Reflections on “Work as Worship”

by Justin Knapp

I think we need to make a quick distinction between “work is worship” (which I accidently called it for some time) and “work as worship.” “Work is worship” assumes that just because I am a Christian that the naturally outpouring of my day is for God. Let me not over-spiritualize my own depravity. The truth is for me, and probably most of us, the work day is often not worship. Instead, it is the drudgery of sequential tasks, bookended by complaint and clock-watching, or the frantic unfocused panic of a racing mind laced with the despair that there is “just not enough time in the day.” If, at a minimum, 40 hours of our week is spent in this mode, this presents a real problem for the people of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God

How, then, do we give our workday to God so He may get the glory? The “as” in “work as worship” implies that something must occur, must be consciously done to make the work day part of our worship. I caught a glimpse of this a few years ago. I was working a second job and was on-call for a psychiatric hospital as a Needs Assessor. Basically, through an interview process, I had to determine whether or not a person fit the criteria to be admitted to a psych facility. As you can imagine, the people (sometimes children as young as 5) who I interviewed were often completely crushed by the darkness of the world. One night, when I was traveling up to the hospital at 3 a.m., I was convicted of my poor attitude. I repented and decided that I would practice being grateful. I would thank God that I had a job and was able to support my family. I would thank God that I had the opportunity to be a light to these broken people. I started praying for them silently while they talked. I asked God to intervene-to help them and save them from despair. I became a better employee, a better co-worker, a more empathetic listener. I am not always perfect in this, but when I remember the gospel, when I recall the great lengths that Christ went to reconcile sinners and to save me from my own sin, I can begin to live in the gratitude of life. My focus can shift to Him. I can begin to “work out” the gospel in my place of work. There is great freedom found in this because when I give my workday to God, I can trust that He will help and guide me through it. I cannot take credit for the good days, but I can share in the joy of it with Him. However, I also do not have to feel the burden of a bad day. He will always take it for me if I give it to Him. He is faithful.