by Ella Corey
I used to think that pursuing God meant being a missionary or a pastor. I used to think that if you chose a secular workplace, you were not fully committing your life to Christ; you were just keeping your work life separate. I used to think that the only profession that involved your faith was one within the church.
I’ve found that “secular” jobs have a pretty bad connotation in church discussions. Men and women in business are seen as greedy and money-obsessed. They’re not as devout a follower because their profession isn’t in the mission field. I’m a business major and plan on pursuing a career in the business field. Since I have decided this, I had accepted that my career would not be in ministry. Instead, I believed my skills and passions have led me to a calling to seek a job in the business world.
However, I’m wrong. Just because my career is not in the church or missions does not mean I do not have a job in ministry. I believe every field a follower of Christ enters is a field of ministry. Christianity Today did a project titled This is Our City in which they conducted various videos and interviews of people involved in the workforce in cities around the country. “This Is Our City, a multiyear project of Christianity Today, seeks to spotlight in reporting, essays, and documentary video how these Christians are responding to their cities’ particular challenges with excellence, biblical faith, and hope,” is explained on their website.
One of their stories especially caught my attention. It was about a woman, Katie Nienow, who stopped doing youth ministry in order to work in microfinance. When she left, her boss told her, “You’re leaving the one thing God has best designed you to do.” Of course, she disagreed. In the video, she explains the many lives she has touched from this new career path, in a job that is considered “secular.” “I’m able to engage in the restorative work that God cares about around the world,” says Niewnow, “restoring people and restoring a sense of rightness and a sense of dignity and of building business as it ought to be, as a channel for the common good.”
Truett Cathy started a small restaurant business in 1946. He was a hard worker and developed a unique way to make chicken, coining the famous Chick-fil-A sandwich in 1963. However, Cathy did something that most businesses didn’t: his restaurant only operated 6 days a week. During the recession, Cathy’s business struggled, as most others did. Research also showed him that if he were to open on Sundays, it would add at least 16 percent to revenues. However, Cathy chose not to and God blessed him because of it. Chick-fil-A today makes more than $5 billion a year in sales, and they still do not open on Sunday. Chick-fil-A witnessed to the world with their practices. The way Truett Cathy trusted God with his business sets an example for businesses today. Who would have thought that you could set an example for Christ by selling chicken sandwiches? This proves that just because your business doesn’t sell Bibles does not mean you can be a witness. (Information in this paragraph found in Management by Proverbs by Michael Zigarelli)
In a video titled “Work as Worship” by RightNow Ministries, it explains how even working is a way of worshiping God. “He gave us skill, he gave us passion, and he gave us work,” the narrator says. “When we do our jobs with excellence, integrity and diligence, it’s an act of worship. We are displaying God’s craftsmanship to the non-believing world around us.” Therefore, remember when choosing a career path that it is not so much what profession you have, as it is how you work in this job. If you are working with excellence, integrity and diligence, you are in fact worshiping your Creator.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.