted in the sacrifice of surrendering our lives to Him. Instead of walking in curse and toil He wants us to walk in rest and in the new nature through Christ. When a kingdom executive works as His deputy he or she surrenders the will to Him daily. The earth is put to work on behalf of us continuously. The earth converts the seed to harvest, brings cold and heat, summer and winter and day and night (Genesis 8:21-22). When our assignments are in alignment with the Lord we also steward the earthly resources so that all work in harmony with the creator. When our lives are harmonized with the will of the Father the “melakah” brings in the good fruit of our labor. For the creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God’s children, because the creation has become subject to futility, though not by anything it did (Romans 8:19-20).
Do not fear or be discouraged or beaten down as the Lord God is equally with you. He will not fail or faint, or is slacking. He will not forsake or refuse you until you have completed every work or assignment (melakah) you are called to do. He will cause you to complete every work He has called you to do (1 Chronicles 28:20). Jesus’s works was the one Father gave Him to complete (John 5:36). I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do (John 17:4). We just need to learn to be in the rest and work from that place of rest. The work can be hard but not to be toilsome when we work with Him. My yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
“Melakah” done on earth will follow one to eternity. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the LORD from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works will follow them (Revelation 14:13). There is rest from all the hard work when we pass the life on earth. But for the dead in Christ the good works will follow them because those works were eternally inspired in the first place. It brings lasting fruit on earth even after one dies. Such fruits are carried to eternity.
Prayer prepares us for our assignments
Nehemiah was a bar attender in a stately home. But during his off-hours Nehemiah was busy interceding for his own people and the house of God that was in ruins. He was eagerly seeking the Lord’s pleasing will despite his busy schedule. Nobody, even his family hardly noticed him that he was talking to the Father in secret. One day, his boss, the king of Persia noticed him. The king summoned him as couldn’t ignore the heaviness that was evident on his face. Nehemiah maybe had mixed feelings and thought he was going to be fired. His assignment with the kings was to taste the quality of the wine before the king drank. Nehemiah was responsible that it was not poisoned or contained hazardous elements. When Nehemiah was interrogated by the king, he found out the real reason that Nehemiah was upset about. To Nehemiah’s surprise, the king answered him favorably as Nehemiah had already presented his concern with the big Boss above. Nehemiah was being positioned by prayer for his new assignment. He was ready to embark on his new deputation.
As executives it is not uncommon in our jobs to get transferred, promoted or fired. If you are a prayerful believer like Nehemiah God’s hand will help you all the way through your transitions. Sometimes praying through your daily responsibilities whether in school, or career, or family we never know what unexpected favor can land on our laps. In Nehemiah’s case, he had a pretty respectable career. In the background God was preparing his heart for the new assignment. In any transition God has for you He will lead you step by step though it seems eccentric. In many occasions we never know how the Lord answers our prayer and shapes our passion for Him. When God answers our prayers in ways we unexpected, we do not know how to respond either. Assignments of kingdom influencers in this season can only be done by prayer and dependence on the Lord.
Prayer launches us into our assignments
When we embark on a road trip to a new place and follow a route that we haven’t travelled we tend to be more cautious. During times of transition, prayer is like a higher gear that will catapult us to our next assignment and destiny God has for us. Prayer is not merely a petition; it causes the power of the Holy Spirit to launch us forward. It shifts the environment around us in His favor. Prayer helps us in the midst of uncertainties and provides us further directions where we intentionally need to step in with God.
Nehemiah saw answered prayer beyond means to an end. He was willing to go further with the action God had for him. There was no turning back at this point. His assignments and responsibilities increased. Nehemiah received permission from his boss to inspect the broken walls of Jerusalem. He no longer could remain settled in his regular job or did he choose to take hiatus from prayer or go on vacation.
He was not hesitant to take his next steps. Prayer was the generator that kept him moving forward. There are times we are uncertain of the road ahead of us. Nehemiah couldn’t fully comprehend the booby traps and land mines that was ahead of him. But took each step forward trusting in the Lord. Prayer kept him advancing, knowing that the good hand of His Lord was upon him in all turns. He followed the presence of the Almighty. In our assignments there is no going back or stopping until we reach our destination. Yes, the destination maybe far away and the road winding, but it is only reached as we keep moving.
The kingdom influencers in the workplace in this season can model Nehemiah’s prayer and action of faith. The assignments God has for each of us is revealed during prayer in the closet. The same prayer empowers us to take action of faith. Nehemiah’s assignment was to rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem. It required a new set of skills for Nehemiah compared to the old season he was in. He had to transition from a cup-bearer to general contractor. Nehemiah was not skilled in construction work. But he knew enough to start his new role. His previous job was to test the beverages before it was offered at the king’s table. The very first thing he did was inspect the walls of Jerusalem just like he tested the beverages before presenting it to the king. David was not an experienced warrior like his brothers. He was just a shepherd. But he handled a lion and a bear that came to attack his flock while he was tending sheep. Instead of limiting his faith to his circumstances he dared to apply the power of God in His life to bigger situations and thus slayed the giant Goliath. Kingdom executives are not qualified to be called. God qualifies the called instead of calling the qualified. Nehemiah was given the leave of absence from the king. God qualified him for the new assignment. You are given the role to rebuild the broken walls around you. A kingdom executive does not need to go far to find brokenness. Brokenness can be seen everywhere. It is a commonplace from the marketplace to the workplace. You can shine your light in the middle of where God has placed you. Like Nehemiah first pray into the need and then assess the impact and damage of the broken spiritual walls around you.
Nehemiah’s task also required a team to complete the task. Nehemiah would have been helpless if he tried to complete the mission by himself. God provided the manpower he needed from a small remnant that decided to come back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s crew was not qualified either. They had issues from the years of captivity in Babylon. They lacked united leadership. Moreover, they intermixed with the ways of the captors. Nehemiah had to bring in reforms to a fragmented remnant. Some of them had intermarriage issues. Others had mortgage issues. Nehemiah had to resolve these issues before uniting them in a kingdom mindset. To see a revival in the workplace we need marketplace reformers like Nehemiah. All God needs are real cup-bearers to be His reformers in this season. The cup that you bear carries the Holy Spirit which is the drink offering. Nehemiah knew the importance of a sanctified and clean vessel before carrying the drink to the king. So are our hearts. Our hearts are the cup that we bear every day and present it pure before the Lord. The vessel or the cup is the pure heart and good conscience. God’s love can only come from a pure heart which is a container where our Spirit Man dwells (1Timothy 1:5). Reformation starts with our own hearts. Some have chosen to hold the faith in a bad container. Jesus said you cannot have new wine in old wineskin. Our old heart cannot embrace the faith God wants to pour into us. When one leaves the container of good conscience, faith becomes worthless. Good conscience is walking in honesty before God and men. Some who have rejected to hold faith in a good conscience have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith (1 Timothy 1:19).
Prayer keeps us going in our assignments
As the “melakah” or assignment progressed, Nehemiah also gained many new adversaries. They expressed contempt and assault in every way possible. Our kingdom assignments do not lack adversaries either.
Make use of every opportunity in the season of building as the days are still evil. We may feel like we are confused, confounded and even frustrated at times. Do not miss what the Lord has in store. We may have to go through some career change as in Nehemiah’s case. Rally confidence and courage to build the wall when God sends you for the next assignment. Don’t stay long in the “let me wait and see” prayer. Rather jump on the bandwagon to experience the next level of thrill with the Lord of hosts going before us and whatever He is asking you to do. Do not be stunned with the shifting of gears needed in this season in your life. Grab on to God’s assignments while the opportunity lasts.
Melakah has no retirement. Moreover, when we become a Christian, we enroll into a life-long academy of faith. Just like we need cash to live from day one on earth, our lives need faith to fulfil His purposes on earth. Also, we only graduate from our assignments when we are able to say at the end like Paul, ‘I fought a good fight and kept my faith.’ The very first words of Jesus public ministry were “The kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). Repentance and faith in the gospel are the starting point. But the moment we choose to be part of the kingdom we are also enrolled into a war. The fight against our assignments is as real as our calling. The fight is first and foremost against you and God’s purposes for you. It is not easy to walk by faith. It is a daily dependence on God. Abraham, the father of faith took forty years to learn faith as the Lord trained him through the failures and challenges, he faced. We learn faith through daily life. Just as one matures in knowledge about money and its uses to make complex decisions faith is a process that takes time to grow into maturity. Learning to walk by faith in a nutshell is three things: One, walking in dependence on Him daily. Two, learning to walk not depending on our own self. Third, walking on a level not depending on other humans.
Workplace believers are called to be reformers like Nehemiah. Be encouraged and be engaged in the rebuilding of the wall and the hands-on assignments the Lord maybe asking you to prayerfully embark in this season. The Lord is waiting to back you up with His power, means and direction.