(The following is adapted from a devotional by the BMA’s Director of Operations John Meriweather.)
Colossians 3:22-24 says, “. . . Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord.”
In the Bible, God used the following workers to accomplish his will:
- musicians and writers
- teachers and philosophers
- blacksmiths and carpenters
- potters and masons
- hunters and shepherds
- judges – governors – tax collectors
- bankers and accountants
- doctors and lawyers
- fishermen and farmers
- tent makers and homemakers
Outside of sleep, we will spend more time working than any other activity in life. One third of an adult’s life is spent on the job. When it comes to our professions, God is much less concerned with what we do and more with how we do it.
There are three reasons that what you do is important and what you do matters:
#1 What you do is an opportunity to honor and serve the Lord. If we do not see our work as an opportunity to honor and serve the Lord, we will have a huge disconnect in our faith. If Christ is going to be Lord of our lives, he must be Lord of our jobs.
#2 What you do is an opportunity to be an example to others. If we are to be imitators of Christ in life, that means we must be imitators of Christ on the job. Christians should make the best employees. If every employee modeled your work habits what kind of organization would we have? If we are to be imitators of Christ in life, that means we must be imitators of Christ on the job.
#3 What you do is vital to the success of the organization’s mission.
One of the greatest obligations of leadership is to connect every person to the mission. It is vital that you see how what you do is critical to the mission of this organization. Very few of us have the opportunity to do “front line ministry”. Very few of us will put the next language on the air or train the next missionary.
Never fall into the trap of thinking what you do is unimportant or insignificant. You are, in fact, vital to the success of the mission of these departments.
A reporter once asked the celebrated orchestra conductor Leonard Bernstein what was the most difficult instrument to play. Given Bernstein’s experience and expertise, the reporter was eager to hear the great conductor’s valued opinion. To the reporter’s surprise, Leonard Bernstein replied without any hesitation whatever: “Second fiddle! I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
Second fiddle does not mean second class. It means that we all have a role to play to create harmony. Most serve behind the scenes. Much of what you do will go unnoticed as far as public ministry goes.So how can we do our job in a way that honors the Lord?
There are four key attributes that should be included on what we’ll call a “performance scorecard.” The first two of which relate to the work itself: the process and the product.
EXCEL (Strive for Excellence)
In Genesis 1:3-25, God said, “It is good” six times. Then in Genesis 1:31 he said it was very good – it was perfect. God’s work was marked by excellence. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Excel means to rise (above), to exceed expectations and is never fully achieved but pursued by constantly raising the bar. We are what we repeatedly do, so excellence is not an act, but a habit.
So what “habits” drive excellence? The next three elements on the scorecard are habits that mark excellence:
IMPROVE (Process Improvement)
We must strive to get better and not be satisfied with the status quo. In Genesis 2 we get a more insightful look at creation as God put his creation into action. But then in verse18 God said, “It is not good” and saw that man could be improved with a helper, someone to be in relationship with.
It was not that God’s creation was imperfect but that his creation could be even more enhanced. If you look back, what improvements have you made to your work? How have you added more value in your job?
The first two elements of the scorecard have to do with the products and processes we are responsible for. The last two deal with ourselves and how we approach our work.
In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul talked about the church: the body, the many parts, each with a role to play. Ephesians 4:16 says, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Everyone, Paul says, is responsible for their own growth and the growth of others.
So here are the last two elements of the scorecard:
GROW (Personal Growth)
Am I growing more and more like Christ every day?The world is constantly changing and so must we. Healthy things are growing things. Growth is a sign of health. If we aren’t growing we become complacent, stale, and less valuable. So how are you growing as an employee?
The key question is this: how are you making yourself more valuable to the organization?We must make an investment in ourselves – to add skills and experiences so we continue to grow as people and as professionals.
SERVE (Christ-like attitude)
As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. No one works in a vacuum. We need and rely upon each other. Nothing unifies us more than when we serve and invest in each other.
The Benham Brothers wrote the book Whatever the Cost. They were supposed to be the original Property Brothers but got canceled when their views on abortion became public. Now they run a highly successful real estate business where one of their key values is “Be A Fountain Not a Drain”.
Are we the kind of people who pour into others or drain the life out of them? When we think of serving, we should think about helping, investing in, supporting and encouraging each other.
How can your work point others to the cross of Jesus Christ?