We at CFWLA are celebrating this season of advent expectation with a four-part series of devotionals that seek to honestly acknowledge the depth of our brokenness and the far-reaching hope of the gospel, specifically in the work we engage with every day. Part four of our series will focus on resting in the love of Jesus to then love our neighbor as ourselves at work and beyond. You can read the series in its entirety HERE.
It’s an easy, natural and human thing to examine the work of your hands right before Christmas. Year-end projects, annual reviews, and endless personal expenditures cause us to question our work. “Am I making enough? Am I doing enough? Am I enough?”
Our focus is on our own comfort and assurance and, as Christians, this drives us to God.
We can recall Romans 8:28 states God works all things together for good for those who love him. So we are reassured he loves us and is in control of our world, even in the year-end struggle.
But then we are reminded that he calls us to love our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31), even when they are a petulant boss, a demanding officemate, or a client who is impossible to please. We are called to the kind of love that’s sacrificial, unconditional, and painful at times.
Unfortunately we often seek to do this on an empty tank. We forget that he promises to provide us all the things we need in that same Romans 8 passage, “...will he not also with him (Christ) give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
Our response to Advent must be to love both God and neighbor. But we can’t do this on our own, and we know it.
Advent means that we must seek the Father, who did not spare his Son. There is no greater cosmic cost than the Father turning his face away while Christ died the death we deserved. If we trust him with our salvation, why don’t we trust him with our situation so we can be freed up and given the grace to see and care for the needs of others God has placed in our lives?
We can trust that we are called to love because we are made for and restored for love’s sake. One of the “all things” God gives his people is the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). This is the kind of mind that doesn’t seek equality with God, but rather humility before man. We will never do this perfectly in this life, but through his work in the first Advent, God will use our broken and imperfect efforts as we call out to him for help.
Yet we long for a Second Advent. We need the final and full redemption of all things (Rev. 21:5). Though we are given all things necessary in this season of struggle, we need to see all things restored, renewed, and redeemed. We need to be able to gather as the Bride and adore our Groom with unveiled face (2 Cor. 3:18).
But for now, we groan. We wait. We look to the First Advent as a reminder and guarantee that the Second Advent is surely coming soon. It will be an eternity of work without thorns and restored intimacy with God and neighbor. But today, we work with excellence and love one another because the Spirit makes us alive and helps us every step of the way.
So rest assured, though the work is fallen, the First and Second Advent assure us that we are able to love both God and neighbor. And we are hastening toward a day of all things being made new.
Most merciful God, we have not loved you as we ought. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. For the sake of your Son Jesus, grant us forgiveness and pardon. Help us to love the stakeholders in our companies, those who are overlooked and downtrodden and those who grieve and mourn this holiday season. May we return to work this new year with a refreshed hope, unbridled peace, contagious joy, and sacrificial love. We pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Will Sorrell (MDiv and MBA Candidate, Beeson Divinity School and Brock School of Business at Samford University) is a graduate student researcher for the Beeson Divinity Global Center, focusing on faith and work, business as mission, and entrepreneurship and investing. He lives in Birmingham, AL. with his bride and Labrador retriever. You can follow him on Twitter.