Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, may be more like some of us than we want to admit. There was clearly no misunderstanding about his particular mission. Chapter 1, verse 1 (Old Testament book of Jonah) says, "The Word the Lord came to Jonah." He was clearly called to go to Ninevah (east). Instead, he caught a boat sailing from Joppa to Tarshish (due west). Disregarding his commission, Jonah thought he could blend into the crowd on a Tarshish-bound ship. When the fury of the storm rose up to threaten all aboard, Jonah's company asked him an interesting question: "What is your occupation?' (v. 8)
Isn't it interesting that Jonah's faith and occupation (work) are identified as intrinsically connected by a people who didn't even know him or the Lord? This is true for every man and woman who loves the Lord and is "called according to His purpose." Spiritually speaking, you can no more separate a person's faith from his occupation (or work or calling) than you can separate fire from heat. And the people in your workplace are looking to you, as God's messenger, to use your "word from Him" to love them and lead them in the right direction. Furthermore, Jonah wasn't steering the boat, but his (lack of) obedience to God was directly impacting everyone else on board.
Let Jonah teach us some workplace lessons.
- We cannot "blend" into anonymity among our co-workers. They are observing us even if they don't know us.
- We are an influence on everyone else on our "ship." We carry great workplace influence even when we are unaware of it.
- Lack of obedience to God can be detrimental to everyone else in the company. Likewise, genuine obedience to the Lord can serve as a huge blessing!
- Our occupations and our faith are spiritually linked and those around us know it.
So embrace the link! Eventually, Jonah did and a city was changed. What will happen in your office, workplace and city if and when you embrace this same link? Jump ship if you need to and "head east" or wherever the word of the Lord takes you with regard to your occupational calling. Have a great day and really make it count for Christ!