New Series: James on Work

james on work Feb 18, 2019

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8)

This morning, we start in chapter 1 with a focus on James’s call for us to ask God for wisdom. In verse 5, James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James leaves it open-ended as to what specifically we are to ask for wisdom about, leaving us to assume that he is inviting us to ask the Lord for wisdom about anything—including the seemingly big and little things related to our work.

Often times, I’m afraid we expect far too little from God, welcoming his wisdom as we seek to make major life decisions (such as where to move or who to marry), but failing to ask for his wisdom in the more routine matters of life and work (such as when we can’t see how we will meet a deadline at work, or we’re trying to discern product market fit, or when we’re trying to navigate a relationship with a difficult co-worker). James is inviting us to ask God for wisdom in all of these things and more.

Why does James place such a strong emphasis on asking God for wisdom? Well, most practically, as James 1 makes clear, God is the giver of all wisdom (verse 5) and “every good and perfect gift” (verse 17). God is the source of all true wisdom, so we would be fools not to ask him for wisdom as we work. But there’s a second reason we are called to explicitly ask God for wisdom: Asking for wisdom is one way in which we recognize that God is God and we are not, thus demonstrating our ultimate trust in him. As busy professionals, it can be easy to forget that it is God—not us—who produces results through our work. Regularly asking for his wisdom as we go about our work reminds us that it is God alone that gives us the wisdom to do our work well.

The Christian life is a matter of trusting God to provide all things, including wisdom as we work. Take a moment to humbly ask God for wisdom for specific things regarding the work ahead of you today.


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