What is the ultimate motivation for Christian to Work?


(Babang ) #1

I am a software engineer who have been struggling to find motivations at work. It is not that I struggle financially, I have enough to feed me and my family and I am grateful for that. Nor my boss complain about my performance - I am doing alright.

However, my heart feels heavy knowing that long hours spent daily in office would finally let me down, I don’t really have sense of joy as I feel all of efforts spent has nothing to do with God’s work. I can only see working with people with so different kind of motivations, office politics,promotions, talking on someone’s back etc. I feel wasting this precious time. I have no idea, maybe soon God would call me and I have no legacy to leave in life when He ask me what have I done.

If someone is Pastor or Evangelist or that kind, I feel it is easy to relate to God’s work, but should someone switch to that profession in order to find meaning?

I search in Bible, it mention little about daily work or what should motivate people to work or I might be wrong.
Is it really possible God’s willing is for someone to be a software engineer?
I need help from brothers and sisters, to share their ultimate motivation at works and whether they can find joy in God in working place.

Any particular Bible story that help someone to find ultimate meaning in his work?


(SeanO) #2

@MrB That is a great question. I understand your struggle - having worked as a software engineer myself. I think a Biblical understanding of work is that through our work we serve the common good of humanity and it does honor the Lord when we do our work as if unto Him, to the best of our ability. We are a witness in the way we honor our employers and do our best in our jobs.

The software you produce helps someone else do their job and feed their family. So you are serving the human community by performing your work.

Colossians 3:23-24 - “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Tim Keller has some great resources on how we can understand our role as workers in the secular environment:

“But in Genesis we see God as a gardener, and in the New Testament we see him as a carpenter. No task is too small a vessel to hold the immense dignity of work given by God.”
― Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

“Work is a major instrument of God’s providence; it is how he sustains the human world.”
― Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

“If God’s purpose for your job is that you serve the human community, then the way to serve God best is to do the job as well as it can be done.”
― Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

“Our daily work can be a calling only if it is reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others.”
― Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

Choosing a Vocation

This book has a section on choosing a vocation. We have to know our gifts and talents in order to make a wise choice. Not everyone is gifted as a pastor or missionary and not everyone has the ability to be a software engineer. We all have unique gifts and we must know ourselves as we choose our vocation.

Christ grant you peace and wisdom in whatever He has called you to :slight_smile:


(Babang ) #4

Thank you @SeanO, could you help me to understand the context better. This was the letter from Paul specifically for Christian at Collossian? What was their typical profession at that time and whether they live in corrupted civilization? Were they under Roman’s rule who did not really acknowledge God?

Thank you for recommending me Tim Keller, I’d look it up. In the mean time may be you could help me with my dilemma.

In the pursue to seek perfection at work as commended by God, this often create tensions between colleagues. I could not see that they would be able to see the glory of God through me. But, if I want to leave with peace with everyone, there is certain quality of work I need to compromise and this make my conscience is not at ease before God. Either way, I could not find peace!

For example, I work for software for memory solution. I saw a concern about giving user the wrong data and for me this was a very critical and serious issue and should commend the highest priority. I voice this out and I argue we need some change in priority. Further, I encouraged the team to change certain coding practice that commit the code in rush and would clean up it later. Adding features on top of problematic software is a kin to building house; while foundation was not strong, the developer was in discussion how to build the second floor! It would be just about time it would collapse. So you can imagine in the meeting room, while I fight for us to resolve this data integrity issue, the rest focused on to deliver features promised to customer in time and get a better bonus.

Encouragement to do things slower but correctly somehow does go well in this rushing society.

Maybe I could improve in the way I brought the matter, and I pray to God for wisdom and I have been looking in the Bible if there is advice given similar to this situation. However, I could not see I’d be able to please everyone, some would just feel offended including management. They don’t like to explain to customer why software release is delayed. We are living in a very pressurized environment. But frankly speaking, not to offend people is not really my first priority, instead the life of the users who might get wrong data and cost their life!

So this is my dilemma; in pursuit of perfection as commended by God, I might create tension with colleagues and this do not give me peace. However, if I just comprised and focus to get a long with colleagues, this does not go well with my conscience. Either way, I don’t have peace - dilemma.


(SeanO) #5

@MrB That is a difficult situation. Here are my initial thoughts:

1 - It is not wise to violate your own conscience
2 - We should not endanger others
3 - We should communicate wisely - speaking out when necessary, but in a manner that is most likely to be heard

The first fundamental canon of the NSPE code of ethics for engineers is:

  • Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.

https://www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics

So even from a secular perspective, if your company is endangering people that is not okay.

What to do?

Have you taken the time to craft a humble, concerned e-mail for your managers? Speaking out at meetings may not be the wisest course of action because people will be defensive in a group setting - their honor is at stake. It may be wiser to take a week or so to write a very thorough, humble e-mail for your managers, print out a copy for yourself and date it so that you have a record, and then both send the e-mail and have a one-on-one discussion with them.

If they still do not listen to your concerns and their practices are irresponsible, you may have to consider leaving or reporting them to another authority - especially if lives are actually in danger. But I would be very certain that your assessment is accurate before doing so.

Another Connect Thread

Colossians

It is clear that folks in Paul’s day had many different types of jobs. Some were even household slaves - such as Onesimus - addressed in Philemon.

What we see is that Paul exhorted everyone to do their job well and not to be dependent on others. In Thessalonians some were not working because they thought Christ was returning soon and they were becoming a burden, so that is the context for this passage. But I think there is a more fundamental principle - our work is a witness to the world around us. So we should do our job well - whatever it is - as a witness.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 - and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Are those thoughts helpful? May Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:


(Babang ) #6

Thank you @SeanO for putting things orderly, just what I need. Probably I need to work on point 3), I pray that may God give me strength, wisdom and humility to do so.
But say after so, someone still feel offended, what should we do? I wonder whether it is really possible to leave peacefully with everyone in office.

I tried to look up the Bible, the letter of Paul to Philemon, but I could not find any reference to his profession. Could I miss something?


(SeanO) #7

@MrB Typing error there - Onesimus was Philemon’s household servant who ran away. Paul helped lead Onesimus to Jesus and then helped reconcile him with Philemon.

useful, a slave who, after robbing his master Philemon (q.v.) at Colosse, fled to Rome, where he was converted by the apostle Paul, who sent him back to his master with the epistle which bears his name. In it he beseeches Philemon to receive his slave as a “faithful and beloved brother.” Paul offers to pay to Philemon anything his slave had taken, and to bear the wrong he had done him. He was accompanied on his return by Tychicus, the bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians ( Philemon 1:16 Philemon 1:18 ).

I assure you it is possible to be at peace with people in the office. Sometimes that does require moving to a new office if things are too out of sorts - if people are toxic or if people are being endangered through poor business practices. Christ grant you guidance and wisdom as you share your concerns and seek His direction. May the Lord grant your leaders understanding of your concerns and wisdom in how to handle them in such a way that everyone could benefit and be at peace.


(Babang ) #8

Thank you brother, much obliged :slight_smile:


(Terry Black) #9

Wow Babang! I love your passion and dedication. I see in that way, you are already serving God! I think Sean has done well giving you lots of material. You are a great resource Sean well done. I think God needs front line workers on the ground as well as pastors. From what you have described at least for the moment God needs you right where you are. You may not know it but every time you speak your concerns I believe you are touching others. Your integrity and ethics may not always be welcome but it may be reshaping the ethics of others. Let your light shine on brother and let us be gentle and respectful in all we do. I personally feel you may be doing far more of Gods work than you can see! Well done! God bless you in all your efforts! Thanks for this moving post!


(Babang ) #10

Thank you @Terry52 for the kind encouragement :slight_smile:


(Tammara Canfield) #11

Hello, my name is Tammara. From the beginning we were created to work. The first job/career was farming, which after the fall was more difficult. Work is not a result of the fall, but was part of our DNA. In Genesis 1:28 we were told to “subdue” the earth. This means to use it for our existence and for God’s glory. In Romans and I Corinthians we are told about our gifts. We should use these for God’s glory. Therefore, wherever you are, even as a software engineer, do all as fulfilment of God’s calling for you. When you do your work well, avoid gossiping and encourage others, do it for God’s glory.
It, also, could be that God is calling you into ministry. Ask Him to make your calling sure, take advantage of little opportunities to minister, even if it is just visiting the sick, nursing homes or starting a home Bible study with friends or neighbors. He will show you the way.


(Tammara Canfield) #12

Also, check out Institute for faith, work and economics. They have many resources talking about the Christian and work. (I hope it is ok to mention resources).