On Mission: Finding God's Purpose Through Work


By Jess Griggs

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word, “Mission,” I automatically think of feeding orphan children in Africa, and watching the masses surrender their lives to the Lord. The truth is that we are all created with a purpose, a goal, a mission, if you will. Some of us will be called to the ends of the earth. But my guess is that most of us are caught up in the daily grind. So how can we find our mission, even in the hum drum nine to five?

I read a study the other day that said the average person will spend 70,000 hours at work in their lifetime. Most of us have probably felt a nagging feeling that none of it matters. At one time or another we've all been tempted to despair; it's too stressful, the boss is a jerk, it's boring, it's pointless, it just pays the bills, it'll look good on my resume one day when I actually apply for my dream job, etc., etc. I don't know about you, but 70,000 hours is way too much time to spend feeling trapped or discouraged. The Bible addresses the issue of work and mission on the very first page. Let's look to Genesis 1 for wise counsel and a new perspective on joy and mission, even in the workplace.

Work Gives Us Purpose

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” - Genesis 1:27-28

The truth here is simple: God created humans to work for their food and to earn their rest. This idea can be confusing and ever complicated when we think about our calling, or when we get too caught up in what we think we should be doing. We were designed to contribute, and to produce. Whether that's a 9-5 or a nightshift, at a cubicle or behind a register, work is an important aspect of who we are as humans, and as Christians.

Work Is A Privilege

So we were created to work. This is all well and good, but it doesn't really fill you with excitement. In Genesis 1:26-28, the word "dominion" is used. Usually we associate power and authority to that word - it makes us think of kings and kingdoms. That is exactly what God has entrusted to us! He has given us a portion of his creation to rule over, and we are to take care of what he has generously given to us.
Our jobs give us opportunities to have dominion over what God has given us, from swivel chair and spreadsheets, to apron and dishes. It is a privilege to have authority over this little corner of our lives, but it is also a huge responsibility. We are given permission to reign over God's land, as his image bearers, and we are to follow his instruction on how to rule.

Work To Do Good And Bring Order

Now the age old question, how can we possibly bring glory to God in our workplace? Is this really what my “mission” is? Looking back in Genesis, we see how God worked to create the world. The world was dark, formless and void (Genesis 1:2), but God brought light, goodness, and order. His dominion and authority blessed the world, and gave us all an example to follow.

God didn't complain about his creation, or dread the long hours he would have to put in for things to be just right. In fact, in Genesis 1:3, it says that "God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good." Be joyful in your job!

God Blesses Our Work

In Genesis 1:28, God blesses Adam and Eve. After he created the world, and gave Adam the ability and authority to rule over every living creature, God blesses mankind. God's blessing enables us today to let God fill the void and dark spaces in our lives and in our offices, and allows us be a light to others in whatever capacity we can be. This is the true joy of work - not that we have accomplished anything, but that we can serve others and bring glory to God in any and every situation.

Hope For The Future

Maybe you're stuck in a dead end job, or you feel like you're just going through the motions most days. If you're sitting in the darkness, waiting for direction and motivation at work - take heart! We have a great Hope in Jesus, and we know that there are far greater things to come in our future. Jesus gives purpose to our lives, and a joy and hope in all that we do. My prayer for all of us is that we would be aware of how God is leading and directing our lives, and that we would have a heart to join our desires with his. How amazing is it that our God wants us to be fulfilled? Thank you Lord for giving us a mission here on earth, and that you have not hidden it from us!