Our daily work is such a major part of our lives. We gain or lose so much depending on our work: our security; our careers; our sense of competency; our rewards and approval; our contributions and value; our business relationships. Most of our best conscious effort and time are poured into our work at least 5 days a week. We even dress our best for work, sometimes looking better than we do for our loved ones.
Work is also a source of great disappointment and pain if we encounter abuse or economic reversal. As an employment lawyer, I represent many people who have lost their jobs. Their stories remind me how much pain a stressful, abusive work environment can cause.
I give thanks to God that He cares about the details of our lives, including our work experiences. Jesus himself worked as a carpenter for most of his adult life. He understood the demands, the joys, and the difficulties of work. He approached preaching of the “Good News” as work too, enlisting, training and equipping others to do the work of the Kingdom.
Paul’s prescription for work is this: know who your boss really is. Please the One who matters. Then you will work with a positive, productive attitude. Others will see the quality, diligence, and joy that sustains your work, and will be drawn to Jesus. Notice that Paul doesn’t focus on the environment being right in order for you to be right. His focus is on your right attitude whatever the environment.
I will tell you from experience, Paul’s formula is environment transforming. God’s spirit living in you is like a buffer and immunization against the toxicity of abusive bosses and dysfunctional systems. In fact, a dismal setting only serves to highlight the splendor of the living Sprit of God. People will marvel at your resilience and peace. Someone inevitably will ask: “How do you do it?” opening a door to sharing the new life available in Christ.