“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 is both inspirational and instructional for all workplace professionals.
We are his masterpiece. That statement communicates that we were purposefully designed, the workmanship of the one, living God. We did not randomly materialize by a quirk of fate, but rather were skillfully and intricately molded by the master design and craftsmanship of the Creator of the entire universe. But to what end were we created as spiritual beings with both bodies and souls?
. . . created in Christ Jesus . . . Take time to back up and read Ephesians 2:1-9 for some context. The framework of God’s rich mercy and love toward us through the life and work of Jesus Christ, lets us know that he recreates us within, when we receive his free gift of forgiveness and a never-ending life with him.
. . . for good works . . . Followers of Jesus have a new purpose, which raises another big question about our culture and our marketplace: What constitutes good works?
Earlier in my life, when trying to apply Ephesians 2:10, I attached only spiritual activities to “good works” and mistakenly created two buckets: Work and Good Works. The “Good Works” bucket held pursuits like prayer, contributing to the Church, sharing my faith and serving the poor. The “Work” bucket held everything else, like mowing the lawn, parenting my children, making sales calls, keeping the books, and the tasks of my chosen profession. Unconsciously, my “Work bucket” was excluding God —in fact, I was missing the fact that there is really only one bucket!
What are good works? At least three other scripture passages identify good works as any and all deeds done for the glory of God and the benefit of others: “This saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. Things that are excellent and profitable for people.” (Titus 3:8) “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Recently, I was helping a client work through a somewhat complicated negotiation on a lease renewal. The client was attempting to extend the lease, so they could make a significant investment in their store. After working through some challenges and solving some problems, my client simply commented, “That’s good work.” I was reminded that this is what God created us to do every day.
Whether you are designing software, developing real estate, building your business, teaching a bible study, advocating in your community or serving overseas, you are doing the good works God planned, when you are doing those things with excellence, for the benefit of others and to bring glory to our great and good God.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Father, help me begin each day anticipating an endless array of possibilities for “good works” right in front of me. Remind me that every task sitting on my desk, awaiting my attention, has the potential to be used by you. There are emails to be written with thoughtfulness, calls to be made with sensitivity, ideas to be developed with creativity and people who need to be encouraged. I pray that you will be glorified and people will be helped through me today.
“You do not glorify God only when you talk about him or share his gospel with other people, or stand with hands raised in public worship. Those are all good actions, but they are not the only means through which you bring glory to God. Far from it. You glorify God when you do good works.”
Tim Challies, Do More Better