If Jesus really is Lord over all things, then Abraham Kuyper’s statement that every square inch of creation belongs to Christ takes on added significance. We are not only expected to crown Jesus as Lord of all someday in a heavenly future; we are required to acknowledge his dominion over all things every day.
That means we can never exclude him from any space or time in our lives. We do not say to him, “Jesus, you can be Lord of my life in church, but the workplace is mine, and I’m the one who makes things happen there.” No, he is Lord over all, or he is not Lord at all.
There is a genuine busyness that flows from dedicated devotion to God’s purposes. But it’s not a devotion that excludes him. Biblical balance keeps us available to God. Hellish busyness makes us unavailable to God. We are off course when we think to ourselves: I’m too busy for the niceties of honoring God. I can’t be bothered with prayer. There is no space in my schedule for devotions or worship. I don’t have the luxury of time to consider what God’s word says about this decision.
No, if it’s biblically balanced busyness, then I should always have time for a spoken prayer to God, or at least a thought arrow requesting his help before I pick up the phone for an important conversation, or type a memo for a meeting, or plan a conversation with a coworker.
If my business decisions allow no time for counsel from God’s word or a Christian friend, then I am being ruled by a schedule that has put God on the sidelines of my life. What’s the problem with that? Read the opening words of Psalm 127 again: “Unless the Lord builds the house . . .” Biblical busyness does not exclude biblical habits or spiritual disciplines.
All of us need the opportunity to ask ourselves, Is what I’m about to do truly going to honor God? Will this demonstrate God’s priorities to the people I work for or who work for me? Are my actions an appropriate expression of God’s character and care? Am I available to God in the way my work is being done? Is what I am doing or planning to do consistent with the principles of Scripture?
We can get so preoccupied with our work that we fail to make ourselves available to the God who makes it possible and fruitful. So the psalmist challenges us here, saying that unless God builds the house we’re working in vain, even if we bring all our talents and efforts to the table.
Dedicating ourselves to God is not a disadvantage. The time spent in praise is not wasted.
A Song for the Journey
What makes us involve God in our work other than feeling guilty if we don’t? Part of the answer is found in the heading or superscription of Psalm 127, which reminds us of its source and purpose. The heading reads, “A Song of Ascents.”
This psalm was written by Solomon for a very specific purpose. As pilgrims came into Jerusalem and began to ascend Mount Zion, going up to the temple to worship and praise God, this is one of the songs they would sing. Though the people were singing about their work, they were pulling away from their daily labors for a time of worship.
This context of the psalm reminds us that because the Lord had constantly made himself available to these people, they were setting aside time for his worship. They prioritized approaching him because he had been present for them. Despite their sins and failings, he had sustained them through troubles and trials. His constant presence was both the cause of their praise and the assurance that they could rest from their labors to honor him.
God is also present for us in our place of work. That’s why we can approach him there at all times in prayer and rest from our labors long enough to honor him. He can take care of things while we worship. Dedicating ourselves to God is not a disadvantage. The time spent in praise is not wasted. Since the Lord is responsible for our livelihood and our family’s welfare, we have no more important task than uniting our hearts to him. Being reminded that we are his beloved and that he controls all things for our eternal benefit is good for our blood pressure as well as for a business that needs employees and employers not controlled by anxiety.
The assurance we need to find balance in our lives is the gospel, which this psalm makes apparent in a nutshell: a loving Lord has made a way for us to come to him. When that truth begins to hit you, a certain awe comes into your heart: He shouldn’t care about me. He’s got a universe to run. Yet the Lord loves me and has made a way for me to come to him; more than that, he invites me to involve him in every aspect of my life so that I can rest in the confidence that the tough problems and people are in his control.
When you begin to treasure what God has done for you, then you want to involve him—for reasons more than guilt—in your workplace. He has your best interests in mind. He loves you enough to send his Son for you. He promises that he will work for eternal good whatever earthly work you do. He promises in his word, “I’ve got this.” So you can rest from the drivenness that comes from thinking you’ve got to have a handle on everything, every moment. And the very reason that you can be so energized for the hard work he calls you to do is that you’re so well rested in his care.