As some of you may know, I currently work for a nonprofit called Giving Grace. If you aren’t familiar with it, we empower change to overcome homelessness and housing instability, one life at a time, by providing resources, relationships, and community with the love of Jesus.
It has been such a blessing to work with this organization. I could list the different ways this agency has helped me grow professionally, but today I’m going to talk about how my 9-5 allows me to work alongside fellow believers and bring our passion for Christ into our workplace.
Over the last year or so, our leadership has been very intentional about fostering a healthy culture within our organization. There’s been a few different ways this has taken place. One way this has been encouraged is through retreats. When it comes to work, retreats aren’t typically something employees can get excited about. We hear “retreat” and think about a fun vacation somewhere, but when it’s for work, you know you’re going to be around coworkers discussing business.
Retreats are intended to rejuvenate us, not be an inconvenience. A retreat in the more biblical sense looks like a designated, intentional time to separate yourself and draw closer to God. If you look at the Bible, retreats are encouraged. Jesus is someone who lived His life as an example to us. One way Jesus would retreat was to wake up early in the morning to be alone in prayer. In the book of Luke, Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness praying, and later in Luke, Jesus retreats to pray to God because He knows He’s about to be crucified. This is a form of retreat, but this was when He was facing trials. Jesus would turn away from what was happening to pray and recuperate. Why would we not follow His example?
The retreat our leadership held for us lasted 3 work days. Before it began, we were all thinking about our clients, meetings we’d miss, and all the work that needed to be done. God blessed our time away seeking Him. He took care of our clients and helped us be more grounded in Him.
During this time, we focused on the book of Ephesians. Before this retreat, I’m not sure that I had ever read the book of Ephesians in it’s entirety. I’ve definitely heard sermons that would have a cornerstone verse from the book. Ephesians is the passage the talks about the Armor of God that I had heard so much about. But when I really started digging deeper into this book, I was filled with such an overwhelming realization of just how much God loves us.
Something that kept showing up for me in these scriptures was how Christ allowed us Gentiles to hear and experience the Good News. How beautiful is it that God included outside peoples so that we could come together as one body in Christ! At the retreat I felt this overwhelming sense of love. I cried because the amount of grace and love God has for us is so great. Because of Christ bringing the Good News and sacrificing Himself on the cross for our sins, I can come into relationship with Him and one day be in Heaven with him. There is no love greater than Christ’s love for His people, and this retreat truly helped me recognize that again.
Ephesians is filled with so much in just 6 short chapters. 2:8 reminds us that grace is a gift from God. Multiple times throughout Ephesians it’s described how Christ bought Jews and Gentiles into one body so that all can receive His blessings. 3:12 says that “because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence (NLT).” We can pray big prayers because we serve a big God who wants to answer our prayers in ways we can’t even begin to imagine!
I love Ephesians 3:16-18. The NLT version says, “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And you may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.” This is exactly how I felt coming away from this retreat! It’s been a week today since the retreat started, and I’m still in such awe over how the Lord revealed Himself to me during my time away. I know I will never be able to full comprehend God’s love for us, but I sure did experience it in a whole new way when reading Ephesians.
The book has so much to offer to those working as a team as well. Ephesians 4 explains how each part of the body impacts others by what they’re good at. It was incredible to see each person’s strengths, and understand how we fit together as a team to encourage one another, build each other up where we’re weak, and serve our community the best we can through Christ’s love.
There’s so much more in Ephesians that I could go on to talk about. Every once in a while I will come across scripture that speaks so clearly to me and makes me re-fall in love with the Word. Ephesians was brought to me during a time of seeking growth. This book will be so helpful to me in seeking that growth, whether it’s in work, my family, my goals, or wherever I may see growth is needed. Ephesians encourages me, challenges me, but most of all reminds me of the amazing God I serve.
This retreat was very productive in a work sense. I created goals with my team. We were vulnerable and honest about ways we could grow. I bonded with team members that I don’t typically get much time with. But most importantly, this retreat allowed me to connect with Christ in a way that I hadn’t in a while. I will forever be grateful to be in an organization that invites Christ into everything we do.
Praise Jesus for a Christ-centered work environment! Thank you Jesus for guiding me on this path. Jesus you have continued to provide for me, so I thank you. You are in every situation, conversation, and experience! How blessed am I to have you walk alongside me in this life. Thank you for revealing more of yourself and sacrifices to me through this scripture. Lord, allow me to continue to learn from your Word. Reveal to me more about your character, and more ways I can live for you. I thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done for me and will do. I love you, Jesus! I thank you for all of this, and praise your name. It’s in your name I pray, amen!
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