I have Jordan Raynor here and am super excited. This is someone I personally follow; someone who really stands in this entrepreneurial space with truth and conviction. He is so purposeful and does not mince words. I absolutely love the message and the mission Jordan stands for.
Jordan is a leading voice in the faith and work movement. He really looks at how work is Biblical, glorifies God, and how we should be excited about doing our best, working as hard as we possibly can with God & for God in whatever it is that we’re called to do.
Jordan Raynor is also a dad and husband who lives in Tampa. The wisdom this man drops in this conversation is something you can plant as seeds of truth in your heart to lean into and live by them.
Jordan Raynor Shares How to Find Eternal Purpose While Glorifying God in Your Daily Work
Are you ready to grow a God-centered business that makes income and Kingdom impact? I want to be the coach and mentor to see you through to the next level, taking this dream and vision on your heart, and making it a real reality for you. Go to stefaniegass.com/school and see all the ways we can work together.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a business. Clarify Your Calling will help you get clear. If you have a business but you haven’t started your podcast, I want to free you from social media, from striving and hustling, and 37 ways you’re repurposing that aren’t making a dent in your business, and exchange them for podcasting as your platform. Podcast Pro University is for you. For podcasters, if you want a streamlined, scalable business like mine, you’re going to come into my 6-month group coaching mastermind called Podcast to Profit. All of this – along with a roadmap to discern where you are in this journey – can be found at stefaniegass.com/school.
I also have two free workshops if you’re not ready to move forward and work with me yet, go and watch the workshops. I know they will help you get super clear on what that next step might be; giving you clarity and permission to go ahead and take some big leaps of faith. My Clarity Workshop is freeclarityworkshop.com and my Podcast Workshop is podcastforgrowth.com
Stefanie Gass: Hey Jordan, welcome!
Jordan Raynor: Stefanie, I’m thrilled to be here! Thanks for having me.
Stef: I have all of your books – except the kids’ one –
Jordan: Oh my gosh, that’s the best book!
Stef: I’ve been reading Called to Create and I’ve been doing Word Before Work. I’m so excited about the work you are doing; literally in the space of work!
Who is Jordan Raynor & How Did He Get Where He is Today?
Stef: Before we dive in, tell us who you are and how you became an author. That’s not how you started out.
Jordan: For the first ten years of my career I was a tech entrepreneur; starting and selling companies. I was in the process of exiting the second when the origins of what I’m doing today – helping Christians connect the Gospel to their work – came about.
When you sell a company, the next thing to do is start another, right? But my wife and I were praying about starting a church. We had heard a sermon that made me feel guilty: how dare I start another business when there’s a need for people to move to mud huts 5,000 miles away; changing their vocation and location to go “make disciples of all nations.”
We’re praying about this and a few weeks later, a Godly mentor said he heard I was thinking about planting a church. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I gotta be honest; that sounds really dumb. You’re a talented entrepreneur. You’ve served your customers and team with excellence. I’ve even seen you make disciples. Why do you think you have to start a church to do ministry? Don’t you get that being an entrepreneur is ministry?”
I looked at this guy like he had three heads. I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me to read Genesis 1; what I saw changed my life. Before God told us He is Holy, loving, and omnipotent, the first thing God wanted us to know was that He is a God who creates. He is a God who works.
Long before the Great Commission, He called us to the First Commission in Genesis 1:26-28 – to “fill the earth and subdue it.”
What Did Jordan Decide?
Jordan: Wayne Gruden, Editor of the ESV Bible, says, “This literally means to make the earth more useful for human beings’ benefit and enjoyment.” Isn’t that what I was doing as an entrepreneur? Isn’t that what your listeners are doing to serve others?
Long story short, I didn’t go start a church. I ran another tech start-up for a while until I started to fully commit to the work I’m doing today. The irony of that is not lost on me. Now I guess you could make the case that I’m now in full-time ministry. I’m teaching people not to leave their vocation.
Stef: But isn’t that how God works? He’s like, “Jordan, I’ll have you do all these amazing things as an entrepreneur, and still end up using you to share the Word.” It’s full-circle amazing.
You mentioned Genesis 1. I think the struggle I faced as a business coach and my faith started to seep into my podcast. One day, I just said, “I’m both. Sometimes I’m a preacher and sometimes a business coach and I’m just going to blend the two together. Love me or leave me.”
Some of my students who start these online businesses are not called to share their faith. They don’t feel that they should be bringing their faith into their businesses and the messaging. What do you have to say about that? I hear that they feel guilty about it; that they’re doing something wrong and not showing up for God as much as they could.
Jordan Raynor on Bringing God into Your Businesses
Jordan: It’s impossible not to “bring God into your business.” Even when you’re not sharing Jesus’ name or the Gospel, you’re still bringing God into your business by offering glimpses of Kingdom values: love, peace, justice, and Shalom.
This is really rooted in a misunderstanding that the Great Commission is the only commission.
Prior to 200 years ago, nobody in Christendom interpreted Jesus’ words in Matthew 28 as the exclusive command of followers of Jesus. There are problems with making the Great Commission the only commission. Jesus never did and it blocks listeners from seeing the intrinsic value of their work.
The Great Commission is a non-optional command for followers of Jesus. In Genesis 1, when we look at God’s original purpose for humankind, it was not to preach, it was to create with excellence and love, and in ways that are in the “image of God.”
Our work has intrinsic value because it’s the very thing God made us to do. And in Revelation 22, contrary to our American caricature of Heaven as a glorified retirement home, on the new earth, we will be reigning and creating – and working – forever and ever.
If that’s what God planned for us in the beginning and plans for us to do for eternity, the work you do today has intrinsic value, even when you’re not explicitly mentioning Jesus’ name. Most people aren’t called to do that in their business. If we run our businesses with excellence and love, people would be asking us questions to which Jesus is the only answer.
If we run businesses the way Jesus would run a business, we’re going to have more opportunities to talk about Jesus because people are going to beg us to tell them why we’re doing things the way we’re doing them.
How Do You Preach the Gospel Without Shouting the Name of Jesus?
Stef: Exactly right. Sometimes God needs people who are not fully out there screaming the name of Jesus to bring other people in who may be scared of that. They ask, “Why is your business successful? What’s going on in your marriage that it looks so healthy? What are you guys doing?” That is how we open up.
Once, when I was in a situation surrounded by non-believers, I felt I had to say something. My dad was passing away and I felt I had to forcefully make this conversation happen. Somebody said, “Just you being in the room is glorifying God.” I didn’t have to say anything unless the Holy Spirit prompted me. That ended up being the perfect advice.
I take that advice to everyone listening and to my students. Just be who you are in Christ and do the work you are called to do. God’s going to use that in whatever way He needs to.
Jordan: Psalm 37:23 – “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly and He delights in every detail of their lives.” In other words, you bring the Father pleasure any time you obey His commands. Being in that room is loving your neighbor as yourself. That has intrinsic value.
We can get in two ditches here. One is believing our work always has to have the instrumental value of preaching the Gospel. That’s unbiblical. But so is the other ditch of never leveraging our lives in our work to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus.
In our increasingly post-Christian context, I think we need more Christians not leading with the fact that they are Christians in their marketing because it’s going to turn off a lot of people and block a lot of unbelievers who want to work with us.
Jordan Raynor on Work as Evangelization
Stef: Tell us your response to people who say, “I am doing my work, but I don’t feel I’m showing up in my faith. I feel guilty.” Or, “I love my work and feel guilty because I shouldn’t. I should be glorifying God in a bigger way.” How do we shift that mindset?
Jordan: Recognize that as long as your work is contributing to the betterment of other human beings, that is the very thing God created you to do.
There is a lie in the modern church that work comes post-sin in Genesis 3. That is a lie from hell. God Himself worked. He created us to work. There’s creational goodness to the work we do outside of the church.
In our increasingly post-Christian world, non-believers are not darkening the doors of “seeker-friendly” churches to learn about Jesus. We have to bring the church to them. YOU are the church; whatever your current job title is. We have to scatter more than ever. We need fewer religious professionals if we’re going to be successful at the Great Commission.
There’s a scholar, Michael Green, who wrote a book called Evangelism in the Early Church. In the first 300 years of church history, Christianity exploded. In Green’s estimation, 80% happened through mere Christians working as entrepreneurs, outside of the four walls of the synagogue and church. That was true in the first 300 years, it’s true today, and it’s going to be true at least for the next few decades.
Embrace your role, in the darkness, in dark industries. Jesus called us to be light, and light doesn’t make a dent in an already-lit room. It lights up darkness. It is characterized by being a contrast against darkness, which is exactly why we need to be in these dark places.
Why Do You Love Your Work?
Stef: I love to work. I’m called to work, and I’m created to work. But there’s part of me that’s like, “You work too much.” I don’t; I’m balancing really well. But I feel like the lie comes in both directions. Either you’re not working the right way or you’re working too much.
Jordan: There’s a fundamentally different heart posture between the person who loves their work for selfish reasons and the person who loves their work because they believe it’s a means of Glorifying God; making Him happy with the way we’re living our lives and doing our work.
If your motivation is that you genuinely want to see God’s will done, then you want to share the Gospel with the lost. You want your work to be a means of showing the world glimpses of justice, peace, and love that are ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. I think we should be incredibly ambitious in our work.
Work is one of the things God prescribed in significant doses. God worked six days and rested one. Work is one of the few things we were meant to take in significant doses, but the Christian, working in ways that glorify God, glorifies God while also resting. It’s an act of trust; an act of worship. It’s a means of remembering that we are not God. Even when we stop working, He never does. He keeps the world spinning without us.
Stef: When we rest, it’s this beautiful gift God wants to give you. You’re trusting that everything’s going to keep moving, but dropping into the gift of your life. My little boy learned to ride his bike this weekend; it just clicked. If I was too busy, or on the phone, I would have missed that blessing.
Why Do We Work?
Stef: What are we working for? We’re here and we’re working for the glory of God. Can you talk to us about the eternal rewards and us working for what happens after we die?
Jordan: Even if all we do is bring God pleasure in the present and love our neighbor as ourselves through our work, that’s enough. We owe God everything; He doesn’t owe us a thing. But in His unbelievable goodness and grace, He holds out incredible promises of eternal rewards for a life well lived and work well done.
Scripture talks about the obvious rewards, but it also talks about the fact that we’ll have varying job responsibilities when Heaven and Earth are fullied married together on the new Earth based on how we were in this life.
Scripture even alludes to the idea that we might be rewarded with some of our work literally and physically lasting on the new Earth (Isaiah 60 & Revelation 21). I know so many Christians who feel guilty about chasing after these treasures, crowns, and eternal rewards. I think this is foolish.
Jordan Raynor’s Reasons for Brazenly Chasing After Eternal Rewards
Jesus told His followers – and us -to be motivated by rewards. “While it may sound selfish to chase after eternal rewards, it is Christ’s command to us. So we should eagerly obey it. If we maintain that it’s wrong to be motivated by rewards, we bring a serious accusation against Christ.” (Dr. Randy Alcorn)
Eternal rewards are almost always attached to tremendous sacrifice in the present. I think that’s what we don’t get. I don’t think we realize the trade-off Jesus is asking us to make. One, doing good to your enemies. When someone is wrongfully suing you and your business, Luke 6 says you’re called to bless them and if you do, you’ll be rewarded. Luke 12 talks about giving to the poor and being rewarded. That’s sacrifice. Again in Luke 6, Jesus talks about enduring insults because of your allegiance to Christ. When you boldly proclaim Jesus to a co-worker or client and they fire you, you’re going to be rewarded for that.
In Revelation 22, Jesus says, “I am coming soon and bringing my recompense with Me to repay everyone for what he has done.” The rewards are repayment for your sacrifices.
The greater our reward, the greater God’s glory in eternity. I think we’re going to take these treasures and crowns and throw them right down at the feet of Jesus. But even if we keep some of them, and Jesus says He really wants us to keep that piece of art we made and hang it in our new home on the new Earth, every time you look at it, it’s going to be a reminder of whatever you sacrificed in your former life in order to earn that eternal reward, was worth it. Jesus is better than whatever you gave up.
Is Your Work Secular?
Stef: The check there is: Does this glorify God? Am I being obedient to Him and trusting in Him? Am I loving my neighbor? Our life and our work can be so much more simple if we hold to these constants.
Jordan: We love over-complicating things; we’re Pharisees in our hearts.
Stef: I love this message. God worked; therefore, we are to work. I love that we are to pour out, whether our work is secular or not. You don’t go by that word – secular – do you?
Jordan: I hate this word. I understand it and it’s very helpful shorthand. Secular literally means without God. As followers of Jesus, we believe that God is literally, through the power of the Spirit, with us wherever we go.
The only thing you need to do to make your “secular” workplace sacred – only one thing you need to do – is walk through the front door. That secular workplace is instantly sacred. Everywhere a believer steps is now holy ground. Think about it this way, in Exodus, Moses sees the burning bush. God appears as a flame. At Pentecost in Acts, the Holy Spirit appears over the believers as fire. That flame, where God told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground, is in every single follower of Jesus Christ.
There is no secular place in this world because everywhere we go, we are bringing God with us. When we do our work with excellence and love, in accordance with His commands, we’re doing sacred work. Stef: I love this so much. So you go out and bring the fire! You are literally Holy Spirit walking into whatever it is that you do.
What’s in the Jordan Raynor Library?
Stef: Tell us about your books. I want everyone to have a Jordan Raynor library, so we can be in the book club together.
Jordan: The Word Before Work was a special project. I’ve read my Bible cover-to-cover a few times, but this was the first time I read it looking for what God’s Word said about work. I found more than 1,000 passages, that’s more than music, singing, and praise combined.
It’s a Monday-Friday Devotional with 260 entries about two minutes apiece to help connect God’s Word to whatever you do vocationally.
Before that was a children’s book. But it’s unfair to call it a children’s book. I told my publisher I wanted it to be like a Pixar movie that made 5-year-olds gleeful and 55-year-olds weep. Thanks to our illustrator, we nailed that. It’s a retelling of Genesis 1, but unlike other books about Genesis 1 that treat the sixth day as the end of Creation, it’s treated as the beginning. Day Six is when God passed the baton and this blank canvas to us and said to create, fill, and subdue it. That’s Creator in You.
My most popular book is Redeeming Your Time, helping readers apply the Gospel to time management, specifically managing it the way Jesus managed His. I looked at the Gospels and pulled seven time management principles from Christ’s life and connected them to 32 practical practices to help us implement them today.
Master of One is about excellence, focus, and calling. It’s a strategy for fulfilling the Biblical mandate to pursue excellence in all things, including vocations.
The first book is Called to Create – a Biblical invitation to create, innovate, and risk; written for Christian entrepreneurs. I wrote the book for myself and others like me, who are vocationally entrepreneurs.
JordanRaynor’s Parting Words
Stef: Are there any last words of wisdom? Maybe for someone saying, “I know I’m called to do this work. I’m doing this for God’s Glory but it’s hard. It feels like the world is against me. I don’t know if I’m doing this right.” What’s on your heart?
Jordan: When your motivation is to use work for the glory of God, that makes you more ambitious for the work than before. Even more than your own success, fame, and fortune. God’s Glory is the only sustainable fuel in the world. The challenge is feeling this need to do more, to succeed, and to crush the to-do list because they know their work honors the Lord.
God calls us to the pursuit of excellence but never the attainment. Look at the Parable of the Talents. When He criticized the third servant, He didn’t say, “I can’t believe you didn’t produce a 100% return. He admonished the servant for not trying. God never commands attainment of excellence in our work; He commands we pursue excellence in all things for the glory of God and the good of others. He’s honored and pleased simply in the striving. God doesn’t need you to finish your to-do list. If the things on your list are also on God’s list, He’ll finish them with or without you. That is tremendously freeing.
I can do work to the best of my ability and rest knowing it’s not the fruitfulness God cares about, it’s the faithfulness to steward the talents He’s provided to the best of my ability.
Stef: Jordan, where can everybody come and get more of this amazingness?
Jordan: There’s tons of free content at jordanraynor.com, including a weekly devotional and the Mere Christians podcast.
The more I get to know my students and the more I participate in masterminds with my peers the more I’m starting to comprehend the overarching problem and prevalence of one, perfectionism, and two, overthinking.
Perfectionism keeps us in a place of constant consumption and learning. Redoing things over and over and thinking that we can’t move forward until they measure up to some elusive standard.
Why do I believe we need a morning routine? I believe you must have a morning routine because it helps you get into the mindset of productivity and purpose.
When we get right with God we: Renew Our Minds
Get Into the Word
Are Able to Live Our Life Guided by the Holy Spirit
The difference in how my day goes when I do my morning routine and when I don’t is night and day.