Of all the four-letter words in the English language, I’m convinced that some of us would rank w-o-r-k as the worst of the bunch. We often see work as punishment rather than opportunity. I’m sure I’m not the only parent with kids who think their mom hates them when given some task or chore to complete. There have been times in my house when it would seem like we were having a casting audition for an end times theatrical play with all the weeping and gnashing of teeth. In those moments, I have sometimes said ‘God created you to work!’ It’s true – God created man to work, and work is a good thing. One of the many lessons my parents taught me from a young age, and I’ve tried to teach my kids, was to work with the mindset that my work was for God. Because God created man to work before sin and the fall of man, and we will be working our whole life. So, even though work has been made more difficult because of the consequence of Adam’s sin, work itself is still a good thing.
In light of these thoughts about the inherent goodness of work, it makes perfect sense that we would be called as believers to conduct ourselves in accordance with our redeemed nature in the workplace.
I’m certain we’ve all had wonderful bosses we’ve respected and considered it a pleasure to work alongside. I’m also certain we’ve all had bosses we struggled to respect and didn’t care to work under them. And some of us have probably been a good boss or a bad boss at some point in our career. I am truly blessed right now to work in an amazing Christian environment filled with Christ followers, but I realize that’s not everyone’s experience. In all of these scenarios, Scripture is clear how we are to work, how we are to treat our bosses and employees, and what will result from our work.
As an employee, we are to do what is asked of us respectfully, with our best effort, and with a pleasant disposition. I recently had the opportunity to visit a water park with our kids. Something about the mixture of water, blaring sun, and swimming brings out ferocious appetites in the whole family. So, I stood in line for over 20 minutes waiting for snack food only to be served by a couple of workers with terrible attitudes and awful customer service. Every customer was frustrated with their experience in that line. Not long after that experience, I was served by someone who did a great job with a willing, respectful attitude. That worker made an impact on my entire day from just a five-minute encounter. Whatever work God has called you to do, do it well and with a pleasant, respectful disposition. It impacts those around you and it pleases the Lord. Your work reflects Him. You are an image bearer of Christ and your work is a testimony of the life He has given you.
What will result from approaching our work with this sort of mindset? First and foremost, we will maintain a good conscience knowing that God will be pleased with our work. And more often than not, there will be benefit to follow the approach to work that God gives us. Employees who do a good job with a willing, respectful heart typically get compliments, acknowledgement, promotions, raises, and understanding in difficult times from their boss. While this is certainly not an absolute, it is definitely a general rule in almost every workplace. God blesses our hard work.
“And as you wish that others
would do to you, do so to them.”
The “golden rule” would solve most problems in the workplace. Employees, work for your employer the way you would want someone working for you to conduct themselves. Bosses, treat your employees the way you would want to be treated. Treat the customers and people you are serving the way you desire to be treated, and charge them fair prices. If we lived our lives trying to do what is right by others with a happy, respectful attitude in the workplace, what a change it would make in the world around us. It would cause people to wonder what joy fills us, and what hope and truth that guides us. What a beautiful and challenging way to live for the Lord.