As we continue our study of stewardship as it relates to various aspects of our Christian lives, I have to take some time to focus on our jobs… careers… vocations … however you want to call it. What God has called us to be doing in this present time in our lives to provide for ourselves and our families. What are we doing right now that brings us income? That’s what we want to look at in this lesson. So, whether you toil, work, or labor in your job, career, or vocation, do so the way God would be pleased.
I hope that in today’s economic state no one who has a job takes it for granted. I have recently been blessed with a great job that God literally orchestrated years ago. The story is too lengthy to tell you now, but, armed with the knowledge that God gave me this current job, I don’t take it for granted for even a second, as I know He can remove it from me as quickly as He gave it to me. That helps put the job I do in the proper perspective as it relates to doing my best for God and my employer and all the way down to the people I serve in my position.
Remember, with the latest unemployment rate in the United States at a staggering 8.2%, we can’t take our jobs lightly. There are many people behind you ready and willing to take your place should you begin to slack off and cause your boss concern over your job performance and loss of productivity. Remember too, that unless you’re very adept at bartering, your paycheck from said boss is what you use to provide for your church in the way of tithes and offerings, missions, special needs, as well as what you use to provide for your family’s needs. So there’s a lot riding on your job and many people counting on you… from your church family all the way down to your own family.
Remember, as a good steward, you use what God gave you to the fullest potential, especially in the service to others. So, let me give you seven aspects of stewardship in the workforce.
1. We should pray for all men, including our bosses (1st Timothy 2:1-2). God’s Word teaches us to pray for all those in authority. I’ll be honest and never thought much about praying for my boss until I started studying for this article. My boss is the CEO of our company, and he’s responsible to employees, customers, vendors, and investors. My company is a small locally owned company that competes in the marketplace with three other companies that are all nationally owned and have very deep pockets to carry them through the lean times. I don’t know what kind of stress my boss is under and if he goes home every night and pops an Alka-Seltzer®. But a boss like him needs my prayers, and I’m going to start including him much more often.
2. We should display honesty and integrity in the workplace (Proverbs 11:1). Whether or not you are in positions to make decisions, there should be the utmost desire within you to deal fairly with others, whether they be customers or coworkers. You will do such harm to the cause of Christ if your fellow employees know you are a Christian, yet you deal with them in lies and deceit. That goes for carrying out orders from your bosses that would cause you to be dishonest. Suppose someone is desperate for your services and will hire you regardless of cost, you should not jack up the price because you have a “sure thing.” The includes whether you make the decision, or your boss is asking you to be dishonest.
3. Be faithful…Be someone who can be counted on (Proverbs 25:13). The Bible tells us that a faithful servant refreshes his master. Imagine the burden that is lifted from your boss, who has enough things to worry about, because you can be counted on to be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. This could certainly pay off in the future in the way of promotions to levels with more responsibility and more pay. Besides, once you are promoted to a level of being responsible for other employees, you’ll want THEM to be faithful employees…won’t you?
4. Work hard and EARN your pay (1st Timothy 5:18). Everyone from time to time has down time at work. I can’t say that I never have down time. There are plenty of times, in the line of wok that I do, that I have down time. I’m on the road with no accountability. The temptation is there to slack off and go home and be idle for the rest of the day as a salaried employee. However, I have told others I work with that I feel like I’m “stealing company money.” So often I used to see employees on the computers looking at sites that had nothing to do with their jobs…and me too. But now I’m trying very hard to fill in my downtime with activities that relate to my job in some form (studying, brushing up, researching, etc). Goofing off and not really earning your money goes back to not being honest and trustworthy.
5. Let GOD deal with the heart of your employer (James 5:4). Here’s a big one to learn and get down. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by your boss, let God deal with his or her heart about it. God dealt with Pharoah’s heart while the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. The Israelites were powerless against Pharoah and had much to lose by rebelling. In this day and age when jobs are dwindling and employment is more and more difficult to find, you have much to lose by being rebellious against your boss. Just as long as your boss is not making you compromise your morals, values, and ethics, nor have you breaking any laws, stay quiet, pray for your boss, and wait on God to do a work in the heart.
6. Do unto your bosses as you would do unto Christ Himself (Ephesians 6:5-8). Would you cheat Jesus? Would you talk badly about Christ behind His back? Would you steal from Him? Would you be in constant contention with Christ? I should sure hope not! Yet that’s what happens when we are less than stellar in our dealing with our bosses. Ephesians 6:5 asks us to be obedient to our bosses, out of a proper fear of the authority of your boss over you, and it should all be done with singleness of heart “AS UNTO CHRIST.” It’s a variation on Matthew 25:40, but it’s true according to Ephesians 6:5, that, whatsoever you do unto you boss, you have done unto Me.
7. When all is said and done, do quality work (Proverbs 31:24). What’s another word to describe quality work? How about “fine” work. A-plus work. Stellar work. Like the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. She helped in the finances of the home by selling the goods she made. No one would buy shoddy merchandise twice. Word of mouth would have spread that there is nothing worth buying at her house if she didn’t do quality work. If you’re in sales or customer service, you need to do quality work every time you are with a client, vendor, or new customer. You need people thinking you work for a good company so they’ll use you again another time. If you’re responsible for making things, the same holds true for you. One or two flubbed products and people will begin to question the quality of the product coming from the company and may move on elsewhere. Your business and your livelihood depend on the putting forth of quality products.
There’s an epidemic of laziness in the nation today. If you don’t have a job simply because you don’t want to work, or it’s easier for you not to work…shame on you. There’s also an equally troubling epidemic brewing among people who DO work. These people seem to be having a declining work ethic in greater numbers than generations past. Gone are the days of people remaining employed by the same company for 40 years. Gone are the days of people taking pride in the way they dress and present themselves to the public in the workplace, especially in the area of customer service. Nose rings, lip piercings, and tongue rings are being worn by people in the customer service field. These people are having direct contact with the public! You are a reflection of your company! You may be the first impression…and I’m sorry to say…it may be a poor first impression.
Dress to the standards of your employee handbook. Shave (if you’re a man). Be clean. Smile. Be patient. Comb your hair. If you would wear an outfit to the beach, don’t wear it to work (unless you’re a lifeguard). Honestly! I’m speaking primarily to Christians right now! Take pride in your Heavenly Heritage and remember that God supercedes your earthly boss. And for goodness sakes, start getting your job performance in line with what is expected of you as a professing Christian. Remember what that performance will entail?
1. Praying for your boss
2. Honesty in the workplace
4. Work Hard
5. Let God deal with your employer
6. Do unto you boss as unto Christ
7. Do quality work
I’ll tell you. I’ve been working since I was at least 18 years old, and until now, I hadn’t thought about various aspects of being a good steward of my job. Looking back I can recall times when I was far from these seven areas. I never thought twice about my bosses. I would not always deal with my employer or colleagues honestly. I wasn’t the most faithful person, sometimes not showing up for work and not calling ahead to let them know. I didn’t always work hard and often times tried to take on my boss all on my own in a cocky and arrogant and overly confident manner. I showed no concern for how my behavior may be making God feel. And when all is said and done, and it’s proven you don’t like your job, your boss, your coworkers, and your place in the company, it’s hard to get yourself up to do quality work…I can very much attest to that.
But now…looking at my job as something over which God made me a steward, I have a whole new perspective…and I hope you will too…