Monday 21 July 2014

Christian work ethics: How to behave in the work place

A scene that opens up Spiderman 2 goes like this.

Peter Parker, our friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, is late countless times to arrive at his job at a pizza shop and has to make a delivery within 7 minutes
He is told if he fails again, he is fired, which ultimately happens.

The film does give a context why he is late and that is due to juggling commitments in his life, but why am I using him as an example you may ask?

Simple, because Christians are to be a light to the nations, our work is to be just as sanctified before God as certain activities in church.

Every aspect of a Christian's life is to be subject to Christ, even leisure pursuits such as going to the cinema, gardening etc.

The Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18 tells us to love God with everything and love our neighbour as ourselves. How can this be implemented in the work place?

To love God would be to do the best job you possibly can for your employer, while loving your neighbour is providing good customer service by action and words.

If one is consistently late to his job, doing a shoddy job and making mistakes without seeking to correct them, that isn't glorifying God in the slightest or even loving your neighbour, which would include your employer and doing what pleases them.

Paul when speaking to slaves said the following:
"Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free."

"Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 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 their wrongs, and there is no favoritism."

While slaves are not found often in church circles, the principle here can be applied to the workplace, namely doing your job well regardless of whether or not your employer has their eyes on you. You work for your employer and serve them as you were serving the Lord.

If you make any mistakes, do your best not to make those same errors over and over again and make an effort to try harder next time.

A lack of love for your neighbour would also include failing to deal good customer service via being rude, deliberately unhelpful, or providing service that puts the customer off from ever returning to the organisation you work for. Loving your neighbour would be a reference to them being provided with the best service you can possibly give to them.

Another point to make is one is not to be lazy at work, for that is stealing from the work valuable time you could be using for the purpose of God's glory and doing your employer the service they hired you for. Working hard is definitely the Christian way and this ethic towards work is found within Jewish circles. Work is something to be revelled in, not in the sense of turning it into an idol or indulgence, but something that should be a delight to you every morning.

Perhaps maybe the thing to do is to ask God for the strength to do the work well and for his glory.

David Pawson once said regarding God that "he would rather have a conscientious taxi driver than a careless missionary" and that I believe is a true statement.

God would much rather have someone in a regular job doing it well, than being in the missionary position and do a shoddy job. This isn't to diminish the importance of missionary work, but it is important to realise that God is interested in how you do your job.

The only jobs that are evil in God's sight are jobs that are immoral and illegal, namely selling cocaine, being a pole dancer, porn star, crime boss, pirate (not just sea but video/DVD/Blu-Ray pirate).

Legitimate, honest workplaces are absolutely fine, it could be a butcher, baker, undertaker, computer programmer etc, the list is long, so long as it doesn't violate the Law of God and the Law of the Land, you'll be fine.

First Romans 13:1-5.
"Romans 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

And 1 Peter 2:13-17
"13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."

Both these apostles, in accordance with Jesus' teaching exhorted obedience to governments, however the only time they should be disobeyed, which can be in the TANAKH, is if they tell you to do something against God's commands. Such an example is in Daniel 2 when Daniel's friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace after refusing to bow to an idol created by Nebuchanezzar and of course the story of Daniel in the lion's den that needs no introduction.

Get out there and make a difference at work. Even there, you are on the mission field.

Answering Judaism.

No comments:

Post a Comment