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The Joy of Working (with God)
 

The refreshed and updated 5th edition of Mark Greene’s classic Thank God it's Monday has just been published. Mark reflects on changing work and burgeoning opportunities




Thank God It's Monday

 

 


It began underground...

I was around 32, an Englishman in New York, loving advertising, and loving what was really the first church I’d ever been part of – Trinity Baptist Church. I’d only been a Christian a few years and I didn’t know much about churches. This one was smallish with about 120 members, and the elders were totally committed to growing fruitful disciples.

After a few years, they noticed that God was doing amazing things in my workplace. Apparently, I was doing workplace ministry. I didn’t really know there was such a thing. But they asked me to teach an adult Sunday School class in our windowless underground classroom, my flatmate bought me a book and I set about it.

Twenty to twenty-five people came along. A real mix of ages and jobs. Every week we’d begin by sharing what we’d seen God doing in our work and workplaces over the previous week. After the third week, we had to limit it to ten minutes or we wouldn’t have done any new material. People were exhilarated – liberated, really. We hadn’t covered that much material but the gates had swung open on a whole new world.

God was teaching me even if I wasn’t aware of the lessons at the time. He can work through anyone in any context. And he wants to. And quite independent of any fruit that might come of it – people prayed for, crises averted, orders coming in, bosses honoured, godliness displayed, good work done in his power with his wisdom, people coming to know his Son... apart from all that, there’s the sheer joy and assurance of more consciously, more intentionally relating to God in one’s day job.

When I came back to England I realised that not many people knew that joy, not many people had been given a biblical vision for their work, not many people were convinced that their work was significant to God... What a waste. One minister put it this way to me, “Some people die without knowing the ministry God has for them.” Surely this can’t be right. And that’s why I wrote the book.. Praise God for the many ways he’s worked through it.

Lots has changed about work since that first mid-90s edition. People entering the workforce today are likely to go through six, seven, eight entirely different jobs in their working life, and many of the roles they start out doing won’t exist in twenty, ten, five years’ time. The number of people in the gig economy, or on zero-hour contracts, or working into their seventies is rising. And for most of them that’s not a comfortable way to live. Artificial Intelligence is humming along, reshaping working practice across pretty much every sector – from transport to law, even counselling. And the robots are coming.

The result is anxiety. It has been there for the last 25 years, but now it feels more pervasive, cutting across social and economic strata. Employment is up but many of our jobs are less secure. We are less confident that we could easily get another one and less sure that our pay will keep pace with the cost of living. Millennials will be the first generation since World War II to be worse off than their parents.

There are good things too – for women, for ethnic minorities, for people with disabilities – but legislative changes haven’t yet delivered the even playing fields that true justice requires. Many minds are persuaded but, as research shows, all other things being equal, our subconscious still tends to favour men and people of our own race.

So, lots has changed but the workplace remains an amazing context to walk with God and work with him. Fewer people may be coming to church on a Sunday but the average Christian in work probably talks to, emails, Skypes, calls, meets around 50 people a week... What an amazing opportunity that is: to pray; to show and share the difference that working with Jesus makes; to bring God’s wisdom into the places where the key decisions about the future of our workplaces, our towns, our cities, our nations are made. What a huge impact we might make. After all, there are around two million Christians of working age in this country. Just imagine if every one of them went to work with God’s vision for their workplace, and the prayers and encouragement of their churches behind them.

I’m praying they will.

And I’m praying that God will use this book to help people see his rich and adventurous purposes for them at work, and his joy in being with, and in them, right there – whatever they do.



Mark Greene is Executive Director of licc. licc.org.uk 

Thank God it's Monday is published by Muddy Pearl



 
 



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