Jethani urges Christians to go to work "with" God at Marketplace Mobilization 2017
Skye Jethani of Wheaton urged Cincinnati's working Christians to go to work "with" God March 4 at the 14th annual At Work on Purpose (AWOP) Marketplace Mobilization 2017 at Cincinnati Christian University.
Jethani, an ordained minister, author and blogger, speaks on a wide range of topics, including why Millennials are leaving the church; Christianity and consumerism; the intersection of faith and vocation; and what it looks like and means to live "with" God, not "under, over, from" or "for" him.
His book, With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, discusses four postures Christians can create for themselves that prevent them from having an authentic relationship with God.
"This book spoke to me in a profound way," said Chuck Proudfit, AWOP founder and president. "Ninety-five percent of Christians separate God from their work, and only about five percent struggle every day with parking our spiritual selves at the door when we go to work."
"Sometimes we have the view that our primary purpose is to obey God to win his approval or blessings," said Jethani. "The idea of living "under" God is that if we do the right things, we can control him and get him on our side."
If we live "over" God, we believe that by understanding natural laws and principles and placing more faith in science and technology than Him, we can take direct control over our world, he added.
"We put God over to the side, and he is not engaged in our lives," he said. "A Christian version of living over God is believing that if we run our lives and businesses according to biblical principles, life will go our way."
Living "from" God is probably the most common posture in American culture, said Jethani, because it is linked to what he calls "consumer Christianity," a view that sees God as a spiritual vending machine.
"It's the idea that God exists to be used like any other consumer product," he said. "Since we live in a consumer culture, we are often tempted to use God for our own needs or desires. God is not the goal, He is the means to achieve that goal… our consumer culture teaches us to use everything, including God."
Finally, Christians can fall into a trap of believing that they need to live "for" God. Jethani cited activist Christians, evangelists or social justice workers as examples of people who can become caught up in the belief that their lives only have value in relation to how much they achieve for God in this world.
"What the Father desires most is to have his children with him. The most important thing to God is not obedience or service, it's your presence," said Jethani. "God doesn't need you; he wants you."
Jethani said Christians can live a life "rooted in the Father," in which we abide in Him as He abides in us. This can be achieved through prayer, listening to God and cultivating a constant awareness of God's presence in all that we do.
AWOP, located in Blue Ash, Ohio, is the nation's largest, citywide marketplace ministry, connecting more than 8,000 working Christians in greater Cincinnati and the Miami Valley. Founded in 2003, AWOP is dedicated to equipping everyday Christians to find and fulfill God's purposes for them at work.
For more information, visit www.atworkonpurpose.org.
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