Dwight Fletcher | Do it for God
This week, we will look at a common belief that many people hold, that faith belongs inside the church and should not be carried into the other areas of a person's life. But what does the scripture say about this?
Colossians 3:17, 23-25 NIV says: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him...23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favouritism."
The command here extends to all that we do, and the practical interpretation of this scripture is that whether we are at church or in the workplace all we do or say must be done to the glory of God. But many people don't see the relationship between God and work in today's fast-paced market-driven work economy. You may then say, 'But my work has no eternal value' (I am only a mechanic, a teacher, a salesman, etc). But if you work like you are working for Christ, His glory will be seen and that has tremendous eternal value. We need to start embracing this as we approach our jobs. You are called to make a difference. Os Guiness puts it this way: "The truth of calling means that for followers of Christ, everyone, everywhere, and in everything lives the whole of life as a response to God's call."
Let us look at the life of Joseph. Joseph lived as the special son in his father's household and evidently got special treatment, for example, the coat of many colours. His brothers plotted together and sold him into slavery.
Genesis 39:2-4 NIV
"The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned."
Potiphar was not only impressed with Joseph's output but with his relationship with God and how that influenced him. Sometimes the reason we don't get promoted is that neither God nor our employer can trust us. The Lord may have a plan that requires us to experience difficulties but we have the wrong attitude, and so don't end up fulfilling our destiny. But Joseph stayed the course and maintained His integrity and faith despite the obstacles, and becasuse of this God was pleased with him.
What principles can we draw from Joseph?
1. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward," Colossians 3:23-24 NIV.
Recognise that we are all called by God and wherever we are He is our boss, and places us where He will.
2. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV.
We live in an imperfect world and many places of employment are far from perfect. Therefore, you will find plenty of reasons to get upset, even angry. Joseph had to forgive his brothers and overcome bitterness to be effective in his job. What that means is that we should thank God for our jobs and not murmur or complain.
3. "Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Jeremiah 29:7 NIV. Pray about the things you know. We sometimes underestimate the power of prayer. There are many stories of God turning situations around in companies through prayer.
When God is your boss, then it is automatic that His priorities must become your priorities. One priority that falls on the top of God's list for your life is your character. God wants authentic Christians to display His glory to a dying world. Authentic doesn't mean perfect, what it means is striving with all our might to please God in all we do and say. God is pleased with a man or woman like that and those around them easily see them as a beacon for God.
Our character in turn affects our attitude. Attitude oftentimes displays our character, because sometimes we might not say much but our attitude shows up everything. With the right attitude people will respect our opinion even when we voice strong objections to anything. Your attitude often determines the outcome.
The reality is you are God's ambassador, and even if you never get rewarded here on earth for your hard work, like Joseph, you need to first apply these principles of God to your life.