(Day 1 of Testimony in the Workplace Study)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV).”
Throughout my career, I couldn’t possibly count the amount of times I have encountered significant change. “Change” is one of those words that can be very irritating—some say, “I love change!” For those who despise change, we may feel tempted to physically harm them. With change in the workplace, a host of challenges typically awaits. Maybe you’ve encountered change—a merger, a consolidation, new systems, another project, a new boss, new co-workers, or even a new position altogether. When most of these types of changes occur, you will hear a chorus—maybe even an avalanche of voices uplifted in the same manner. Some sentences that you’ll hear may include, “I can’t believe they expect me to go along with this!” Or possibly, “I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than they have!” Even more common would be, “I’m already busy! How could they think I have time for this?” Unfortunately, the workplace becomes an environment of complaining, grumbling, discontent, and very little actual work.
I wouldn’t generally recommend skipping around the office chanting, “I love change!” It’s not usually good to be “that guy.” But in times of change, which will often mean additional work, it is an opportunity to be a godly example. It’s too easy to get bogged down and take on the common mantra, speaking about “they” and “them” with regards to bosses, owners, and upper management in a harsh or negative light. But, as Christians, while they are our employers and sign our paychecks, we have to remember we have a higher reporting chain. Higher than our boss, President, or CEO is the One we should work heartily for—the Lord. While our CEO might decide our salary (or even continued employment), the Lord is capable of giving us a much greater reward. For that reason and many more, we are to serve Him first.
So, what does that look like in practice? It’s pretty easy to say some of these things and never really think about actually doing them. Here is something that will please both the Lord and your employer. When people are standing around complaining about all the work they have to do, do your work! When people are standing around grumbling about the boss, management, and so on, do your work! I know how simple that sounds, but think about it. How easy is it to gather around with your co-workers and unload in a huge gripe fest? Before you know it, you’ve all wasted 30 minutes of valuable time—time during which your employee is still paying you, by the way. Instead of joining in the pity party, sit down and do your job. Those 30 minutes will be far better spent. You’ll be closer to finishing the task, the Lord will be pleased, and your employer will be pleased.
Paul also tells the Colossian readers to work heartily. I can think of several co-workers throughout my career who didn’t work heartily, and they are no longer employed with us. They were known for cutting corners, taking the easiest way, and working at a fraction of their potential. It doesn’t matter what your job is or what position you hold within your company—be proud of what you do. Work hard and provide output that leads to your employer being grateful to have you. Provide service for your customers and clients that would be considered exemplary. In your work, always keeps this in mind—the Lord Jesus never took the easy way out. He was God manifest in the flesh, and still He worked as a carpenter for decades. I would say with total confidence that He never cut corners, produced shoddy output, or complained about the people He was working for. And, furthermore, He didn’t miraculously turn wood into structures—He did the work with His own two hands!
With regards to your testimony in the workplace, your work ethic absolutely matters. Keep it in mind the next time a huge project is dropped in your lap, or if the inevitable “change bug” comes to visit you. Instead of grumbling, raising your fists to the sky, and complaining to everyone that’ll listen—get to work. Your co-workers, managers, peers, and subordinates will take notice. If you are a Christian, you’d better believe that folks are taking notes! But far more important than the note takers, your Heavenly Father will take notice. He’s taking notes, too, and the stakes are much higher! Give Him the place and honor He deserves, and serve Him as you serve others on the job.