Honoring God When You Can’t Be at Work

Honoring God When You Can’t Be at Work

We are in an interesting season of life right now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most of us are trying to adapt to the new normal of quarantines and social distancing, while others are boycotting the phrase “new normal” because it implies a permanency to these unusual circumstances. With many states ordered to stay at home except for essential business, it feels like life has come to a screeching halt. Many people in service industries or non-essential businesses are without work, which could also mean no pay for some. Others have been thrust into the realm of working remotely, which is a challenge under normal circumstances let alone when your family is all at home and you don’t have a dedicated home office. 

Have you ever thought about how you can honor God with work when you aren’t at work? Here are some simple ways to display God’s glory even when things look different:

Remember that you still have work, even if you are not at work. Maybe you are not working at your normal job right now. Maybe you are trying to work remotely and homeschool your kids at the same time. Maybe you already worked from home but now you have your entire family there with you. Whatever the case may be, things look different for almost all of us…but whatever you are called to do right now is still work. That could mean that you deep clean your house or purge your overstuffed closets with your newfound downtime. It might be that you are reading to your kids or checking their school assignments. Or now that everyone is home you are doing laundry and dishes like a full-time job. Whatever it is, take heart that you have been fully equipped for this work and that you were called to such a time as this. When you do the work that you have been called to do, even if it wasn’t what you would have picked and no one really seems to appreciate it, you have an opportunity to bring glory to God. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.  Colossians 3:23

Sharpen your toolkit. Many people have extra time on their hands due to canceled activities, no social engagements, and the state-wide order to stay in as much as possible. Of course, you could find something new to binge watch on Netflix, or you could use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill, hone an existing one, or to keep your mind engaged. Here are some ideas to get you started: read a book, listen to a podcast, try a new recipe, take an online class or tutorial, practice something you would like to get better at doing, create a blog, teach someone in your house how to do something you are already good at, learn how to use a new app, or get a head-start on research for an upcoming project. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-16a

Encourage one another. We may be practicing social distancing, but that doesn’t mean we have to live in isolation, especially with virtual resources at our disposal. Taking the focus off of yourself and putting it on someone else will change your perspective and also lifts your spirits. So, email a coworker to see how she is doing. Drop a card or a letter in the mail – seriously, how excited would you be to get something other than junk mail or a bill in the mail?! Arrange a virtual hang out with a friend (bring your own beverage, of course). If someone comes to mind stop and pray for them, and then let them know you prayed. One friend of mine used chalk to leave encouraging messages on the sidewalk for her neighbors to find. There are lots of ways to support each other and stay connected, and we need to do that now more than ever! And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.  Hebrews 10:24-25a

Check your heart. Christians are used to relying on God when things get tough. We pull out our favorite Bible verses (Romans 8:28, Joshua 1:9, or Philippians 4:13 anyone?), up our prayer game, and talk about trusting in God’s sovereign plan. God uses places of desperation (and I believe what we are going through right now qualifies) to bring us back to Him…but what will happen when the stay home order is lifted? Will you still need Him when you can go back to your old routine? The answer to this question lies deep within your heart, and what better time to think about this than during social isolation? Do you call on God only when things are hard and you can’t do it on your own, or do you call on Him daily because you realize that you can do nothing on your own? As a recovering control-oholic, I spent many years using God as a safety net if I fell.  It took a time of desperation and finally letting go and deciding to trust Him before I could see how much I truly needed Him in any and all circumstances. Maybe this is your moment to draw near and stay near! I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I heard someone say this season was like a great big reset button being pushed. While I wouldn’t wish these circumstances on anyone, I also know that our Father only gives good gifts. Don’t get me wrong, COVID-19 is a disease, not a gift. But rest, time with your family, time to reflect and to reset your priorities – those things are gifts. God can take any evil or bad thing and turn it into good, into a reflection of His glory. Let your work, whatever it looks like right now, also put His glory on display! In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Sally Stitzer, Advisory Board Member – Northeast Indiana Center for Faith and Work