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The Blessing of Work
to Our Spiritual Lives


by Bill Peel, Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Work

As a young businessman, R.G. LeTourneau came face to face with a decision that would shape his life. Wanting to be all in for God, he sought advice from his pastor. He told his pastor that God had taken him out of spiritual bankruptcy during a recent revival and that he had promised God that he would do anything God wanted him to do from that moment on.

"But how can I know what He wants me to do?" LeTourneau said, "I know a layman can't serve Him like a preacher can, but tell me, does He want me to serve as a missionary?"

His pastor knelt and prayed with him, As they arose from their knees, God spoke to the young LeTourneau through the words of his pastor.

"You know, Brother LeTourneau," his pastor said, "God needs businessmen as well as preachers and missionaries."

Those words guided his life ever since that day.

Was his pastor recommending a life of second-class citizenship in God's kingdom, a place where LeTourneau's spiritual life would shrivel up for lack of exercise? Absolutely not!

At LeTourneau University, we believe work is a gift of God. But because we live in a fallen world full of broken human beings, the workplace is full of challenges that press against our faith.

By sheer force of time, the workplace has an overwhelmingly strong shaping influence on human hearts and character. Workplace values and challenges on Monday can whittle away at the thin influence of a few hours worship on Sunday. Commitments and good intentions can evaporate quickly under the heat of economic pressure and competition.

LeTourneau's pastor knew that the workplace is one of the most important places God calls us to serve others and grow our personal faith. Rather than wilt LeTourneau's faith, God used the challenges of the workplace to form LeTourneau into a giant of faith and give him a foretaste of flourishing in God's kingdom.

American scholar and author Eugene Peterson paraphrased James's encouraging words and reminds us that the largest challenges present the biggest opportunity for spiritual growth:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors... Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 MSG)

For most Christians, the relentless challenges of the workplace are where godly character is tried, tested, proven, and matured.

When men and women become aware of God's interest and personal presence in their work, the pressures of work create opportunity for spiritual growth.

That growth happens when the reality of the most powerful, life-altering, culture-changing force in the world—the gospel of Jesus Christ—dawns in our hearts at work.

It is Christ, not workplace values, that inexorably mold our character. Grace replaces resentment. Integrity replaces duplicity. Generosity replaces possessiveness. Love replaces hate. The desire to serve replaces the craving for power. Rest replaces frantic striving. Humility replaces prideful self-absorption.

Corporate worship, Bible studies, quiet times, and discipleship groups all create capacity for our spiritual development, but real formation occurs when the power of the gospel confronts our worldly attitudes in the everyday transactions of life and work.

LeTourneau University birthed the Center for Faith & Work to champion R.G. LeTourneau's legacy of work shaped by faith in Christ.

Rather than wilting our faith, the workplace can become a place of dynamic growth, spiritual influence, and human flourishing when we bring the power of the gospel to bear on the daily challenges work brings.

Resources designed to help individuals, businesses, and churches bring the transforming power of Christ into the workplace are available at CenterForFaithAndWork.com.