“Business is an environment that both reveals and refines a person’s character and spirituality.”
This quote is taken from Scott Rae’s chapter, “Work and Sanctification,” which is found in Work: Theological Foundations and Practical Implications, edited by Keith Loftin and Trey Dimsdale (SCM Press: 2018). The whole chapter is worth the read, but I want to 1) highlight two important points, which might help you experience this in your vocation, and 2) challenge you to apply his points very practically to your work life.
“To summarize, the way in which workplace activity both requires in nurturing virtues essential to one’s character in spiritual life, consider the New Testament teaching on the fruit of the spirit and deeds of the flesh (Gal 5:19-25) and how those might be applied to the workplace. Consider which set of traits would make someone more employable. Vices such as jealousy, discord, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, and others would clearly disqualify someone from being hired, and would be grounds for termination in many contexts. By contrast, the fruits of the spirit, which include kindness, patience, self-control, gentleness, and faithfulness, are virtues that are in high demand in most workplaces” (134-135).
A good exercise for you would be to think through a recent work day and consider the ways in which your life gave evidence to the deeds of the flesh and/or the fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:19-25. Think through the way you approached tasks, how you made decisions, the manner in which you treated people in meetings or simply in passing, your responses to the unexpected or negative events, and maybe even your attitudes on your commute to/from work. As deeds of the flesh come to mind, ask the Lord to forgive you and, depending on the offense, make a list of people you might need to contact and seek forgiveness. As fruits of the Spirit come to mind, thank the Lord and the Holy Spirit for their grace in allowing your life to bear fruit.
By doing this regularly, you will find yourself more aware of what fruit is being evidenced in your life while you work. Hopefully, this will result in more intentionality in putting to death the deeds of the flesh and giving life to the fruits of the Spirit.
Spiritual disciplines should not be relegated to the time during which we are not working. They should be a regular part of our work day as well. Rae points out the importance of the disciplines of Sabbath rest, which he discusses in great detail, prayer, solitude, gratitude, and confession. His explanations of each of these disciplines will help you to easily consider how to make these an increasing part of your work day (136-141).
A good exercise for you is to create a list of these disciplines along with others you might want to include. I would suggest meditation on the word of God as a good addition. You may want to choose a verse or passage as your focus for each week. For the upcoming week, tape this list of disciplines to the side of your computer screen or another very visible place in your work environment. Using an alarm set to the hour, pause in your work day to consider which of these disciplines needs to be practiced. Modify this approach so that it is most useful to you and conducive to your work environment.
By doing this regularly you will find that the disciplines become more habitual in your work place environment.
Taking the time to consider the points that Rae is making and to intentionally bring them into your work day will stimulate more opportunities for your vocation to “reveal and refine your character and spirituality.” May the Lord be glorified in the way you approach your work day, and may you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord as a result.