Invite Jesus into your work

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | February 2, 2022

“He sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.” What a wonderful idea! In an age without loudspeakers or sound systems, it would have been difficult for people to hear Jesus if he had stayed on shore. So Jesus used Simon’s boat to help him address the crowds. The fishermen had already “disembarked and were washing their nets,” but Jesus didn’t call them away from the work they were doing. Instead, he asked them to get back into their boat and go back out onto the water. In other words, Jesus stepped into their workplace and taught from there.

Mary works in the mortgage department of a local bank. On any given day she may find herself helping a young couple purchasing their first home; a family moving to a larger, more spacious residence; a city dweller looking for a vacation home on the lake; or a retiree purchasing a condo in a senior community. But no matter who it is, somehow

Mary always manages to help her customers put together a mortgage arrangement that fits their unique situation. Her secret? Mary listens!
Mary goes to church every Sunday. She attends an occasional Bible study and even helps out as a catechist in her parish. But it’s when she invites Jesus into her office that the real preaching takes place.

When Mary listens to the hopes and dreams of her clients she, like Jesus, focuses on the people in front of her. She advises them on what they can realistically afford based on what they want and need, rather than on what she thinks will be the most profitable for the bank. Like Simon, Mary allows Jesus to use her workplace to preach the good news of justice and respect.

Simon invited Jesus into his boat. Mary invites Jesus into her office. Do we invite Jesus into our workplace? Are we willing to leave our old way of thinking behind and work differently as followers of Jesus? Or do we prefer to let Jesus preach in church while we remain on shore washing our nets?

Van Benthem is a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

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