We will probably spend one-fourth to one-third of our lives at work. Whatever line of employment we choose will involve a great deal of time and effort if we are to be successful. The word of God sets out four general motives for work: (1) To support our families, and ourselves (1 Tim. 5:8); (2) to avoid theft (Eph. 4:28); (3) to be able to give to others (1 Jn. 3:17), and (4) to be productive citizens in our communities (2 Thes. 3:10).
Passages like Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:1; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 2:18 were originally directed to the ancient world of slaves and masters. The basic principles of honesty, hard work, integrity, and honor taught in these passages also apply to the modern employer/employee relationship. While these considerations should well define the basic demeanor of a Christian on the job they do not guarantee that we will necessarily enjoy our work, although they will certainly aid toward that end. Solomon said, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil” (Ecc. 2:24, ESV). There is probably nothing more common than for one to wish his/her work was other than it is, that one lived somewhere other than where they do, or that they were in circumstances different from those that are current. Observing the above Scriptural principles, however, should not only help us be more productive, but should help us to be more satisfied at our work as well.
There are many challenges to a Christian’s faith that exist in the world of secular employment. If your work involves dealing with the public to any degree you are no doubt faced with the problem of temperamental, unreasonable, irate and sometimes hateful people who are hardly known for their public courtesy. You may have to work with caustic tongued individuals who are abusive, given to profanity, dirty jokes, bigoted and racist remarks, gossip, bitter slander, backbiting, or otherwise defaming the character of others. You may sit within earshot of someone who is proud of his or her ally cat morals and delights in giving detailed descriptions of their weekend heroics at the local honky tonk, gambling casino, strip club, or gay bar. It may be that you are aware of the indiscretions of some employees, or even managers, who drive the company vehicle for personal business, take from the petty cash to buy lunch for himself or herself, and others, spend work time visiting pornographic web sites on the computer, falsify their time cards, dip into the till, or otherwise cheat the company. You may have to work with one who is a homosexual, and brings photos of himself in drag to show off to anyone who cares to dote over them. As a Christian you will have to take care not to get caught up in the steady stream of lying, cheating, filthy talk and innuendo, flirting and sexually suggestive words and actions that pass from person to person. A Christian will not fall into temptations of drinking, stealing or gambling that may present themselves on the job.
Our place of work is a mission field. We have opportunities to teach the gospel of Christ by word and example. We have to live by a consistent set of principles that keep us dedicated to pleasing God in all that we do.
by Dennis Gulledge