For years I have been complaining bitterly about the great divide between church and work. I eagerly joined the band of enlightened and indignant comrades in the marketplace whining about the maddening compartmentalization of spiritual and business life; how the church has failed to meet our needs as professionals; how we must redeem the spiritual dignity of work; and generally making a big stink as we desperately sought to locate a culprit to blame.
For the most part this has been a fun hobby, and a good opportunity to channel some pent up frustration. But I am not at all sure that it is ever going to solve anything. It’s not like all of this complaining will suddenly perk up the untapped integration of my own spiritual life into my management job.
Yet, there is an ongoing tension in reconciling the genuine person of faith with the guy who shows up in your office every day for work. Many find it difficult to meld the spiritual and work life together. But I, for one, am resolved to turning a corner.
Good ladies and gentlemen, I am starting to think this lack of connection is our own fault, and the responsibility sits squarely on the shoulders of each one of us. The problem comes down simply to this:
We lack spiritual imagination.
That’s right. If you have a problem figuring out how God fits into your work, or your career, or your business enterprise, then maybe, just maybe, you are being lazy.
Because God is present everywhere, including your dingy office cubicle. You either believe it, or you don’t. It’s just a matter of us recognizing the obvious, and making it manifest. But guess what? It’s not going to happen by sitting around doing nothing, or passively waiting for the chaplain to show up while you light up another cigarette.
You’ve got to use your mind to tap into that spiritual imagination of yours, to look and to see your work in a new light.
So, ye soldiers of faith in the workplace, get over ye-selves. Enough with all the theological hand-wringing, and let’s get busy finding God. Let him in on your messy work situations. Think about it. Pray about it. Imagine it. Let His divine essence lather all over your career.
Stop waiting for someone to show you what to do, and how about you be the one to figure it out?
It may not look all holy and sacred-ish, the way you think it should. That’s because you’ve been brainwashed into thinking that God has to be all holified and stained-glassed in order to be any good to you. Well, that’s not true. Because God is in the blood and mess of our bodies. He’s also in the executive suite and on the plant floor.
He’s in the coffee maker, and the vending machine snack.
He’s in the spreadsheets and the power lunch.
He’s in the corporate politics and the corporate jet.
He’s in the mistakes you make, and the mess you have to clean up afterwards.
He’s in the lost sale, and the mega-bonus.
He’s in that asshole co-worker, and the irritated customer.
He’s on the conference call and in the Board presentation.
He’s in the cash flow statement and the lawsuit you’re fighting.
He’s in the competitor who’s eating your lunch.
He’s in the mountain of paperwork and on the corporate website.
He’s in your next promotion, and the years of not knowing.
Wherever your station, whatever it is you are doing, you are with God, and he is part of your work life. Which makes it holy and purposeful and full of grace and of great potential for doing good.
And if you are having trouble seeing it, work a little harder at using your spiritual imagination.