What About the Gray Areas?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

At the High Calling, we believe all work matters to God. Sometimes, when we talk to people about this core foundation which sits at the heart of the things we write and talk about here, there are individuals who raise an eyebrow and ask, “All work?”

These people are thinking about occupations considered illegal by those in authority over us, and these people are justified in their skepticism about God taking an interest in all work, especially when dealing with work that breaks the law of the land. In all things, the will of God is first and foremost.

But what about the gray areas? What about vocations that are completely legal, but that may be considered by some people to be immoral? How do we decide whether to say yes or no when an employment opportunity arises?

In a High Calling article, Ed Cyzewski offers "Five Questions to Ask When Work and Morals Collide":

  1. Can I become a redemptive presence at this job?
  2. Can I be redemptive without compromising love for God and love for my neighbor?
  3. Can I reshape my work to avoid a moral conflict?
  4. Have there been red flags about my work place?
  5. Can I find an exit plan?

In an informal poll on social media, when asked how to determine which is the best choice to make as a follower of Jesus who is faced with a difficult leadership decision, the most common piece of advice was, “Pray.”

In Romans, Paul urges us to not let the way everybody else does things become our standard. Instead, Paul says, “ … be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This transformation can happen only when we invite the Holy Spirit to change the way we see things. When we are transformed in this manner, God’s way of doing things replaces our way of doing things, even when God’s way seems countercultural (which it is), difficult, or unpopular.

God’s will for you may not always receive the approval of those people around you who are watching your every move. There may even be people in your Christian community who raise an eyebrow at the work to which you feel called. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and Jesus Christ were often misunderstood, and their work often crossed the lines of what was considered moral and even legal. But God’s purpose always won out.

Do you feel God calling you to work in the gray area? Don’t write off the opportunity simply because of what people might say. Instead, spend time in prayer and invite the Holy Spirit to transform you and to help you see the situation the way God sees it. “Then, “ Paul says, “you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you believe your work matters to God? How would your perception change if you believed God cares about our work? Are there some jobs God likes more than others? Why or why not?

PRAYER: Lord, I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I want to do things your way more than I want to do things my way. I invite you into my daily work. Help me to glorify you, even in the gray areas of this day. Amen.