Lydia sold purple cloth. Priscilla made tents, and Deborah judged. Huldah prophesied. Phoebe served as a patron, and Esther ruled as a queen.
These forerunners of the modern day Kingdom-focused working woman set the bar high. Within this list of occupations, we see roles we’d consider both secular and sacred, and within each of these women we see God bear fruit. God used Lydia’s work to begin the church in Europe. Priscilla traveled and taught with Paul. Phoebe was able to provide for the needs of others because of the wealth she managed. For all of these women, their work was a conduit God used to further the work He was doing of calling many to Himself, whether in description the work was sacred or secular.
Within this dance of secular and sacred work, many of us find the daily grind of our work. Whether a doctor, teacher, or architect, all work can be God-glorifying and Kingdom advancing. So whether we’re forbidden by law to discuss the redemption we’ve found in Christ, or our job is to discuss just that through writing, teaching or ministry, we can rest in knowing that God holds a purpose for our work and that He desires to use us and our work to transform hearts and move His Kingdom forward. In what ways can we view our job, no matter how grand or menial it seems, in light of God’s design to use all things to point to His glory?
Work as Evangelism
I imagine tent-buyers often heard the story of this Jesus that Priscilla couldn’t not follow. As she worked, I’m sure she spoke from the overflow of her heart, recounting the transformation that Jesus had worked in her life. Work gives us opportunities to interact with people we would never come into contact with otherwise, so we can hopefully point them to Jesus through our work and our words.
Work as Giving
Work affords us a wage, which then frees us to give generously in ways that advance God’s work and enlarge His Kingdom. Some may be called to specifically serve in this way as they give of their resources to support the ministry of others.
Work as Discipleship
In 2014, the average American worker spent 47 hours at work each week (Gallup Poll). If we don’t work from home, the likelihood is that our colleagues are spending more time at work with us than any other place throughout the week. Perhaps God would have us be the teacher they need to walk more closely with Him. This may require giving our lunch break to studying alongside a coworker, but what a worthy reason!
Work as Service
Even if our work is done from home with little opportunity to share with others about the hope we have in Christ and even if we don’t yet earn enough money to pay our own bills, let alone the bills of another, our work can still advance the Kingdom of God. When we view our work with serving others as the goal, the focus shifts from self to others. This outward focused shift not only honors others and God’s image within them, but it also reorients our hearts to be more like Christ’s.
Work as Sanctification
Work can be Kingdom-advancing through its sanctifying work in our lives. Opportunities to choose the ways of the Lord and the refinement that comes with obedience present themselves over and over again in our work life. The difficulties we face may try us, while good days may tempt us to rejoice in our own abilities, but the Holy Spirit can sanctify us through all of these circumstances.
Working inside or outside the home is an opportunity to join the Lord in what He is doing to advance Kingdom purposes in the lives of others through the actual work and its service, the relationships built, and the transformation it may bring in our hearts. Work allows us to use our God-given abilities to serve Him, makes clear God’s sovereign reign, reminds us of our need for rest, and yields much fruit when we walk in obedience both in the work chosen and the way we live in the everyday moments of the work. Whether we serve in a secular role or a ministry role, God has dominion over the work that we do, but that doesn’t only apply to what we do that draws a paycheck.
From the women listed above from Scripture, we see women committed to serving the Lord both inside the window of what would be considered their job and in every other moment of their days. God has called us to join Him in His work in all aspects of our life, and what a blessing that we get to be involved in eternal, Kingdom work as we engage in temporal, earthly work, and see its fruit. God is doing unbelievable things through everyday, normal people in everyday, normal moments to advance His marvelous Kingdom.