“The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.....”(1)
“A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done....”(2)
“God hates cheating in the marketplace; He loves it when business is aboveboard.....”(3)
These are some of the many tidbits of wisdom provided in the Scriptures for the Christian worker or business person. Our God knows that we live in the world and need to earn a living to survive; consequently, He provides abundant counsel in His Word to help us succeed and excel at our work.
Today, many Christians lack wisdom on how to apply the values of their faith to their work or businesses. Some believe that life at work is separate from life in church and therefore put on one “cloak” when engaging in spiritual activities and a completely different one when engaging in business or work-related activities. By so doing, they not only dishonor God, but miss out on an important and fundamental aspect of our Christian faith, namely—we are called to be salt, light, and a blessing to our world.(4)
As “salt”, our Christ-centered lives should add flavor to our workplaces. What a pleasure it is to walk into an office or a shop and be welcomed by a friendly, polite, and knowledgeable employee. What glory it brings to God when that person is one of His children, a Christian who allows the fruit of the Spirit to flow through him or her in the marketplace.
Organizations such as offices, charities, schools, and stores are never without problems and faults, obviously because they are run by imperfect human beings. Even among the best, there are usually ample reasons to complain or become negative after we have been around them for a period of time. But, how pleasant and refreshing it is to find a handful of people who, in the face of those problems and faults, choose to exercise patience and give the other party some benefit of the doubt. What honor it brings to God when such positive attitudes emanate from the Christians who work there or are being served by those organizations!
As “light” we have the task of bringing solid Christian values into the darkness and corruption that pervades our world today. As we demonstrate integrity, transparency, kindness, and justice in our jobs and business dealings, we shine the light of Christ within our circles of interaction. For example, it is not uncommon to find business owners who slash prices to secure projects or make sales, only to add them back later as “unexpected expenses.” While such unethical business practices may be considered insignificant in the secular world, they are unacceptable in the kingdom of God. What a joy it is, therefore, to find Christian business people who actively uphold the values of integrity and truth as they offer services to the public.
As “blessings”, we have been given the grace to bring relief to difficulties in the world around us. Through our obedient and established relationships with God, we can seek and receive wisdom and spiritual breakthrough to help our businesses and workplaces survive today’s harsh economic conditions. What a pleasure it is to have a team leader who not only works diligently to ensure completion of tasks, but also lays her entire project and team members in the hands of the Almighty, seeking His favor and blessing and invoking promises such as, “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands ... the Lord will ...bless the work of your hands.”(5)
We often under-estimate the value that a genuine Christian can bring to a workplace or business environment. In reality, the virtues needed to build successful businesses (excellence, integrity, respect, customer friendliness, accountability, and more) are similar to the character traits that the Holy Spirit develops in Christians as we mature in our relationships with God. When we follow wholeheartedly, He builds in us qualities that make us valuable assets, not only to the body of Christ, but also to our work places, businesses, and the world at large. Like He did for Joseph, David, and Daniel, He transforms us into people who bring honor and glory to God both in spiritual pursuits and in work and business-related endeavors.
“… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” —Matthew 5:16.
1. Proverbs 12:11 The Message
2. Proverbs 12:27 The Message
3. Proverbs 11:1 The Message
4. Matthew 5:13-16
5. Deuteronomy 28:1,12
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