How knowing the future changes our view of work
In the City, we’re used to the concept that the future shapes our present lives. Forecasts and predictions for the year ahead form the targets that we work hard to achieve. We are encouraged to make 5 or 10 year plans for where we would like our career to be. As Christians we’re told clearly in the Bible what the future holds but how should knowing this affect how we live and work in the City? We asked Clarinda, who works in fund management in the City, to share how learning what the Bible teaches about the end of the world has changed her perspective on work.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Revelation 21:3-4, ESV)
As a Singaporean, coming from a Chinese culture, work has always been highly ranked in the list of life’s priorities. We were engineered to do well in school so that we are able to get a good job, to do well in our jobs, to get promotions to higher positions, to make a lot of money to have a more luxurious lifestyle. This ideal image of a person with a good job that makes a lot of money has been imprinted in our minds for us to chase since a very young age, allowing us to believe that that is what we should all strive for, and only when we have reached that point, will we be seen as successful in life.
This mindset was difficult to change, and it only was after attending a church weekend away on the end of the world, that God helped to change my perspective on work. What really struck me during that weekend’s teaching was the fact that only Godly behaviour and God’s church/people will last into the new creation, nothing else lasts.
"But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:13, ESV)
Once this fact sank in, it made me reflect my priorities. The first question that challenged me was why would I invest time and effort in something that won’t last? The time we spend in this worldly life is close to negligible, when we compare it to the time we are going to spend in the new creation (God promised us eternal life after death in this earth). Hence, in the grand scheme of things, work in this world started to seem a lot less important.
The next question was how then should I prioritise? Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Glorifying God by spreading the gospel and being godly at work started to become more obvious priorities to have, as these are investing time and effort in things that will last. It made me realise that I should prioritise God and His work before my own work ambition in the workplace.
The last question I had was how should I go about doing God’s work in my workplace? There are two ways; the first is to use any and every opportunity to speak to colleagues about Jesus and to invite them to attend lunch time talks or guest events. As Christians, we should endeavour to let our colleagues know what the future holds so that they too can enjoy an eternal relationship with God in the new creation. The other way is to support other Christians in the workplace by reminding each other of what our future holds and therefore to prioritise God and doing His work in the office.
Knowing that the future is eternal life in the new creation, and understanding what lasts into the new creation, has changed my mindset and priorities, and more succinctly, it has taught me that I am a full-time Christian and just a part-time worker in my workplace.