For a few years leading up to 9/11, even though I had trusted Jesus, I pursued my career without much concern for what God wanted me to do at work. Every day, I went to work thinking my faith would make me a better employee, but not much more. After work and on weekends, after my bills were paid and everything else was done, then I could “do ministry.”
Rethink My Faith
The events of 9/11 caused me to rethink my faith. I was reminded of my goal to lay up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), but I didn’t know how. As I read scripture, I was puzzled by a story about Jesus in Luke 10.
Jesus Surprised Martha
Jesus was in town visiting his friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha in their home. He was in the main room talking with other guests. Mary was in there listening, too, while Martha was busy preparing. So Martha decided to ask Jesus to send Mary to help her. But Jesus surprised Martha: But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NASB.
How Could I Join Jesus?
As I watched the buildings smolder and the rescue operations take place, I began to question. Had I had missed opportunities to be with God during my workdays? Was Jesus there and I had missed him? Is spending time with Jesus really the only thing necessary? How could I join Jesus and do my job? I certainly couldn’t quit my job and sit around and pray all day. I had bills and responsibilities. I had a family.
God Was Working
At the same time, I realized God was actively working in the company I worked for. He’s more interested in the lives of my coworkers than I ever will be. And if that’s true, did I just waste years that I could have been walking with Jesus at work? Had I been like Martha, so busy about my own goals that I missed the goals and the work Jesus had for me to do?
So, I decided to ask God if he had a job for me. Daily I would ask him to show me how I might join him. Did God want me to go into full-time ministry? Would I need to quit my job? Did I need to apply for a job with a church or an overseas mission?
I Could Pray
As the days passed, no ministry offers appeared and nothing became clear. While I was waiting, I thought, at least I could pray for my coworkers and our customers. So, I began to spend time with Jesus, every day by praying and asking him to use me at work and to bless the people I knew I would see each day. As I drove to work, I would mentally walk through the office and pray for each person. Whether God chose to change my career or not, today, I could pray.
At first, I started asking that God would bless people and give them favor. For the coworkers I knew, I could make more specific requests. And for those I didn’t know very well, I decided I would try to get to know them better. Slowly, God started opening doors. I had more and more spiritual conversations. Some of the other Christians at work began to join me in praying for our coworkers. Slowly, things began to change.
I Began To Change
At the same time, I began to change. Often, when I pray for someone or something, Jesus changes me. He gave me a new heart for people and for my work. He showed me his purpose in my job. And I saw lives change.
I began to realize this was my ministry. Ministry is serving others so they can move closer to Jesus. The word most often translated “minister,” is also translated by “servant.” We serve others to make Jesus visible.
Please understand, I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes and been inconsistent. But every prayer matters. God will change people and he will change you.
Walking With Jesus Daily
Do you want to experience the joy and purpose of walking with Jesus daily? I made this challenge back in January, too. Pray for your coworkers for the next 30 days. As you drive to work, pray for the people who work near you, and those with whom you will meet. And watch Jesus work.
But this time, when you see God make a difference, please write and let me know. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m sure you will see God begin to change your world, and he’ll probably start with you!
Written by Mike Henry Sr. for Community Spirit Magazine.
Image by: Vasyl Dolmatov for Getty Images