God employs ironic processes in order to glorify Himself. He accepted the sacrifice of the younger brother Abel over what the older brother Cain offered (Gen 4:1-5). He chose the younger brother Jacob as Isaac’s heir and rejected the older brother Esau (Gen 25:19-33; 27:1-40). Via slavery, God placed Joseph in Potiphar’s house to preserve the descendants of Jacob during a severe famine in Canaan (Gen 50:20). God chose to save the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus—a message the world thought foolishness (1 Cor 1:18-25).
Have you seen God’s ironic processes shape your life? I chose to enroll in the Teacher’s College in my bachelor’s degree program because I wanted a quick-and-easy degree so I could graduate and do campus ministry. God inclined my affections for education, and I have been teaching in some capacity since I graduated from college in 1995. The COVID-19 work-from-home order provides an ironic apologetic moment for us.
Through the quality and quantity of our labor, we can express God’s power to our boss, our co-workers, and our families. In Col 3:22-4:1, Paul told the Colossians to serve their masters whole-heartedly, fearing the Lord. As Christians labor enthusiastically in light of God’s past and future blessings in Christ, we can show that we value God even as we work for a paycheck. We can also establish for our children a pattern of holistic discipleship where work and family relationships are valued in Christ. Let me suggest five steps for seizing the work-from-home order as an apologetic opportunity.
- Replicate your regular work routines and environment as much as possible. If you normally rise at 5:30 am, continue to set your alarm at that time and get the day started. Sleeping in can lead to dullness and a lack of productivity. Start your day with your normal Scripture reading and prayer routines. Eat breakfast at the same time you normally would. If you use a standing desk at work, concoct some make-shift arrangement in your home working space. If you take a lunch break at 12:30, schedule lunch at that time in your own kitchen. If you go for a 15-minute walk around your office complex at 3:00 pm, walk your neighborhood at 3:00 pm.
- Respond to your boss and co-workers ASAP when they contact you. If you are working at home, you are likely a member of a team (or several teams) in your employer’s organizational structure. The work of the whole depends upon the contribution of each part. If team members are slothful in communication, those in leadership do not have the information they need to make decisions about the jobs at hand. Decisions are being made very quickly right now. Do your part and reply.
- Limit social media. Shut off all notifications and tabs that are not essential to work. Checking social media every hour will cut more time than you think, and it can distract you from procedural thinking that is necessary for you to complete your job to the best of your ability.
- Schedule family time and keep your promises to your family. As your children see you vigorously going about your work and stepping away from it so that you can play games, read, or watch movies, they understand that God designed His people for work and play. Follow your regular family worship routines.
- Exercise daily. Since blood flow increases brain activity, get your heart rate up each day. If the work-from-home order persists for several weeks, we could become slothful and unhealthy. Keep moving so that you can keep thinking.