Serving God at work


HOW MANY FACETS are there to a person? Can one be somebody in one setting and quite somebody else in another?

Experience tells us that this is possible. It seems in business and professional life that this is not only so but must be so. To “be professional” is to project the right image on which one’s career depends. What we otherwise think or feel or incline towards, if they do not fit the part, should be set aside.

There is, however, an aspect of our life that cannot lie hidden. This is our life in Christ, our calling into Christian discipleship. Like a beacon on a hill, we are to “let your (our) light shine before men, that they may see your (our) good deeds and praise your (our) father in heaven” (Matt. 5: 16).

Forty-one years ago, a young woman persuaded me to choose social work as my career. She became my wife and I thank God for her spiritual insight. I think God used her to settle my searching about what I should do with my life. I thank God for calling me into a profession which allows me to respond to the needs of the poor and troubled and to train young people to love and care for those on the fringe of society. I have bound soul wounds of those who have been betrayed. I have hugged children hungry for affection. I have seen faces distorted with grief. Social work has not made me rich but God has already made me rich with the fullness of life.

In my youth, I loved a hymn, which in one remembered dedication night, we sang at a Methodist Youth Fellowship retreat somewhere in Malaysia. I want to share this with you because it has inspired me to be faithful when I have felt spiritually bereft. May this hymn ignite in you a burning desire to serve God in the quietness of your work.

O Master, let me walk with Thee

O Master, let me walk with thee in lowly paths of service free;
Tell me thy secret; help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care.

Help me the slow of heart to move by some clear, winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay, and guide them in the homeward way.

Teach me thy patience; still with thee in closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong, in trust that triumphs over wrong;

In hope that send a shining ray far down the future’s broadening way,
In peace that only thou canst give, with thee, O Master, let me live.

(Washington Gladden, 1879)