James 2:18 in The Message reads “Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.” If you read James 2, the emphasis is “doing good works, especially to the needy” AND integrating that with our faith in Jesus. You cannot have one without the other.

The Message continues with God’s words:

Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that weave of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works? [1]

Daily Life on Display

The workplace may be the best place in society to exhibit the integration of our faith and work. Where else are our temper, our moods, our weaknesses so tempted—put on public display than at work? Yes, these things are revealed at home, but that usually stays at home. Yes, these attitudes and our sinful nature are also revealed playing sports, but often our teammates and opponents barely know us.  The people we work with interact with us every day. They watch, they observe, they judge.

Jesus’ Life on Display

Remember my relationship with Sue in Chapter 2 of WORKSHIP – Recalibrate Work and Worship? Sue was my office manager. One day I unknowingly asked her to do something illegal. When I discovered it was illegal, I went out of my way to ask Sue’s forgiveness for asking her to break the law. Sue worked with me five days a week. She knew me; as a result, she could not avoid knowing about Jesus. When Sue came to believe in Jesus a few years later, she cited this as one of the experiences she observed in my life that caused her to leave Buddhism. How we deal with failures as well as successes is a witness.

God has put a yearning for eternity in the hearts of every human being [2]. And as I’ve experienced in working with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and atheists, everybody wants to experience love. Everyone longs for forgiveness, grace, a personal relationship with God. But there are so many false gods, wrong ideologies and human philosophies competing for peoples’ attention. How are people to discover the way, the truth and the life [3]? By letting our light—His light within us—shine. We need to put it on a stand for all to see.

Faith on Display

Faith and work are yoked. If we are to be witnesses for Jesus, people need to see our faith as well as hear it. We need to weave our belief with our actions as Abraham did, to be right with and honor God. There is no better place to demonstrate our faith through work than getting a job and actually working with the people we are trying to reach.

[1] James 2:18-24 The Message
[2] Ecclesiastes 3:11, Romans 1:19-20
[3] John 14:6

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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