ON MISSION AT WORK is a series of stories by individuals on how they are living out their faith in their workplace. You can read Part 1 of Lloyd’s journey HERE.
LLOYD’S STORY - Lloyd is a very close friend who I went to secondary school with in Zimbabwe. He has been based in and around Edinburgh and works in the financial sector. We recently holidayed together and when he told me his story of workplace mission I knew it would be a blessing and provocation.
I hope it blesses and encourages you to do similar,
Where Jesus has sown you, he will grow you:
In 2017 at the New Ground conference held at Ashburnham, Dave Devenish spoke powerfully on how the kingdom of God needs to invade the world. He spoke of the church being like wheat sown amongst weeds and gave examples of how the Ukrainian Church in the midst of a war had provided a sanctuary between the two warring sides for the community to shower, cook and do their washing. The church brought significant blessing in a terrible situation and whilst others left the area for safety, God’s people remained and gave everything they had in the service of love. This illustration altered my thoughts on kingdom mission and how the kingdom needs to invade every area of life, expanding my view of what it meant to proclaim the Kingdom of God in every arena possible even at great personal cost.
Matthew 13:37-38: “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom.”
We as God’s people and his church are sown and sent into the world by Jesus. We are not sown into the church but the church as a body is instead sent and sown out into the world. This is where you live, and also, significantly, where you work wherever you are placed for the glory of God to spread the Gospel. If you ever doubt a situation remember the one who sent you – his name is Jesus.
Matthew 13:30 “Let both grow together until the harvest..”. We are to grow together in the world. We must eat so we need to work and live somewhere. There needs to be something normal about us. Just as the weeds need the soil to grow, so the wheat survives in the very same soil. Wheat can’t uproot itself, it needs to grow until the harvest time when it is picked. God spoke to my heart about having faith to take the gospel to whatever setting I was sown into and allow him to speak through me into the busy office environment.
Doing a decent if not good job at work, provides the license to operate and keeps you in the situation you were sown in. Show yourself faithful in the office and let God use you to bless the team of individuals around you. By so doing, you are faithfully extending the kingdom of God to everywhere that he has not been named previously, proclaiming the Gospel to a people who do not yet know God through your actions and conduct which allows you the space to speak about the one who made you that way.
For the gospel to spread in our generation it needs to break out from the boundaries of the confines of a Sunday setting and overflow into every place possible. Imagine the rule and reign of our God extended in every work place throughout the week by a delightful workforce of diligent employees who also talk of the Gospel and the person of Jesus. Imagine a church equipped to be effective, vibrant and constant demonstration of who Jesus is, declaring the Gospel in every walk of life. This is how the people of God ‘fills all in all’.
“[God] put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:23
Don’t regret where God has sown you. You are bringing the kingdom to a situation that maybe no one else can or will given the chance. Don’t move jobs too quickly for a promotion or greener pastures when the going gets rough, consider what God would want you to do – maybe he is using you to reach a situation for his glory, which moving away could hamper. Don’t consider too easily giving up your job and going into ‘full time’ ministry. You are already in full time ministry - open your eyes and see the vast harvest before you. If you need fresh grace to remain in a situation long enough to see God working out his purposes through you, gather with godly and wise friends and pray into your situation that God would open any closed doors or situations. If you seek first his kingdom, he will take care of your promotion and future.
Matt 6:32-34 “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
In this way you are to be distinct from all those around you. Whilst those around you seek their career progression first, you are to follow Jesus and be the best employee in the place he sows you and serve instead the cause of Christ, trusting that he will prosper you.
I began to see that the kingdom mainly needed to be proclaimed throughout the week to those who had no idea about what the Bible was about or who Jesus was not just on a Sunday to a mostly already believing audience. This was the place we all spent the largest proportion of our time in. The people who we are with at the office comprise a group of individuals who God Almighty has sown at the same time and place as he has sown us. As wheat and weeds grow together, it is the wheat that needs to reach out to the weeds with such compelling and genuine love that their hearts will long to belong to God.