|By Crown Financial Ministries
In addition to supplying our physical needs, work plays a very important role in our spiritual lives, as believers. It provides the opportunity to put into practice spiritual principles that would otherwise be mere academics. A Christian can study every passage in the Bible that deals with serving others and read every biography on those who were noted servants and still not really understand the principle of surrendering rights.
On the job, however, the opportunity to yield our rights presents itself every day. The way we do our work day by day provides the best exterior reflection of our commitment to serve the Lord in a real, physical way. It doesn’t matter whether that work is in the home, on an assembly line, or in a corporate office. Our true Christian beliefs will be reflected more clearly there than in any other environment outside of immediate family relationships.
Somehow Christians have been duped into believing that work is a secular activity and, therefore, they shouldn’t expect to feel spiritual about a job. Many Christians view their jobs with drudgery. They are dissatisfied with their vocation, disgruntled on the job, and resentful of others’ successes. This attitude destroys our greatest area of outreach and witness.
Praise of men
"He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God’ " (Luke 16:15). Those who are resentful about the success of others, whose feelings are hurt because of the lack of recognition, or who use jobs as their alter egos all suffer from the same spiritual malady: They are in service to men instead of to God. If a Christian approaches a job with the attitude that some person must recognize him as "better" or "best," there almost always will be disappointment, because the first time the boss forgets to show appreciation, resentment creeps in.
It is interesting to note that the workers whose bosses praise them most highly are usually the ones who require the least praise. It takes a lot of energy to remember to praise someone for everything he or she does right. What a joy it is when a boss finds a quiet, efficient, self-starter who continually looks after the interests of other employees. Those qualities are so rare that the boss is torn between promoting that person and keeping him or her at the present job.
There seems to be a common characteristic in Christians who don’t rely on praise from others: they take literally the principle of work in Colossians 3:23-24. "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." The key is that they look to the Lord for their rewards, and in doing so they find His standards of conduct are so much higher than men’s that they surpass their bosses’ expectations.
Being God’s emissary on the job is not difficult; it’s impossible in our own strength. Only by yielding our rights to Christ can the world really get a glimpse of Him through us. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:12). The only way a Christian can avoid the traps of ego, pride, and resentment is to know that God is in total control of all circumstances and strive to please Him.