By / Aug 25

Scripture calls Christians to glorify God in all elements of life (1 Cor. 10:31). However, connecting our faith to our vocation can often be a challenge. Furthermore, some Christians work in a nonvocational ministry setting while sensing a call to full-time ministry. What does it look like to glorify God in our workplace? And how can it prepare those going into vocational ministry?

I interviewed Param Yonzon, a seminary student and pastoral intern who works full-time for a corporate insurance firm. Yonzon shared how he lives his faith out in his workplace and why he believes his role at his firm has made him a better minister of the gospel. The lessons he shares are important and applicable whether you plan to enter full-time ministry or not. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your vocation.

I am originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am 24 years old, and I’ve been living in New York for seven years now. I originally came to New York in 2014 for my undergraduate degree at St. John’s University. I studied risk management and insurance, and I ended up getting a job at Marsh McLennan, a global insurance brokerage firm. 

I came to faith when I was 20 years old, in my sophomore year in college. I was raised in a Buddhist household, so I was not raised with a Christian worldview. God got a hold of me through a local church near my college. I sat under Bible/gospel preaching for two years and was discipled by the church’s associate pastor. I eventually came to faith after my father was diagnosed with cancer. 

Ever since coming to faith, I’ve had a heart for evangelism and missions. So I decided to pursue a theological education after getting my undergraduate degree. 

I am currently in seminary and working toward getting my MABS. I’ve been attending Reformed theological seminary in New York City, where I’ve been trained by teachers like Dr. Timothy Keller and Ligon Duncan. 

My aspiration is to eventually become a church planter in the city. 

What are some particular challenges of being a Christian in your area of work?

The biggest challenge I face in my area of work is the idolatry of money. In finance/insurance, there is a culture of an ever-unsatisfying pursuit of wealth. 

Colleagues will move from job to job, team to team, company to company, and city to city to fulfill their desire to make a better paycheck. Most of my subordinates at work always have a lingering feeling that the grass is greener on the other side — that is, there is a better opportunity elsewhere for work. 

Part of the challenge of working in this type of culture is that it is alluring and easy to fall into. I can easily come to a place where I look at my co-workers not as image-bearers, but projects and steps that can help me advance in my career and paycheck. 

How does being a Christian bring purpose and direction to your vocation?

Being a Christian in my workplace has radically changed how I view every person I work with. 

The doctrine of the image of God has helped me process why I should treat every employee, no matter their job, as a person who has infinite value because they are made in the image of God. 

Being a Christian in my workplace has also changed how I view my talents, skillset, and knowledge. God has gifted everyone of us with certain abilities, and it is our duty to cultivate and sculpt those skills for his glory. 

Lastly, being a Christian in my workplace has changed how I view my work in light of God‘s redemptive plan for the world. I know that everything that I do at work plays a part in the long redemptive-historical narrative of Christ, and therefore, everything I do at work matters. 

What advice would you give to a believer who aims to go into your line of work?

The biggest piece of advice I would give to someone aiming to go into my line of work is to learn to cultivate the desire to do the work you are called to do at the present time. 

Most of my anxiety at work occurs when I’m trying to be at two places at once. But, when I make an effort to be present with the work that is before me, I typically end up doing an amazing job. Christ honors even the smallest of attempts to glorify him, especially when we anchor our hope and aim to do every task to the glory of God. 

You mentioned that you are currently a seminary student and aspire to church plant. How do you integrate your call to ministry with working in a full-time, non-ministry position?

Many times in my ministry with youth students, I encounter the same heart problems that young professionals in the workplace have. Often, the heart problems deal with anxiety for the future, relationships not working out, and a works-righteousness mentality (best career, resume, titles, etc.). 

I also know that the Lord has given me a set of spiritual gifts. Things such as preaching, teaching, and hospitality. All of these skills are transferable and applicable to my non-ministry position. Perhaps I’m not preaching, but I can teach certain things I’ve learned to the rest of my co-workers.

One of the things I am more conscious about, as a client advisor, is people do not receive information just by telling them facts. People need illustrations, analogies, and sensory details to understand the full picture of the facts you are presenting to them. I don’t ever want to use my preaching skills in order to advance my career success, but it has led me to become a better persuader and storyteller. 

Working a non-ministry job has also allowed me to learn about the depths of common grace that God has toward all mankind. I have met many talented, smart, and wise people at my work. And most of them are non-Christians. My job has allowed me to see that God loves to glorify himself through their tasks, jobs, and skills because they were created in his image.

How has the gospel shaped the way you view your workplace?

The biggest way the gospel has shaped my view of the workplace is by helping me understand that work is a good thing. Work was created before the fall in Genesis 3. And therefore, work can bring a sort of satisfaction that all mankind can find. However, the gospel has also taught me why work can be hard, daunting, and hurtful because of the Fall. Work can be brutal when left in a toxic environment. A Christian worldview, a gospel-saturated worldview, will leave a person with a sense of the goodness of work in the midst of its brokenness. 

However, ultimately, one day work will be made new. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, all those who repent and trust in him will eventually find a place where there is an infinite amount of ways we can glorify God, in an infinite amount of time, with an infinite amount of grace, and with no sin at all. 

I am looking forward to the day that Jesus redeems the workplace. 

This is the first article in a new series on Vocation. This and future pieces can be found here.

By / May 19

Our jobs help us serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing, both for the individual and for communities. Conversely, not having a job can adversely affect the spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals and families.

For many of our fellow citizens, joblessness is a serious and ongoing crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of May, 20.5 million Americans are out of work. While most of those losses are due to the COVID-19 layoffs, almost 1 million have been out of work for 12 months or more. An additional 574,000 unemployed individuals are “discouraged workers” who have stopped looking for work because they believe no job is available to them in their line of work or area, they had previously been unable to find work, they lack the necessary schooling, training, skills, or experience, employers think they are too young or too old, or they face some other type of discrimination.[1]

To help us minister to the unemployed, there are three things Christians should do:

1. Develop a biblical view of work and jobs  

Before we can minister to the jobless, we must first understand what jobs are for. 

The Genesis account of creation tells us that from the beginning humanity was created to work. God puts Adam in the garden to “work and watch over it.” As Rev. Robert Sirico has said, “The Scripture provides an insight into our nature: We are all, man and woman, called into this life to find our vocation, the work that is uniquely ours and contributes to the flourishing of the wider community.”[2]

For most of us, the work we do at our jobs is the primary way we serve our neighbor. It is also a way that we glorify God. As Gene Veith says,

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. And he does. The way he gives us our daily bread is through the vocations of farmers, millers, and bakers. We might add truck drivers, factory workers, bankers, warehouse attendants, and the lady at the checkout counter. Virtually every step of our whole economic system contributes to that piece of toast you had for breakfast. And when you thanked God for the food that he provided, you were right to do so.[3]

Because jobs can serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing, they are the most important part of a morally functioning economy.

2. Recognize unemployment as a health crisis 

Numerous surveys and studies have found that unemployment can have negative effects on communities, families, and a person’s subjective well-being and self-esteem. 

For example, research has found that the longer Americans are unemployed, the more likely they are to report signs of poor psychological well-being. A Gallup survey found about one in five Americans who have been unemployed for a year or more say they currently have or are being treated for depression. The survey also reports unemployed Americans are more than twice as likely to say they currently have or are being treated for depression than both those with full-time jobs and those who have been unemployed for five weeks or less.[4]

For young people, the stigma of not having a job may be devastating enough that it is similar to adding 30 years of aging to one’s physical well-being. The Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index found that among 47 high-income countries, the physical well-being of unemployed youth aged 15 to 29 is statistically tied with that of employed adults aged 50 and older—26% vs. 24% thriving, respectively.[5]

A 2011 study of the long-term unemployed published by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University also found that half of participants experienced shame and embarrassment that led them to isolate themselves from friends and associates. Among the long-term unemployed, 31.1% reported spending two hours or less with family or friends the previous day, versus 21.5% among short-term unemployed adults.[6]

To effectively minister to the unemployed, churches must recognize that joblessness has profound effects on the mental and physical health of the unemployed and minister to those needs.

3. Recognize unemployment as a spiritual crisis 

Long-term unemployment is not just a mental and physical health crisis; it’s also a spiritual crisis—and the church is the only institution that can adequately respond. “Fortunately, the church is in a unique place to explain Christ’s restoration of work,” says Michael Jahr, “the meaning of suffering, and the hope and peace that result from putting our trust in him.”[7]

Jahr offers three ways to assess how effectively your church or parachurch organization is ministering to the unemployed and underemployed within your congregation and community:

  • Examine whether you are providing encouragement, dignity, and accountability, or merely engaging in what long-time urban ministry leader Bob Lupton describes as “toxic charity”—charity that leads to dependency, deception, and disempowerment of an individual in need.
  • Look for ways to foster entrepreneurship to creatively meet human need, add value, and further the common good.
  • Engage business people in finding solutions to joblessness and poverty. In particular, find ways that you can provide jobs for those in your area or help to train those who need marketable skills.

“The church has the message and resources necessary to revive the broken spirit and restore the downtrodden,” says Jahr. “The question is whether the church will discern this opportunity and take action.”

Jobs are important to the flourishing of the individual, the community, and the economy—which is why unemployment should be a primary concern for the church. Helping people find work that is uniquely their own and contributes to the flourishing of the wider community should always be one of the chief economic concerns for the Christian community.   

A version of this article originally appeared in our WORK issue of Light Magazine. 


  1. ^ Bureaus of Labor Statistics, “The Employment Situation — September 2017.”
  2. ^ “Rev. Sirico: ‘Jobs & deficits — the moral equation,’” Acton Institute PowerBlog.
  3. ^ Gene Veith, “Our Calling and God’s Glory,” Made to Flourish, November 1, 2007.
  4. ^ Steve Crabtree, “In U.S., Depression Rates Higher for Long-term Unemployed,” Gallup, June 9, 2004.
  5. ^ “Youth Unemployment: Damaging to Their Health,” Gallup, December 6, 2016.
  6. ^ “Long-term Unemployed Struggle as Economy Improves, Rutgers Study Finds,” Rutgers Today, September 25, 2014.
  7. ^ Michal Jahr, “Economic Malady, Church Opportunity,” The Gospel Coalition, September 15, 2013.
By / Apr 18
By / Feb 19

The first question of the 350 year-old Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” And many of you may be saying, “Yes, the weekend is almost here and I can start glorifying God and enjoying Him.” But, there’s also that word “forever.” Many think it means “into eternity.” It does mean that, but it also means “at all times,” including Monday through Friday.

While the Westminster Catechism is a document written by humans, it captures many important biblical themes. The answer to this first question is a good example. The Bible tells us: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) and “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

Yet, many of us can’t quite wrap this counsel around our jobs. We just don’t see how our jobs can possibly be part of this glorifying and enjoying thing. It’s funny, when you think about that, because most of us probably prayed that God would help us find our job, and most of us probably thank God for our job.

Many Christians don’t think about their jobs as part of their calling to glorify and enjoy God because they don’t fully understand their purpose in life. Many of us think that glorifying God and enjoying Him means singing praises, reading the Bible, and praying. You know, that personal, contemplative stuff.

That is certainly part of it. In fact, that part makes it possible for God’s people to joyfully and effectively serve Him. But our jobs are actually places where we should also be glorifying and enjoying God.  God made Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden to take care of it—sounds like work to me, and that’s before the Fall.

Part of our purpose as humans, created in God’s image, is to work. The Bible even has many unflattering things to say about people who are too lazy to work. Now, I know that for many people the workplace is not very conducive for worship or praise. Yet, when we understand that God made us to work, every workplace takes on new spiritual meaning.

The apostle Paul even counseled the slaves of His day about how to think of their situation. He said, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:7). I doubt many of us can say our situation is as dire as a slave’s in the first century.

To get to this place in our own lives, we have to start at the Garden. God made humans to be producers. Forget all this stuff about humans as consumers. We are not at our happiest when we are consuming things. We are at our happiest when we are making things, doing things—working. That’s because in working, we are fulfilling part of our divine purpose, and at a subconscious level, we know it.

Consider what you do by working. Yes, you have money to give to ministry causes, and you can support yourself and your family, and you have some walking around money. But you are also making a contribution to the lives of others. By your service, someone else’s life is made a little better. The restaurant worker helps someone relax and enjoy a meal. The businessperson provides a product that enhances lives. The sanitation worker removes the refuse that produces disease and sullies the beautiful. Every legitimate, moral form of work adds something to the benefit of humanity and helps God’s creation fulfill its purpose.

We are workers together with God in both gospel outreach and daily toil. Your job is part of God’s calling for you. It’s not merely a means to an end—a paycheck. It is an integral piece of God’s plan for your life as He seeks to extend His Kingdom and its influence throughout the world. You make a difference through your work. May God bless you as you serve Him today wherever you are and in whatever you do.