Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

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How to Serve a Bad Boss

In Perspective,Work on January 23, 2014 by The Spillover

John Piper:

Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:7–8)

Consider these five things from Ephesians 6:7–8 in connection to your job.

1) A call to radically Lord-centered living.

It is astonishing compared to the way we usually live. Paul says that all our work should be done as work for Christ, not for any human supervisor. “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”

This means that we will think of the Lord in what we are doing at work. We will ask, Why would the Lord like this done? How would the Lord like this done? When would the Lord like this done? Will the Lord help me do this? What affect will this have for the Lord’s honor? In other words, being a Christian means radically Lord-centered living.

2) A call to be a good person.

Lord-centered living means being a good person and doing good things. Paul says, “With good will render service . . . whatever good thing each one does . . .” Jesus said that when we let our light shine, men will see our “good deeds” and give glory to our Father in heaven.

3) Power to do a good job for inconsiderate earthly employers.

Paul’s aim is to empower Christians with Lord-centered motives to go on doing good for supervisors who are not considerate. How do you keep on doing good in a job when your boss ignores you or even criticizes you? Paul’s answer is: stop thinking about your boss as your main supervisor, and start working for the Lord. Do this in the very duties given to you by your earthly supervisor.

4) Encouragement that nothing good is done in vain.

Perhaps the most amazing sentence of all is this: “Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” This is amazing. Everything. Every little thing you do that is good is seen and valued by the Lord.

And he will pay you back for it. Not in the sense that you have earned anything by putting him in your debt. He owns you and everything in the universe. He owes us nothing. But he freely, graciously chooses to reward good things done in faith.

5) Encouragement that insignificant status on earth is no hindrance to great reward in heaven.

The Lord will reward every good thing you do — “whether slave or free.”  Your supervisor may think you are a nobody. Or he may not even know you exist. That doesn’t matter. The Lord knows you exist.

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I’d Rather Be a Godly Administrator Than an Ungodly Minister

In Perspective,Work on May 2, 2013 by The Spillover

David Murray:

You spend your week filing papers, printing reports, chasing up bad debts, putting stamps on envelopes. Then you go to church on Sunday and you see a man leading hundreds in worship and prayer, and preaching inspiring sermons. It’s pretty obvious who’s pleasing God most isn’t it?

Is it?

Not so fast.

God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance.

What does He see there?

The Administrator’s Heart
Well, he sees that you start your day with prayer as you go to the office. You ask Him to protect you in your travels. You praise Him for safely navigating you through the rush hour.

You sit at your desk and begin the mindless filing, but as you do so, you are praying for family and friends.

You are interrupted by a boring colleague, but you cheerfully bear with him, listen to His moaning, try to cheer him up, and send him away with a bit of a spring in his step.

You sit down for coffee break, and bow your head for a few seconds of thanksgiving.

You pray for the Lord’s help to make that difficult phone call to a bad debtor. He yells and screams at you again, but you sense the Lord’s help as He gives you patience, self-control, gentleness, and peace. Slowly, your soft answer turns away wrath, and a few days later, the long-promised check appears.

Later in the day, you are putting the stamps on the mail, and praying for the Lord’s blessing on the day’s work, that the company would prosper, and that God would give harmony among the workers.

You leave work thanking God for His help throughout the day, thanking Him for a steady income, and asking God to bless your witness.

Then God looks at the pastor in his office.

The Minister’s Heart
There’s certainly a lot of hustle and bustle there. He’s reading furiously and typing even more furiously. He lost a couple of hours aimlessly surfing the Internet this morning, and a few more hours in a heated online debate about the millennium. Now he’s up against the clock as he tries to get a sermon together. But he’s done it many times before. He knows the websites to look at, he’s a skilled cutter-and-paster, and by the end of the day he’s got a fairly polished sermon constructed. He picks the songs he knows that everyone likes, and assures himself that after all these years in the ministry, he can easily lead the worship. Now back to the TV.

And sure enough, Sunday comes, he struts his stuff, everybody praises him, and he goes home, not to fall on his knees, but to start reading that latest book from Amazon.

Not one prayer. Not one contact with heaven. Not one act of dependence. Not one thanksgiving. Not one call to God.

Who’s pleasing God?
Now, you tell me, who’s pleasing God?

You do all that you do each day and no one praises you or encourages you or thinks you are particularly godly. The pastor comes and does his thing and everyone swoons. You go back to work on Monday without all that encouragement and affirmation, yet you patiently persevere in your calling.

Now, you tell me, who’s pleasing God?

If you do your work in dependence upon God, looking to Him alone for guidance, protection, strength, and blessing, you are doing your job with more faith than some men in pulpits!

If we preach about faith without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). But if we file papers in faith, drive trucks in faith, paint walls in faith, and dust the house in faith, God not only delights in us but rewards us too (Heb. 11:6).

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How Faith Affects Our Work

In Perspective,Work on December 10, 2012 by The Spillover

Tim Keller:

I’ve had some busy people pick up Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, look at the subtitle, and ask: “OK, so, in a nutshell, how does God’s work connect to our work?” Always a good exercise for an author, to be asked to explain your book in just a few minutes! Here are four ways Christian faith influences and shapes our work.

First, the Christian faith gives us a moral compass, an inner GPS giving us ethical guidance that takes us beyond merely the legal aspects or requirements in any situation. A Christian on the board of a major financial institution—recently publicly embarrassed by revelations of corruption—told me about a closed door meeting there between top executives. Someone said, “We have to restore moral values.” Immediately someone asked, “Whose values? Who gets to define what is moral?” And there’s our problem. There once was a habitus of broadly felt moral intuitions that governed much behavior in our society. It went well beyond the legal. Much of the ruthlessness, the lack of transparency, and lack of integrity that characterizes the marketplace and many other professions today come because consensus on those moral intuitions has collapsed. But Christians working in those worlds do have solid ethical guidance and could address through personal example the values-vacuum that has now been recognized by so many.

Second, your Christian faith gives you a new spiritual power, an inner gyroscope, that keeps you from being overthrown by either success, failure, or boredom. Regarding success and failure, the gospel helps Christians find their deepest identity not in our accomplishments but who we are in Christ. This keeps our egos from inflating too much during seasons of prosperity, and it prevents bitterness and despondency during times of adversity. But while some jobs seduce us into over-work and anxiety, others tempt us to surrender to drudgery, only “working for the weekend,” doing just what is necessary to get by when someone is watching. Paul calls that “eye-service” (Colossians 3:22–24) and charges us to think of every job as working for God, who sees everything and loves us. That makes high-pressure jobs bearable and even the most modest work meaningful.

Third, the Christian faith gives us a new conception of work as the means by which God loves and cares for his world through us. Look at the places in the Bible that say that God gives every person their food. How does God do that? It is through human work—from the simplest farm girl milking the cows to the truck driver bringing produce to market to the local grocer. God could feed us directly but he chooses to do it through work. There are three important implications of this. First, it means all work, even the most menial tasks, has great dignity. In our work we are God’s hands and fingers, sustaining and caring for his world. Secondly, it means one of the main ways to please God in our work is simply to do work well. Some have called this “the ministry of competence.” What passengers need first from an airline pilot is not that she speaks to them about Jesus but that she is a great, skillful pilot. Third, this means that Christians can and must have deep appreciation for the work of those who work skillfully but do not share our beliefs.

Fourth, the Christian faith gives us a new world-and-life view that shapes the character of our work. All well-done work that serves the good of human beings pleases God. But what exactly is “the common good”? There are many work tasks that do not require us to reflect too much on that question. All human beings need to eat, and so raising and providing food serves people well. But what if you are an elementary school teacher, or a playwright? What is good education (i.e. what should you be teaching children)? What kinds of plays should you write (i.e. what kinds of stories do people need)? The answers to these questions will depend largely on how you answer more fundamental questions—what is the purpose of human life? What is life about? What does a good human life look like?  It is unavoidable that many jobs will be shaped by our conscious or semi-conscious beliefs about those issues.  So, finally, a Christian must think out how his or her faith will distinctly shape their work.

How wonderful that the gospel works on every aspect of us—mind, will, and feelings—and enables us to both deeply appreciate the work of non-believers and yet aspire to work in unique ways as believers.  Putting all of these four aspects together, we see that being a Christian leads us to see our work not as merely a way to earn money, nor as primarily a means of personal advancement, but a truly a calling—to serve God and love our neighbor.

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Monday Morning Thoughts

In Perspective,Work on August 8, 2011 by The Spillover

John Piper in 1988 outlined five ways to make God known through our job – those of us who work in secular jobs. Appropriate thoughts for a Monday morning:

  1. The excellence of the products or services you render in your job shows the excellence and greatness of God.
  2. The standards of integrity you follow at your job show the integrity and holiness of God.
  3. The love you show to people in your job shows the love of God.
  4. The stewardship of the money you make from your job shows the value of God compared to other things.
  5. The verbal testimony you give to the reality of Christ shows the doorway to all these things in your life and their possibility in the lives of others.
If we can rightly represent God on a Monday morning, the rest of the week should be a breeze, eh?

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12 Ways to Glorify God at Work

In Work on June 6, 2011 by The Spillover

Here’s a post worth sharing from Josh Etter at the Desiring God blog.

Mark Twain once said, “Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.” Although there may be days when we feel like he got it right, we know God has ordained work as a stewardship of his created world (Genesis 1:282:15). He has designed work for his glory and our good. But how might we glorify God at work? This list is not exhaustive, but here’s at least 12 ways —

1. Believe that all legitimate work is holy or unholy before God based on our faith, not the nature of the work itself.

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

2. Be just and honest in all your dealings with money.

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight (Proverbs 11:1)

3. Be prayerfully dependent upon God, pouring contempt on self-sufficiency.

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Psalms 127:1).

4. Use the wages earned by your work to provide for and bless others.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Timothy 5:8).

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need (Ephesians 4:28).

5. Grow in your skill-set, work hard, and strive for excellence.

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29).

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23).

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

6. Exemplify love for your neighbor in how you interact with your colleagues.

Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14).

7. Plan ahead and sincerely preface future tasks with “if God wills.”

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house (Proverbs 24:27).

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15)

8. Speak the gospel to your colleagues.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).

9. Work as unto the Lord and as unto men.

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).

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust (1 Peter 2:18 ).

10. Focus on the work you’ve been given.

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty (Proverbs 28:19).

11. Speak words of grace.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)

12. Rest in your justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified (Galatians 2:16).