A Prayer for Our Work

A Prayer for Our WorkI’ve been working in one form or another since I was 13 years old, first as a babysitter, than as a McDonald’s employee. I was one of the rare people who worked fast food for more than a week. I worked there 3 years. In my adult life, I have been an autism therapist, a children’s pastor,  a stay at home mom, and now, a leader in a different church community. Work has been a big part of my life, just as I’m sure it has been for yours. Work is part of our shared experience as humans, however varied the form that work takes in our lives.

But what is God's purpose for work? If it's where we spend so much of our time, what does it look like to live out our faith in that setting?

Work was part of God’s plan from the beginning. It is not a result of a broken world. It is not a mistake. It is intrinsically good. It is part of the design of humanity to partner with God in creation.

God could have filled the earth himself, but he invited humanity to be co-creators with him; to build upon his foundation, and create cultures, societies, cities, art, and more.

Sadly, though, after the perfection and harmony of the beginning, Adam and Eve became convinced that God was holding out on them. They grasped for something they were meant to find in God alone. They ate the one fruit they were told not to have, sin entered the world, and the effects snowballed immediately.

Before long, God pronounced His judgment about what would happen to them and to the world as a result of their choice. One of the big consequences was the nature of work.

Today we know how often work is difficult. That’s why complaining about it is one of the most common topics of conversation between friends.

The thing is, the Bible talks about the frustration of work, too. I love that the Bible doesn’t pretend things are easier than they are.

As part of our church sermon series on work, I did a message about the toil of work, and how Christ meets us there to redeem it. The above words were part of that message, along with a few more. I  thought I would share a link to listen to that message if you are interested.

Click here and listen to the message called "The Reward of Work."

And, as part of that message, I also wrote a prayer that I wanted to share with you. A prayer for how Christ might use our work to bring His redemption and grace. You can click on the picture above to print out a 5 by 7  graphic, or just read from the text below:

Christ, work through me today To bring healing into hurt To find potential in others To shine light into darkness To create beauty in ugliness To bring order into chaos. Christ, work in me today To feel humility regardless of success To be disciplined regardless of accountability To find joy regardless of reward To love regardless of how I am loved To seek You regardless of what else pulls my attention. Christ, work on my behalf today, As I rest in my identity as Your beloved.

Whatever kind of work you find yourself in today, whether in or out of the home, that is my prayer for you.

living in the in between

There is a juxtaposition within me.  

I am a beloved child of God and a broken daughter of this earth.

 

I am a new creation with old habits.

 

I am a sinner and a saint.

 

I am living in the in between.

 

The in between of when Christ came to redeem us and when He will come again to renew all things.

 

Until then, we wait, we hope, and we live in the tension.

 

We live in the tension of being comfortable with our brokenness and being compelled towards greater holiness.

brokenness and holiness

Both are reality. We are loved, and we are pushed. We are called to give Christ our burdens, and we are called to take up our crosses.

 

This is life in the in between. The already and not yet of God’s kingdom.

 

Christ sits with us in our sorrows, shares in our humanity, and pours on us His redemption.

 

He asks us to do the same for one another: to neither discount the pain, nor give up the hope.

 

It is in the tension of both that life is lived. It is in the fullness of the in between, we find our peace in Christ.

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An practice of freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today’s prompt was: IN BETWEEN. (Full disclosure: I write the post in 5 minutes, but I take a little extra time to create a graphic to go with it. I think that's still okay according to the rules...)

The Myth of Before and After

  I think television sitcoms have ruined us.

 

We watch them and think that resolution is normal. That we should expect that people make up after fights. That overtime, people learn from their mistakes. That we grow and develop and mature.

 

We approach faith with this expectation for resolution. There are so many before and after stories of conversion. We were this way before Christ, but now we are different. Better.

 

We like to treat life like a math equation. Before Me + Faith = A Better Me. An After Me.

 

In reality, life is not linear. There is not so much an after, but a during.

 

Life is less like a math equation, and more like a painting. Each day, more layers of paint are added to us. Layers that effect how we reflect the light. Some layers that give us depth and richness. Some layers that will need to be painted over by the Artist at some point in the future.

 

unfinished masterpiecesWe are unfinished masterpieces. Beautiful and redeemed, but far from complete.

 

I think about this with the story of the prodigal son. We know he ran away. We know there was a party when he came back. But what about life after the party? Did he stay mistake free? Did he and his brother reconcile? Did he squander money and run away again? If so, what was the welcome like the next time?

 

There is so much we don’t know. But what we do know is this. The Father’s love for him never changed.

 

In the before, in the after, and in the during that makes up this long and layered life, the Father is never far from us. He never stops painting. He never stops revealing beauty in and through our lives. He never stops giving us His love.

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An exercise in freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today's prompt was: After.

 

P.S. There is still time to enter the give away of the Life After Art book. A winner will be announced at 2 pm central time. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter!