Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Ministry of Secular Employment

Have you ever considered your day job to be a secular ministry? I am a software engineer that works in a corporate office. My occupation does not directly aid the Gospel, but the office place nevertheless provides opportunities to cultivate virtues like obedience (to managers), self-control (in professional disagreements), persistence (to get the job done right), chastity (by averting the eyes from comely women), and so forth. What we do outside of church and prayer still matters. All must render an account of their authority and work (Ecclesiastes 12:14). St. Gregory Nazianzen admonished men who treated the priesthood as an "absolute authority instead of a ministry of which we must give an account" (Orations 2 § 8). Likewise, I think Christians working secular jobs should also view their employment as a ministry.

Through humble obedience to superiors (no matter how meager the work), many saints and have reaped great spiritual rewards from the Lord: "Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities" (Matt 25:23). His words are very important about the nature of honest work. The more that is given and spent correctly, the "more will be given and he will grow rich" (Matt 25:29). Whether it is completing a task or keeping a professional secret, greater tasks and greater secrets will be given to the man who is faithful! Is this really a new revelation? Even atheists know how faithfulness leads to rewards.

By the sustenance of the Lord, may you perform your job with integrity. Amen.