- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On May 25, 2016
- 10 Comments
“Outside of church, many Christians often fail to “walk the talk” or even to “talk the talk” in our efforts to not cause ripples, to go with the flow or fit in.”
Intro: (by EDITH OHAJA)
For a long time, I’ve been bothered by the fact that in many offices, you often cannot distinguish believers from non-believers simply by observing the way they do their work. It appears that children of God also tend to slack and exhibit poor work ethics in many other respects. The popular belief is that we shouldn’t extend ourselves beyond the minimum and that travelling the moral high road at work will stunt our progress.
That got me thinking: Isn’t it possible to operate with higher standards in our workplaces and still succeed ’cause frankly, we all want to make it and make it big? So, how can a believer prosper in, say, business without cutting corners, cheating people and bringing shame to the name of our Saviour, Jesus? On a general level, how can we shine as lights in our workplaces? And what, specifically, does the word of God teach and promise in this regard?
To help us address the issue and answer these nagging questions, we have this two-part article on “How to Uphold God’s Standards in our Workplaces”. Besides workers, the article is also relevant to those learning vocations and students because once we imbibe dishonesty, negligence, etc. at that level, we transition with them to the arena of employment.
This first segment of the article identifies common pitfalls for the working Christian while the second segment provides the teaching of the scriptures on the matter, ending with specific things we can do to shine as lights in our workplaces.
Thank God for our beloved sister, Robin Coleman (author, saleswoman), who contributed this article.Can we uphold godly standards at work and still succeed? Click To Tweet
How to Uphold God’s Standards in our Workplaces #1
In the world we live in, our Christian standards of how we should conduct ourselves as employers and employees has largely become a matter of opinion. It would appear that God’s word is no longer the plumb line for many who claim the faith, but rather our conduct is left to our own impulses.
It has become easy to separate our “spiritual life” from our “work life” making it much easier to fall into the common pitfalls most people face in the business world. If you think you are immune to this, think again. Author, Larry Crabb talks in his book “The Marriage Builder” about how we as Christians are well practiced in defending our own sense of goodness. We will justify any wrong behavior under the conceived pretense that it was somehow in someone else’s better interests when in reality, it was for our own. As Jeremiah 17:9 says; “The heart is deceitful above all things.”
So what are these “common pitfalls” I mentioned? Have we succumbed to the lie that they are unavoidable in the world we live in? Do we feel it is impossible to be successful without them? How can we, as genuine believers, guard against this and choose to raise the standard of holiness in our work places to what God’s word requires of us? Let’s start with the first question.What misdeeds are common among Christian workers? Click To Tweet
Common Pitfalls for the Working Christian:
“”It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer– then goes off and boasts about the purchase.” –Prov. 20:14
Lying, cheating, cutting corners, laziness, backbiting, gossip, negativity, stealing, ignoring the rules, greed, negligence…these things happen often in the business world today. Some of those may seem rather serious and something a “Christian” would never do.
But though we may not call it for what it is (e.g. a white lie vs. a straight-out lie), our sins and choices are just as bleak and condemnable as those of the world, and worse because we profess to hold ourselves to a higher standard. This is why the world looks at many professing Christians as hypocrites. Outside of church, we often fail to “walk the talk” or even to “talk the talk” in our efforts to not cause ripples, to go with the flow or fit in.
I remember a working experience where professing Christian co-workers would put on a front, smile it up when a customer or employer was present, but would begin gossiping, backbiting and speaking negatively the moment their back was turned. It was like a sickness everywhere in that facility. Negativity oozed from every office. They knew how to change their tone the moment they were around someone with a higher or lower standard. In essence, they could “talk the talk” that was well received by its hearers.
In another working experience with a professing Christian co-worker, I witnessed corners being cut and complete disrespect and disregard for certain rules because they deemed them “a waste of time”, “stupid” or “unreasonable” and the employer would “never know” if they followed them or not. In the restaurant business and other places, I’ve seen many staff pilfering food and items as if it was “no big deal”. Laziness and being slack or negligent are very common as well.
I remember an occasion where a colleague blatantly lied about something we were selling, inventing a story just to make a sale. When confronted, the person justified and explained it all away. Another colleague snaked potential customers from a fellow worker after that person had already done all the work and then claimed their sales.This is a guest post on walking the talk at work. Click To Tweet
This may seem smart in the eyes of the world but it is not God’s way. If we are doing it because we feel it’s the only way to succeed, we clearly haven’t been paying much attention to the scriptures. Our fear of struggling to make ends meet except we operate in unrighteousness is misplaced because prosperity in God’s word is tied to obeying His commands while curses are rained on those who deal deceitfully.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8
“10. Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11. Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12. Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13. Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.” – Micah 6:10-15
The Bible also warns that whatever is gained through sin does not endure and can separate us from God. So pursuing wealth and success by all means is counterproductive. Our priority as believers should be to honor God and His blessings that make rich without adding sorrow will follow us.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33
In the same vein, we may feel the misconducts mentioned so far don’t matter, everyone does them. So they’re okay, right? Wrong!
You can click on the title below to read the concluding part of this article:
The scriptural quotations in this article were taken from the English Standard Version of the Bible.
About the author:
Robin Coleman née Burk was born in Arizona but raised in Oklahoma. She is the author of two children’s books, “Destination White House” and “Cinderfella”. She is currently employed in direct sales which allows her to work from home and share hope, inspiration and minster to women around the world through the social media. She and her husband, Jason, are expecting their first child with great excitement.
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