Busting Myths: Sacred vs. Secular with Jordan Raynor
Today, I am starting with a new mini-series called “Your Work Matters.” The three posts in this mini-series will focus on your work, how to improve, and the intersection of work and faith.
I am excited to kick off this mini-series with my friend Jordan Raynor talking about the sacredness of our secular work. Today, Jordan and I are diving into what we think about work in light of eternity.
Jordan Raynor is an author, podcast host, and executive chairman of Threshold 360. Through his bestselling books, the Mere Christians podcast, and his weekly devotionals, Jordan has helped millions of Christians in every country on earth connect the gospel to their work.
Jordan’s new book, The Sacredness of Secular Work, teaches us that our daily jobs matter for eternity, even when we are not explicitly sharing the gospel. His best-selling book, Redeeming Your Time, is a practical road map for using 7 Biblical principles to be purposeful, present, and wildly productive.
Let’s dive in.
I asked Jordan why he thinks so many Christians, especially women, completely negate the value of their work unless they are in ministry. His answer – because for the first time ever in church history, in the last 200 years, we have begun treating the Great Commission, as the only commission that Jesus gave us. And that’s just not the case. First and foremost, Jesus never said this was the only thing that we were called to do was save souls.
The value of secular work depends upon the value of creation, and the value of creation depends on what God’s going to do with this creation in the end. Jordan references how, in Genesis, God meant He said so much so that He’s not going to destroy this material world but redeem and renew it. And that has direct implications for how we think about the sacredness of our secular work. And if Jesus’ blood was sufficient to redeem our soul and all of creation, then our work with all of creation, like typing on aluminum MacBooks, planting gardens, or changing diapers, must matter deeply to God.
Jordan says we don’t spend enough time thinking about eternity. And the problem with that is it leads us to settle for these half-truths about heaven rather than the whole truth that we find in scripture. The first example of a half-truth he provides is that Earth is our temporary home. That’s a half-truth because the whole truth is that Earth is our temporary home until this Earth is perfectly redeemed, perfectly renewed, and our perfect permanent home.
The second example of a half-truth is that we will worship for eternity. And when this is preached in our churches, leads us to think of endless harps and harp escorts in the clouds. But Jordan explains that yes, we will worship for eternity if we have a full definition of that word, worship. He gives Genesis 2:15, Revelation 22:5, and Isaiah 65 as references for context. Jordan reminds us that eternity is not a vacation on the new earth. It is a vocation with King Jesus without the curse. And that makes perfect sense when you understand the context of this full narrative of Genesis 1.
Jordan’s tip on how to make disciples is to start the conversation with a surface-level question and gradually go deeper. For example, Jordan’s buddy Brian is a lapsed Catholic. And the next time he sees him, Jordan will enter this question into the conversation, “Hey, what are your kids’ favorite Christmas traditions?” Then Jordan will ask, “Did you grow up going to Christmas Eve Mass?” After that, “Why’d you stop going?” And lastly, “Hey, would you guys wanna come to church with my wife, the kids, and myself on Christmas Eve?” So, you’ll gradually get deeper as the conversation goes on.
“The value of secular work depends upon the value of creation, and the value of creation depends on what God’s going to do with this creation in the end.”(YT 05:59) (Audio 5:50)
“The half-truths of heaven rob our joy and purpose in the present and hope for the future.”(YT 10:16) (Audio – 9:49)
“The half-truth that earth is our temporary home…That’s kind of true, but the whole truth is earth is our temporary home until this earth is perfectly redeemed, perfectly renewed, and is our perfect permanent home.”(YT 10:21) (Audio – 9:55)
“Another half-truth is that we will worship for eternity, which when preached in our churches leads us to think of endless harps and harp escorts in the clouds…Eternity is not a vacation on the new earth. It is a vocation with King Jesus without the curse.”(YT 10:36) (Audio – 10:09)
“The very same thing I am doing today is simply rehearsing something that is eternal and one day will be perfectly consummated with Christ on the new Earth.”(YT 12:15) (Audio – 11:46)
“We mere Christians working as entrepreneurs and baristas in the pews inevitably feel guilty about working in the very places most likely to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”(YT 20:21) (Audio – 20:13)
“Jesus did not promise your best life now but he did promise your best life for eternity if we are willing to sacrifice for his sake in the present. Sacrificing money and time for his sake and the good of others.”(YT 24:27) (Audio -23:07)
“More Christians should have anti-bucket lists, things that we are intentionally delaying gratification from, intentionally ignoring so that we can accumulate as many eternal rewards as possible.”(YT 24:53) (Audio – 23:32)
“When you understand that 100% of your time at work matters for eternity and not just the 1% of the time you spend walking somebody through the Romans Road, you are fully alive and fully alive people attract the lost like honey attracts bees.”(YT (27:27) (Audio – 26:04)
“God never calls me or anyone to be the best. He calls me to do the best with whatever he has put in my hands, and He doesn’t need me to do anything.”YT (34:57) (Audio 32:37)
This week in our Coaching segment, we are wrapping up our Clarity Questions for 2023. This is a great chance to look back on the past year and reflect before moving forward. Feel free to pause and journal the answers in order to get the most out of this time.
1) What are three words to describe the past year and why? (YT 42:30) (Audio 40:46)
2) What did I learn about myself this year? (YT 42:42) (Audio 41:03)
3) Were there any risks I avoided out of fear? And if there were risks you voided out of fear, why? (YT 43:06) (Audio 41:18)
4) If you could travel back to the beginning of the year, what advice or encouragement would you tell yourself? (YT 43:24) (Audio – 41:32)
5) What would your 90-year-old self advise you to pursue right now? (YT 43:40) (Audio 41:45)
Hope you loved this episode! Be sure to subscribe in iTunes and slap some stars on a review! 🙂
PS. Be sure to click over to YouTube to hear my bonus review of Wonka!