Work takes up an enormous amount of our time. A 2014 Gallup poll found that the average American worker puts in around 47 hours per week — one of the highest figures in the entire world! When you look back on your life, it is likely that your work will top the list of things that occupied most of your earthly hours. Is that a bad thing? Well, not necessarily. See, God cares deeply not just about the area of work we are involved in, but actually “how” we go about doing it.
Work out of a place of spiritual rest
As Christians, one fundamental thing to get straight in your heart and mind is that you are working “for the glory of God.” Apart from being a biblical command, this mentality will steer you away from toiling over hours of work without understanding the true point of the time spent. Work for work’s sake can feel, in many cases, meaningless. But working for God, as is instructed in Colossians 3:23, gives one a sense of purpose and determination, and staves off exhaustion as you are invigored to serve God with all your might.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” – Colossians 3:23.
Indeed, in a working world of disappointments, cutthroat competition and endless professional comparison, Christians can rise above these snares when keeping in mind that their work’s purpose is to please and glorify their God.
Always work hard
Working out of a place of spiritual rest does not mean you are to take your foot off the gas. There is a huge benefit, both spiritual and psychological, in working with tenacity and fervor.
If you are being paid to do a job, do it well. Honor your employer and your God by committing yourself fully to the endeavor instead of attempting to cut corners and “get by.” God is calling us to be the very best employers, the most dynamic employees, and people who love to produce work that is of high value and spiritual worth.
Be distinguished in how you treat colleagues
One of the most effective forms of Christian witness can be demonstrated through how you treat your colleagues. When the pressure is on, do you get snappy and demanding as most would? Take a moment; pause, pray and respond to your workmates with kindness, grace, and patience. Because this is so rare, Christians who are present in professional environments have before them a wonderful opportunity to witness the love of God to others, as well as to display the grace that is at work within them.
Employers: Value and appreciate your staff. Employees: Respect and honor your bosses.
When you are tempted to engage in the rat-race of competition that plagues so many workplaces, take a step back and think, “How can I be like Jesus in this situation?” Allow the Lord to deal with your insecurities and be different and distinct in your work environment. In all situations, continue to bless and prefer the other.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
Deal with disappointments with grace
When we misplace our personal value and root our identity within our work, we run the risk of being absolutely devastated when inevitable disappointments arise in our professional lives. Ensuring that we are not placing our hope in the stability of our jobs is an essential life skill to learn as a Christian. Indeed, we have a higher power, almighty God, who has promised to look after us all the days of our lives. Not sure about this? Here are 100 Bible verses about God taking care of us.
Contracts, salary, retirement plans, insurance — all these things are important, but we must not place them above and beyond the spiritual security we find in the Lord alone. Through Jesus, we really do have, and will always have, all that we need.
“God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
If you have been struck down with the loss of a job or missed out on a promotion, don’t allow this to embitter or burden you — ask for grace and keep plugging away, knowing that your hope is in Him.
Enjoy successes with humility
Similarly, if we are storming through the ranks, we must not let it get to our heads. Hard-earned professional success is a fantastic thing, the fruits of which should be enjoyed and celebrated. However, the world tends to allocate more personal worth to those in senior positions, and this is simply not how the Kingdom functions.
So, how can we change it? Well, if you have been promoted to a senior position, be conscious not to discharge your new professional duties with pride and arrogance, but instead, attempt to be countercultural by modeling a Christ-like form of servant leadership. You can be sure that this will bear some glorious fruit in the lives of your colleagues.
Have you ever noticed that, when talking to someone you don’t know very well, one of the first questions that often arises is, “What do you do for work?” Sometimes, this is just inevitable small talk, but other times, it comes across as a subtle way to size people up and assess their professional seniority and ultimately, their worth.
As Christians, we must recognize the value in everyone, no matter what they do for a job, and must ensure that Christ remains at the center of our professional motivations. So, treat colleagues well, work diligently, and know that God has his hand upon your life — He will always take care of you.