Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Labor (04/19/04)
TITLE: Employment: Blood, Sweat, and Tears!
By Richard Krejcir
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We are Christians, yet we are also human, and we work with Christians as well as non-Christians. We are material beings who need a livelihood to provide for the daily substance of life. From food and shelter to leisure and entertainment, work becomes a necessary means for us to live and function in society. Work can also be a potential for so much more. A call, a vocation, or a job, whatever you call what you do in between your day of worship and church, whether it be a priest or a fry cook, we all have a purpose. We all have a job. Sometimes, it is the same, sometimes not, as we may be in the wrong place and job. Nevertheless, we have a call to be employed, to function in society, and to behave in that call.
We are also social beings, not just tools or devices, slaves or machines. We are spiritual beings who have been saved by our God and Creator and given the call to be virtuous and righteous. All our experiences, expectations, aptitudes, and attitudes come together in the workplace. And, all of these distinctions converge into our mindset and attitudes at work. So, what is the right attitude and approach with which to do our work? How do we get along with coworkers, bosses, and our God?
Work, Job or vocation is a word we use to start to describe what we do in life, vocation has its root from the Latin verb “to call;” thus, our vocation and job is actually a call, similar to a minister. So we need to understand its role and significance in our life and how we are to be in our vocation as well as what it means in our walk with our Lord. Let us venture into God’s Word and see what He has to say about what we do during the week. What and why we have work and what we are to do in that vocation and how we respond to others around us. If you spend some time in the Word, you will develop a Biblical attitude of work to nudge yourself into being a better person at work. You may discover what we do is not as important as how we do it!
You may feel like a slave at work. Or, perhaps you treat others in that way thinking, I am in command. They work for me, and they have to do what I say! But, the key to this passage is the attitude we are to have, that of looking to Christ as our employer so we do our work for Him. Therefore, we are to be our best for His glory, regardless of our circumstances (Rom. 8:17; Eph. 6:5-8;
We may have a paycheck from McDonald’s and a boss who may need some acne treatments, but our ultimate authority and manager is Christ Himself! We show our value--that Christ paid a price for us--so, we in turn can respond with a good work ethic (1 Cor. 7:23). We must adjust our mindset to see work as an opportunity to please Him, and in so doing, be a blessing to those around us.
As an employee we are called to Diligence! This allows us to operate with our best for Christ’s highest with excitement and passion in order to complete our work and call from the Lord. It is practical obedience, which is the loving of our call and the pursuing of our work so we are doing our best for His glory. (Prov. 10:4; Rom. 12:11; Colossians 3:23)
God honors diligence and fairness. As an employer you are called to Diligence and to Fairness! These are the two characteristics we are to have in the workplace, and are especially essential for the manager. God hates the exploitation of people and will judge with severity those who do exploit others. So, why bother with the rotten characters of dishonesty and exploitation when we can have a much more efficient and happy workplace, where the workers are cared for and encouraged to produce instead of being forced and made to condescend (Proverbs 27: 18; Malachi 3:5; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9: 6-12; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:17; 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:17,18).
Our worth as a Christian is who we are in Christ! Work, in society, is center stage for our social classification and the search for identity, and can even be an addiction to fulfill our deeper needs! Yet, our work is not to define us! Even though this may be the first question we ask someone new to us, or is asked of us, our work is what we do, not who we are! How we respond and model character will be the eternal value—our true selves. Work can even be a means through which to worship our Lord! People will see Christ through us in the workplace--either as a God to come to, or, one from whom to be repelled. How do people at work see Christ through you?
Remember, we are not to be devoted to our work, but rather devoted to our Savior. At the same time, we are to be diligent and be the best we can be in our job. The Christian should be the finest person at their job by means of integrity, godly character, and modeling Christ, regardless of the situation!
Our work ethic will be the measure of how people see our true character, as well as that of our Lord!