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Integrate faith into work

Many of us have a habit of seeing work and leisure as two activities in time and space. We look upon work as necessary. If we are to have any leisure, we must work more and make more money. We pride ourselves on being productive and efficient, but too often at the expense of our humanness. We work ourselves to a frazzle and then do hectic things to try to forget about our work life. This is not the way it is supposed to be.

“The Lord God put man and woman in the garden of Eden – to cultivate the garden and to care for it.” (Genesis 2:15)

When we allow work and leisure to be separated, we cannot help but become fragmented and unconnected from our environment, others and, most importantly, from ourselves. All this in spite of a growing interest in the spirituality of our work and daily living. Yet, we continue to withdraw and separate ourselves from our work and isolate ourselves into neat little discreet categories that we never allow to overlap or mix. Work is work! But, our daily work gives us opportunities to live out our faith in the normal routine situations of our daily world.

Ours is not a private faith. We are called as a Church, a community, to live our faith wherever we go and in all situations. This requires courage and a radical willingness to follow in the footsteps of Christ, the son of a carpenter.

Let’s take back our workplace and become signs for others that our work can be a source of growing more fully human and not just a place where we compete and exhaust ourselves. Here are three steps that each of us can take to get started:

1  Simplify Life: Slow down! Stop defining yourself by how many possessions you have. Purchase less and you will soon be less driven to exhaust yourself to acquire more things.

2  Listen More: Take time every day to reflect and just listen to where God is leading you. Listen to what energizes you at all times of the day. When you are always active and distracted, you tend to not hear what God is trying to get through to you.

3  Serve and Love Others First: When you put yourself first, you tend to see others as adversaries and competitors, not fellow humans and friends. If you are to find a whole life that uses your talents and gifts, you need to find ways to love and serve others. Then you will be able to “esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and  service of the human community.”