Bringing the Kingdom to Work: Part I

Ask a theologian for a definition of the kingdom of God and he/she will likely tell you it is “the rule of God.”

And, as I’ve addressed in another post, one of the ways Jesus rules is by delegated authority. In other words, Jesus rules–his Kingdom is established–through those who carry out His will on the earth.

So, when Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray he told them to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9-13). Jesus’ rule is accomplished through obedience to His will.

A common misconception. This principle is applicable in the workplace. The problem is well-meaning Christians assume that means Jesus wants them to establish a Bible study at work, witness to their boss or coworkers during work hours. That may be true, but it may not be true and it certainly should not be assumed.

Your employer is paying you to sell, answer phones, make widgets or whatever it may be; he’s not paying you to conduct Bible studies and preach to your coworkers on company time. When you take your employer’s money under the pretense of selling widgets but use the time to read your Bible or preach to coworkers, you are defrauding your employer.

Jesus is interested in more than expansion. More importantly though, Jesus is not only interested in expanding Kingdom territory but managing those parts of the earth under His delegated authority. In other words, He is not just interested in expansion but occupation.

The kingdom of God needs good employment lawyers, good mechanics, good salespeople, good doctors and good secretaries. Without these, the world would not function properly. Once you realize a job isn’t justified on the basis of how many people are converted through it, you will be free to objectively seek King Jesus’ will.

An example. I am just finishing a year as the chairperson of a section of our local bar association. Before I took the position I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted to accomplish in our section for the upcoming year. I concluded there were three things: 1) provide excellent continuing legal education to our section through our monthly luncheons; 2) promote professional community through more section gatherings so our attorneys will get to know one another better; and 3) increase the membership of our section.

All three of these things have the effect of improving the practice of law for employment lawyers. For example, we accomplished the second goal by establishing a monthly happy hour which includes a short ethics lecture. The happy hour has been a great success because it provides an opportunity for our attorneys to get together away from work where they can talk in a relaxed setting. It also has a hook through the ethics credit they can apply to toward their yearly requirement. Attorneys who know one another get along better in litigation, which results in less legal fees on both sides and better results for the litigants. Lawyers who get a regular ethics teaching are more likely to avoid situations that can harm both them and their clients. In short, we are making better, more ethical employment lawyers.

I haven’t established a section Bible study or required prayer before our section council meetings. Instead I’ve attempted to be an excellent chair of our section and fulfill the purposes of the section in obedience to King Jesus. It’s the same in your job. What does Jesus expect of a person performing your job? Seek His will because when you do you engage His rule.

Obedience, then is the first requirement of establishing the kingdom of God at work. GS