Some vocations allow you to clearly see how God uses your work for his glory. In other vocations, the connection seems less clear. What if your work involves general office tasks? What if you spend most of your working hours answering emails, filling out paperwork or ordering supplies?
Jordan Parris is an administrative assistant at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and many of her days involve such tasks. Recently, we had a chance to chat with Jordan about office work. In our conversation, you’ll see how God can use her work for his glory — and how he can use yours, too. Here’s our conversation.
What does an administrative assistant do?
Administrative assistants are as varied as the offices they work for. Some keep their supervisor’s schedule. Some manage their supervisor’s email inbox, sorting out important emails from junk. In my case, I do the paperwork for any bills that need to be paid by our office, I make edits to our school websites and I help keep track of projects and impending deadlines for our team.
How did you become interested in being an administrative assistant?
To be honest, I never exactly dreamed of being an administrative assistant. However, I do believe I am uniquely gifted for this job. Any time I’ve taken a spiritual gifts inventory, the gift of administration has always been on or near the top.
Administration also runs in my blood. My grandmother and my mother are both well known for their abilities at logistics and organization. I’ve been helping them with the details of events and projects since I was young. I started branching out on my own in college and coordinated logistics for various trips and projects. I eventually served a company coordinating short-term international trips before ending up in my current job. I may not have ever dreamed of being an administrative assistant, but it gives me great joy to help others accomplish their goals and dreams by taking care of the details.
How does your faith inform your craft? How does your work give glory to God?
It’s easy for an administrative assistant to feel like their work doesn’t matter much. The ability to handle a spreadsheet doesn’t have as much prestige as graphic design, photography or working with donors. Few people will ask our opinion on important matters. Yet, there is no doubt that we serve to advance the mission of God with our quiet dedication to the task he has laid in front of us.
Elisabeth Elliot said that we bring the most glory to God by being what he made us to be. My work requires me to use some of the most fundamental gifts he has given me to keep things in order and find creative solutions to problems. The use of these gifts leads my office to perform at a higher level, which then leads to more people serving the church and fulfilling the Great Commission.
How would you encourage others who don’t see how their faith informs their work?
I would encourage them to remember the God we serve. He is a sovereign God, who has ordained the times and places set for us. He has done this so that we, the whole of mankind, would seek and perhaps find him (Acts 17:26-27).
Your job may feel small and mundane. It may appear to do little to advance God’s kingdom. But He has ordained this day and the task that is laid before you. He is working to draw both you and those around you to himself. Perhaps your job puts the glory of the master on display by using the unique gifts he made you with. Maybe your wages help to make his name known in some of the most desolate places in the world. Or maybe the little disciples that you are raising and providing food and shelter for will labor in our Father’s harvest field. Whatever the task, your faithful obedience to what he has given you to do today will echo in eternity, though we may not yet know how loudly.