Integrating our Faith in our Profession
Integrating our Faith in our Profession

Joan Berg, OCAN Board Chair

It’s summer and our social calendars have exploded with activity. Our caseload remains high and the occasional emergency appears to be occurring every week. The one constant thread, our Orthodox faith, remains steady. However, the frequency of the clashing demands for our time seems to be increasing.

As Orthodox Christians, we have an opportunity to integrate our faith, our family life and our professional work, as well as our volunteer work, in fostering spiritual growth and witness. The New Testament provides foundational principles, while the wisdom of Orthodox Saints and the Church Fathers offers guidance on navigating this balance effectively. Ultimately, the perspective on balancing faith, family, friends, and work is grounded in the belief that all aspects of life, including labor, can be avenues for encountering God and fulfilling His divine plan. The Saints remind us that we are invited to see the beauty and sacredness in our daily tasks, whether in our private or our professional lives, offering them up as prayers and acts of devotion to the One who gives meaning to all labor.

The Apostle Paul exhorts in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” This verse underscores the Christian understanding that all work, whether secular or sacred, can be sanctified when done with a heart focused on God. Each task becomes an opportunity to glorify Him and to fulfill His purposes on earth.

Our profession offers each of us the opportunity to share our talents for the common good. Saint Basil the Great stresses the importance of sharing our talents and challenges us: “The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the one who is naked” (Homily on Luke). The task he sets out for us is to view our work not only as a means of sustenance but also as a means of serving others and glorifying God.

While we may be sharing our talents, we need to take care of God’s gift. Although we may be taking time for a meal, or some time for sleep, we should be setting aside time to nourish our souls. Our Church Fathers remind us not to be consumed by worldly pursuits at the expense of our spiritual life. Often, we are set in a routine, and we can take the time during our daily commute, for example, to read or listen to scripture or other Orthodox studies.

No doubt that balancing our professional and personal lives is a time management struggle. In practical terms, we can work through and test what type of spiritual nourishment fits our individual needs and schedules. And, with any new routine, we need to be able to adjust, allowing the routine to become a good habit in our private and professional lives. Fostering our spiritual nourishment, we can maintain a spirit of prayerfulness and humility in our work. By doing so, we demonstrate the words of Saint Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire the Spirit of Peace and thousands around you will be saved.”

Integrating faith with our profession involves aligning our professional endeavors with the Gospel teachings and the examples set by the Saints. Through our own spiritual nourishment, we have the ability to make our workplace a reflection of God's love and justice, thereby fulfilling our vocation as witnesses to Christ in the world.

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