Embracing Work as a Divine Calling

Embracing Work as a Divine Calling

By Cheryl Mah

Throughout history, work has carried different meanings and has evolved in many ways. In the earliest stages of human civilisation, work was confined to simple tasks involving basic human needs such as food, shelter, and child minding. Nowadays, many find importance in work because it gives our lives purpose and structure. In fact, the ideology of work has become more than just about earning a salary; the importance of work fulfilment is also attached to jobs. The search for meaning has led many Christians to see their work as a calling and opportunity to serve others and make a difference in the world.

Viewing work as a calling
In 1520, Protestant Reformer Martin Luther composed his treatise entitled “On the Freedom of a Christian”. In it, he wrote, “Christians are free, lord of all, subject to none; Christians are dutiful servants, subject to all.” Luther believed that Christians were free from the burden of trying to earn salvation through good works. However, this freedom did not lead to a life filled with self-indulgence or idleness; instead, Luther argued that true Christian freedom manifests in selfless service to others, which in turn manifests through one’s vocation.

He emphasised that every person’s vocation – no matter if a person was a farmer, craftsman, merchant, parent, or any other occupation – was a divine calling from God (c.f. 1 Peter 4:10-11). If believers were to carry out their duties diligently and with love for their neighbour, they could glorify God and fulfil their vocation as Christians.

Integrating faith and ethics in our workplace
As followers of Christ, we must indeed strive to align our actions with core beliefs such as integrity, compassion, and accountability in our everyday work practices. This integration of faith and ethical principles inculcates a workplace culture grounded in honesty, respect, and fairness. These principles guide our decision-making processes, build trust among co-workers and stakeholders, maintain peace, and ultimately promote a positive work culture.

Proverbs 11:3 firmly reminds us, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” By upholding our ethical conduct and preserving our spiritual convictions we are living out our faith, thus guiding us to contribute to a more harmonious and purposeful work environment.

Finding meaning and fulfilment in our roles
When we recognise our roles as stewards of God’s gifts and serve others with love and excellence, we may start to find meaning and fulfilment in our vocations. If we view our work as a calling from God, we start to appreciate that our efforts contribute to His greater plan, therefore infusing purpose into our tasks.

Embracing a mindset of service, gratitude and integrity allows us to experience a deep fulfilment of our divine purpose in the workplace. Furthermore, indulging in prayer, study of the Scriptures, as well as seeking alignment of our passions and talents can help us to discover how our vocations serve both God and the people around us. As Ephesians 6:7 guides us: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”

Seeking God’s direction and guidance in our vocations

There may be times that we face doubt as to whether our current vocation is the right one; nonetheless we can always seek God’s guidance and direction by surrendering ourselves in prayer and inviting Him to illuminate our path and reveal His will.

Through moments of quiet reflection, attuning ourselves to God’s voice, listening for His prompting in our hearts, and being open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, we may be able to discern God’s direction for us (c.f. Isaiah 30:21). However, we must keep our hearts open to unexpected opportunities and trust in His timing – as this will foster a deeper reliance on God’s guidance. Aligning our desires and ambitions with God’s will leads to clarity and purpose in our vocations and through faith and obedience, we will surely find peace and assurance when we follow where He leads us.

The recognition of work as a divine calling helps us to acknowledge its profound significance beyond mere occupation. No matter our vocations—soldier, teacher, taxi driver, banker, stay-at-home parent—we are, first and foremost, followers of Christ and God’s beloved children. Through our identity in Christ, we imbue purpose and significance into our work that is beyond mere productivity or financial gain. We are reminded that our daily labour is not simply about fulfilling tasks, but about serving others and glorifying God through our contributions (c.f. Colossians 3:23-24).

As we navigate the challenges and joys of our vocations, let us hold fast to the belief that our work is a sacred calling, worthy of our utmost dedication and devotion.