Can a Secular Endeavor Be Spiritual?


A secular endeavor approached from a spiritual perspective is spiritual. A spiritual endeavor approached from a secular perspective is secular.

The speaker said, "Your company is your church. The people who work with you, sell to you, buy from you...those are your parishioners. Some are going to be sold out to Christ. Some don’t know and don’t care. But they’re all within your ‘reach' and within your influence. It’s your job to meet every one of them ‘where they are,' to pray for them, serve them, love and accept them…and point them to Jesus, both with your words and with your life.” 

That was different!

"But I’m responsible to my boss and to the shareholders!" you say. "I've got budgets to meet and numbers to make. How can my job be ‘spiritual’ like a pastor’s job?"

Hold that thought!

Skip to the conversation I had with the senior pastor: “Who is the CEO of your church?” I asked. “I am,” he said quickly. (Whoa! "I am." Didn't someone else say that somewhere?)

How can a secular job--a job dealing with inventory, code, contracts, deliveries, lawsuits, heart attacks, interns, HR--how can these jobs be spiritual? And how can the work of a senior pastor of a large church be anything other than spiritual?

Here’s how:

A secular endeavor, approached from a spiritual perspective, is spiritual.

A spiritual endeavor, approached from a secular perspective, is secular.

It’s all about motive. It’s about why you do what you do. If the business leader goes to work for spiritual purposes, his work is spiritual. If he works to bring glory to God by “doing his work heartily as to the Lord,” it’s spiritual. If he’s passionately loving and serving people out of gratitude and obedience because God told him to "love one another," because he "considers others better than himself," because even if he wants to be great, he does everything he does in the spirit of service. If this is why he works, he’s "in the ministry." And his work is spiritual.

If the senior pastor’s motive is to continue church growth, make budget, raise capital, expand programs, and be famous for leading the great, big church down the street--then his work is secular. And God may move far from it. And him.

The pastors and church leaders we admire and follow aren't focused on money, the number of “cheeks in the seats," or on the next building to be built. They’re focused on changing lives--and on being used to help someone move one step closer to Jesus. It’s getting in on what God is doing.

God is all about motive. Science is about how. God is about why. Science tries to explain how God created everything. But it has no answers to why

Do you go to work to make money? Earn a living?

Without a doubt.

Do you work to apply your gifts and abilities? Feel valuable? Do good work and feel good about yourself?

All of the above.

And there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

Both you and your pastor get to choose every day. Secular work or spiritual work? There’s no purely spiritual job--with the exception of maybe a monk or something. A pastor has to oversee the finances and stuff. There’s a secular piece for sure.

And we lay people have to make money--money to give, to save and to live. No argument here. The challenge is in the true priorities of our heart. Here’s why God’s love is so amazing...one of many reasons. He says in Proverbs 16:2, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.” 

Isn't it cool that our Heavenly Father accepts us, even with our mixed motives? He knows our hearts, “weighs our motives,” and loves us anyway. He loves us extravagantly in our humanity. Way cool.

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