Has COVID-19 impacted your job? Maybe you’re an essential worker, and you’ve carried on. Perhaps your work can be accomplished digitally, so now you’re having to juggle working from home.
Maybe you’ve been furloughed and are simply waiting to return. Or perhaps you’ve been forced to claim unemployment, and are unsure of what the future holds.
We are living through a strange, frustrating, and discouraging time for the global economy and workforce. But regardless of the scenario or your occupation, we are called to think biblically about our work.
Your life, in the simplest terms, is made up of three inescapable dimensions of calling: You are called to relationships, you are called to work, and you are called to God. Each of these is a significant expression of how God calls every one of us to live.
Surely every follower of Christ would publicly list those three dimensions in this order of priority:
However, I don’t find this prioritized list concept to be the most helpful. Few, if any, of us can live “list-o-logically.”
I don’t know about you, but I have never started a day with a prioritized to-do list and finished the day having moved down that list without any deviation or interruption.
If 2020 is a good indicator, we are finite beings living in a broken world entirely outside of our control! As hard as we try, we cannot dictate the order in which everything is done and eliminate distractions or unpredictable new priorities that arise.
Therefore, I find the graphic below to be helpful—a triad of overlapping circles of calling, where each circle connects with the other two: our social domain, the labor domain, and the spiritual domain (although everything is spiritual).
If we’re honest, we can all admit that in some way, our balance of these three callings is (or has been) out of whack because of our work circle.
We have a limited amount of time to devote to these three circles—24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 31 days in a month, and 365 days in a year. So, if your work circle expands, it can do so because you have contracted another circle’s duration.
Perhaps the demands of work have gradually gobbled up more and more of your time, and as it does, you are left with less time for your family.
Maybe your life of work expands to the point where you have nothing left to give but casually attend church, and your involvement in ministry opportunities fades completely.
Do you feel so pinched for time with your work that you think you can’t even spare several minutes for personal time in the Word and prayer?
It is impossible for your important calling of work to expand without it causing the other areas of equally important calling (family and God) to contract.
I will write about this in-depth next week, but what is the main cause of our work circle expansion? For most of us, it is motivated by a personal quest for identity.
Too many of us hunt for meaning and purpose in our work. Regardless of your title, your salary, or your career accomplishments, the grace of God has freed you from looking for identity anywhere else apart from Christ.
You don’t have to look elsewhere to define who you are. You don’t have to look elsewhere to measure your potential. You don’t have to look elsewhere to find that inner sense of peace and well-being.
Why? Because you have found all those things in your Savior!
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of spiritual blindness when it comes to your work: Has my quest for identity within my work domain expanded to the point that it has caused a harmful contraction of my time with my family and my pursuit of God?
Only when your heart is satisfied in Christ can you be freed from the life-distorting bondage to anything else!
1. How has COVID-19 impacted your work, and how have you responded to these changes?
2. During this time, what blessings can you find and give thanks for as it relates to your work?
3. With or without the pandemic, if you were to draw out the boundaries of your three domains, is there an imbalance with your “Work” circle? If yes, why might this be?
4. What elements of your “Relationship” and “God” circles have been impacted because of your “Work” circle? Ask the Lord (or others) to reveal specifically how imbalance can affect the other areas of your life calling?
5. How can you serve others who are struggling with the impact that COVID-19 has had on their work? How can you incarnate the generosity of God in one form or another?