Discover God’s Will at Work
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2009 3 Mar
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Henry and Richard Blackaby's book, Marketplace: Experiencing His Will in Your Work, (B&H Publishing Group, 2009).
God cares about your work in the business world just as much as He does about what you do at church or any other part of your life. He has great plans for you on the job, and once you discover them, you can start the adventure of joining God on divine assignments.
Here are some questions you can ask to discover God’s will for you at work:
“What is God’s ultimate goal for my life as a businessperson?” What God wants to do most in your life is to make you more like Jesus. God’s primary concern is your spiritual growth, not your success in the corporate world. God will allow whatever is necessary into your life – both on the job, and off – to help you grow to become more like Jesus.
“How should I model Christ to the people I work with?” Those who do business with you should see evidence of God’s work in your life and be drawn to God themselves as a result. Make sure your business decisions reflect complete honesty and integrity. Forgive those who mistreat you. Treat people with kindness, patience, and generosity. Be humble in both good and bad times. Aim to let people see God working through your life.
“How can I stay strong when I’m the only Christian at my workplace?” The key is to work with other people outside your workplace to keep yourself accountable to living faithfully. Ask your friends and family to pray for you, and make sure that you have at least one accountability partner (your spouse, a friend, etc.) with whom you can regularly discuss your life at work and who can encourage and support you in your faith.
“How do I stay humble and still succeed in the fiercely competitive business world?” Recognize that whatever success you’ve been able to achieve is thanks to God giving you opportunities and empowering you. Derive your sense of self-worth from your relationship with God so you’re not in bondage to other people’s praise and affirmation. When you understand who you are, and who God is, you can become a person of great influence at work.
“How can I find time for spiritual growth and study when I’m this busy?” Be intentional about growing spiritually by freeing up space in your life for reading and studying the Bible and devotional material and planning to do so regularly. Find some other people who are serious about growing spiritually, and talk with them when you can to discuss what you’re learning.
“How do I maintain a devotional life when I’m constantly traveling?” Find creative ways to use your downtime to communicate with God through prayer, read your Bible, listen to Christian CDs, etc. Use the time you have on flights, in hotel rooms at night, and any other place your travels take you. If you’re in a different city over a weekend, visit a church from a different denomination while you’re there to experience a worship style that’s new to you.
“I haven’t been a very good Christian example at work. How do I start now?” Repent of your actions by agreeing with God about your sin and making the changes He wants you to make in your attitudes and behaviors. Ask God to help you reconcile with anyone at work whom you may have harmed in the past. Then, from now on, follow God’s guidance when making decisions at work and expect your relationships with others there to change as a result.
“How do I know if God is calling me out of the business world and into Christian ministry?” Examine what God has been doing in your life lately. Has He drawn your attention to specific ministry concerns while drawing your attention away from your current work? Or is God using you to reach people in the business world, right where you are now?
Ask people who know you well what they notice about your impact on God’s kingdom. Talk with your pastor and some trusted friends about any new calling you sense from God. If you’re feeling restless in your current job, pray about it, asking God to show you how He wants to continue to use your life to minister to others – either through your current job, a new assignment in the business world, or in professional ministry of some kind.
“How should I pray for my business?” Make sure you’re praying with the right motives. Instead of asking God to make you successful and rich, offer your business to God for him to accomplish His purposes in His own way. God won’t respond to self-serving prayers, but He will respond to prayers that reflect pure motives and an eternal perspective.
Also remember that God’s ways are much different from human ways. Don’t assume that what other business experts recommend is applicable to the situations you face. Instead, seek God’s advice through prayer and expect that God’s answer for your own business may be radically different from what others are currently facing. When you regularly pray for God to accomplish His purposes through your business, you’ll have the right perspective on your job as a powerful instrument in God’s hands.
“How do I guard myself from temptation?” Temptations abound in the corporate world – from success that can foster pride and greed, to competition that can test your ethics and breed jealousy. But God stands ready to deliver you anytime you encounter temptation.
Immediately seize the opportunities God gives you to escape from temptation whenever it presents itself – from Scripture the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind to guide your decisions, to friends who will give you support, encouragement, and help to remain accountable for your thoughts and actions.
“How do I deal with a non-Christian boss or colleague whose actions and values are unethical?” Don’t be intimidated, since God has not given you a spirit of fear. Take a stand for what’s right, trusting that God will help you every step of the way. Follow your convictions and refuse to compromise.
The result will be either that the person will admire your integrity and be inspired by you, or else cause you trouble that could cause you to lose your job. But it’s far better to lose your job than your integrity. Expect that, when you do what’s right, God will provide everything you need – including a new job, if it comes to that.
“How do I know when it is time to leave my present job?” If you sense a restless stirring in your heart, pay attention to it, since it may alert you to a new assignment God has for you. Don’t become so complacent or comfortable that you’re not receptive to a new challenge from God.
Realize that your value doesn’t come from your career or current job position, but from God. Jobs come and go, but your relationship with God is eternal and what matters most. So don’t worry about leaving any particular job if you’ve accomplished what God has called you to do there. Pray about it, seek counsel from wise Christians, and take action if it becomes clear that God is asking you to leave.
“How do I ‘wait on the Lord’ when ‘time is money’?” Even though, in the corporate world, waiting doesn’t make business sense and is viewed as an annoyance, waiting is actually a quite valuable activity. It’s not a passive time; it’s the dynamic process of seeking God’s agenda. Whenever you lack a clear sense of direction for what God wants you to do, that’s a time to wait on Him. Instead of succumbing to pressure to move ahead without first getting clear guidance from God, pray for the patience to wait and schedule unhurried time to spend regularly with God in prayer and reading the Bible for guidance. Foster a steady sense of spiritual attentiveness to God throughout each day, expecting Him to speak to you at the right time.
“How can I pray for the people at work?” Ask God to make you aware of the many needs the people you work with have in their lives – from someone facing a serious illness, to someone going through a divorce. Pray compassionately and regularly for the people God lays on your heart. As you intercede for them, understand that God may use you to answer your own prayers. Be willing to reach out as God lead you to give your time and resources to help people you work with who are in need.
“How can I spend enough time with God when my schedule is already full?” Time is your most valuable resource as a business leader, so when you choose to give it to God, it’s a very meaningful offering to bring Him. Proactively plan to spend time with God regularly in prayer and worship, since no extra time will just magically appear in your life. Make sure you have enough unhurried time with God to really hear Him speaking to you.
Since God will focus your mind on what’s most important, spending time with Him will actually save you time because you’ll be able to avoid wasting time on unimportant matters. Change your schedule to make more time to spend with God daily – from giving up television at night to getting up earlier in the morning. Recognize the great potential for good in your life when you make time to communicate regularly with God.
“How can I balance work and family?” Follow Jesus as your role model. He lived His life with passion, but not necessarily balance. Every day, He sought His Father’s agenda and trusted His Father to show Him what He should do that day. You can invite the Holy Spirit to guide your decisions each day. As you follow that guidance, you’ll accomplish whatever God intends for you to do without neglecting either your family or your work. Every day will look different, but you’ll be confident that you’re spending your time and energy in the best ways.
“How can I be a spiritual leader to my children when my business constantly takes me away from home?” Your leadership as a parent is based on your relationship with God, your character, and your influence in your home – whether or not you’re present or absent. When you’re on business trips, pray for your kids and communicate with them often through by phone, e-mail, text messaging, or Webcam.
When you’re with your kids in person, let them see you truly living out your faith – not just believing what the Bible says, but actually practicing it. Teach your kids what the Bible says yourself, rather than leaving spiritual instruction solely up to your kids’ teachers at church.
“How should I invest myself in my church?” While the money you contribute to your church is valuable, God wants you to give more than just money. He wants you to use the talents He has given you and the skills you’ve acquired through your work in the business world to strengthen your church. Meet with your pastor and other church leaders to ask how you could best use your talents and skills to serve your congregation.
Be creative and expect that, as you pray about it and discuss it, God may reveal ways to serve that you hadn’t considered before. Also consider how you can ask your company as a whole can help meet needs at your church – from conducting training events to giving a financial gift.
“How should I become involved in my community?” Ask God to show you why He led you to your particular community and what you specific ways you can bless people in your local area. Wherever you live, you can make your community a better place and glorify God in the process. Pray for clear guidance on how you can use the skills you’ve developed in the business world to help your community.
“How does my business fit into God’s kingdom?” Your work on the job affects much more than just your company; it has a significant positive impact on God’s kingdom if you consistently live out your faith at work. Ask God to expand your vision beyond just your immediate workplace to help you recognize how He is using you to benefit His kingdom as a whole. Then continue to stay in close touch with God each day and obey His leading to continue to accomplish something of great and lasting value in His kingdom.
Published April 5, 2009
Adapted from God in the Marketplace: Experiencing His Will in Your Work, copyright 2009 by Henry and Richard Blackaby. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tn., http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/.
Henry Blackaby is founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, an organization built to help people experience God. His book Experiencing God has sold four million copies to date and been translated into more than 45 languages. Blackaby and his wife Marilynn live in Rex, Georgia, and have five children and 14 grandchildren.
Richard Blackaby is president of Blackaby Ministries International and the oldest child of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. He holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dallas Baptist University. Richard and his wife Lisa have three children and live in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.