God-Ordained Work

   In earlier years I wrestled as to whether my choice to be a pilot was selfish.  Could aviation be used for God’s glory or was this an act of selfish ambition?  I had the idea that being part of a mission/bush pilot organization was more spiritual or holy than other flying jobs.

Several years after being hired as a First Officer at AirMidwest Airlines, I stepped off the Beech 1900D to deplane customers at Reading, PA.  it was there that a non-revving USAirways Flight Attendant handed me a brochure called the TRIM TAB.  This was my introduction to the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel; but more importantly, it led to my realization as to how my work in the airline industry had purpose to serve the Lord, and that I could view this as God-ordained work.

View of Work Throughout History

   Plato and Aristotle viewed that the majority of men should do the heavy work, so the minority of men might engage in higher pursuits, such as art, philosophy, and politics.  In that period artisans and craftsmen were considered a little better than slaves.  Slavery in and of itself was an institution based on the loathing of work.  In the Roman era, Marcus Tullius Cicero, of the first century BC, basically viewed working daily for a livelihood was unbecoming of a gentleman (free born man).  Many in the aviation realm today, even Christians, unfortunately view work as a curse.

What Does Scripture Say?

   In Scripture, however, God clearly affirms the concept of work as He placed Adam to have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28).  In Genesis 2:8 and 15 we read that God placed Adam in the garden to cultivate it.  This was a vocation leading to participation in God’s work rather than placing a burden on us to perform and achieve a goal so that we will be accepted by God.  Adam participated in God’s work.

King Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes that labor is from the hand of God.  In verses 18 and 19 of chapter 5, he writes, “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which toils under the sun all the days of his life which God give him; for it is his heritage … this is a gift from God.”  To summarize, labor is good, labor is from the hand of God, labor is a gift of God.  Rejoice in His labor.

Questions of Consider

  • If we view work as a curse, how does this affect our diffusing the fragrance (aroma) of Christ Jesus in our workplace? Do we carry a pleasing fragrance spiritually…or do we stink?
  • If we stink, will co-workers learn to stay away from God because of how we behave? Will they not want to serve God because we are negative role models or because we think or act as if God would not support our profession?
  • Do we feel “missionaries” on a far-off mission field make a greater sacrifice than we do in our work?

I am no exception … I have fallen for these misconceptions.  Then over the years it has become reality that wherever God has allowed each of us to participate in work, we can all be used for His glory and to serve Him in whatever profession or in whatever location He has placed us.  Here is one more question to consider (taken from the book written by Paul Curtas, When God Shows Up at Work):

“5,000 hours of our lifetime could be given for the Sunday or weekly services that we may attend for church.  90,000 hours of our lifetime may be provided for our workplace location on an average.  That would be an 18:1 ratio of time given to us.  Imagine standing before Jesus our Messiah on judgement day.  He would know about the 5,000 hours that we attended church, but if He were to ask about the 90,000 hours in the workplace…what would the answer be?”

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of knowledge of Him in everyplace.”   2 Corinthians 2:14    

This article was written by Eugene Kraybill.  Eugene serves on our FCAP Board of Directors and as Senior Chaplain at the Washington-Dulles International Airport. He is regional Chief Pilot for Mesa Airlines at IAD.  His wife Christina also serves in the  IAD Chapel.

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