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secular versus spiritual work

June 18, 2012
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Dear friends of ours from Iowa State University send out thrice weekly devotionals by e-mail.  A few weeks ago they wrote about the perceived divide between “secular” and “spiritual” work.  This is a topic that Lori and I have thought about quite a bit over the past several years as we quit our “secular” jobs (engineering and regional planning) to pursue missionary work with Wycliffe.

Lori and I did feel called to our “secular” jobs, and we know that God used our time in those positions.  We also know that He called us to leave those jobs and our home we loved. Now that we’ve been in both “categories” we keep seeing the value of both “secular” and “spiritual” work and want to encourage so many of our friends who work in “secular” jobs and live in “secular” neighborhoods being salt and light.

John and Win say it better than I could express, so please read their thoughts below.  We have been blessed many times by the e-mail devotionals they send out. You can take a look at their website or subscribe to their e-mail list here.


A Secular/Spiritual Divide? 1

An AO reader, “Roy,” wrote that he feels God has called him to work in the
so-called “secular” workplace. But he experiences pressure at church because of
the assumption of leaders that his secular work is of less value than the
“spiritual” tasks done in the church. At times the pressure has felt

AO Administrator Pete Boysen, who manages computer aspects of AO Notes, had this
perceptive comment:

“Roy — To me there is no difference between secular and spiritual as long as I
love God and don’t make the distinction in my own mind. Managing the computer
side of AO notes doesn’t seem very ‘spiritual’ yet God is using me to carry
out a spiritual calling. John and Win do all the spiritual writing but AO
wouldn’t be possible without my help.

Your ‘secular’ work gives you access to people your pastor may never see. If God
is using you to love them, care for them or see Christ through you, you are
doing spiritual work. — Pete”

Coffee/tea thought: Thank You, Father, for this reminder that You do not
distinguish between kinds of work done for You. That You use and bless my desire
to honor and serve You, wherever You have placed me.



(c) 2012 John & Win Stanford (
AONotes Admin: Pete Boysen (

A Secular/Spiritual Divide? 2

The Bible does not distinguish between “full-time Christian” and “secular”

Win and I often think of a Sunday many years ago in Washington, D. C. I had
finished my PhD and we were soon to leave for a university job in Iowa. On our
final Sunday there, the pastor invited us to come to the front of our large
church. After sharing that we felt God had called us to the university world,
our pastor, Richard C. Halverson (later Chaplain of the U. S. Senate), prayed
for us publicly. Over the years we have often recalled that experience, and have
been encouraged in difficult times.

In the decades since we left Washington, we have been disappointed to find that
rarely is public church affirmation given to believers called to secular work.
Those headed to seminary or missions are commended and prayed for in church, and
they should be. But God calls _all_ of the body of Christ to work for His sake,
wherever He places them.

Some believers are called to fully-supported Christian work, but most are called
to work for Christ in the venue of “secular” employment. God calls every
believer to serve _Him_, regardless of the source of his or her paycheck.

Coffee/tea thought: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col. 3.17



(c) 2012 John & Win Stanford (
AONotes Admin: Pete Boysen (
One Comment leave one →
  1. Joy permalink
    June 18, 2012 9:23 pm

    Thank you. 🙂

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