According to Gallup Poll's 2013 State of the American Workplace survey, American workers are growing more disengaged from their work. Of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs:
• Only 30 % are engaged and inspired at work.
• 50 % are disengaged, or what Gallup described as "kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers."
• 20 percent are actively disengaged.
• Only 22 % of U.S. employees are "engaged and thriving."
Disengaged employees are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.
Engaged employees usually drive the innovation, growth, and revenue that their companies desperately need (Gallup, Inc. "State of the American Workplace," 2013).
What would God say to us about our work and attitudes towards our work?
In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs Christian slaves, “Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”
The slaves Paul was writing to certainly would not have had excellent working conditions. Nor did they have rights before the law. Certainly, they worked hard, long hours for very small paychecks. Yet Paul writes to those slaves and tells them that their work was the will of God for them on that day and they should do it from the heart.
In other words, they were to do their work in a way that honored God. They were to be engaged employees—serving their employer from their heart.
During this month of November, I want to think with you about a Christian view of work in our new sermon series, “Holy Employed.” We want to explore questions like these:
• How does my faith and my work relate to one another?
• What does God say about my ordinary Monday through Friday work week?
• Isn’t work really just a curse?
• Does my work really matter? Shouldn’t I be giving my life to something with eternal significance?
One of the world's best-known paintings is The Angelus by Millet. The word angelus means "prayer". It is the picture of two peasants praying in their field. On the horizon is a church steeple, and we presume the church bell is ringing to summon the people to afternoon prayer. To understand the significance of the picture, however, you must study where the rays of the afternoon sun fall: They do not fall on the church steeple; they do not fall directly on the bowed heads of the man and woman; the rays of the sun fall on the wheelbarrow and the common tools at the couple's feet. Millet understood the significance of what Paul wrote to workers. Those peasants in their field not only honored God with their prayers, but also with their ordinary work.
What would change if you were to do your work as though you are serving Christ?