One of the saddest statements I heard in college was during a job interview. The owner, a Christian himself said, “I usually don’t hire Christians, they have been some of the worst workers over the years”. Hopefully as I worked for him I didn’t encourage that sentiment.
Of course this isn’t universal. I have also worked for bosses who loved hiring Christians and were very thankful for the hard work they received.
As believers we know that our calling is higher. We do work for men, but ultimately it is God whom we serve. As we work hard we are ultimately declaring our belief in the Gospel, and our hope in eternity. Paul says in Ephesians 6:5-8,
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
Every once in a while I run into an old paper from college or seminary. Not too long ago I found a little article a professor shared with us that was written by an old pastor. He offered 14 rules that he tried to live by in order to be the best pastor possible. As I looked through his “rules” it was obvious that this didn’t just apply to pastors, but rather it could be applied to any job anywhere.
Rule #1 – Eagerly start the day’s main work
Rule #2 – Do not murmur at your busyness or the shortness of time but buy up the time all around.
Rule #3 – Never murmur when correspondence is brought in.
Rule #4 – Never exaggerate duties by seeming to suffer under the load, but treat all responsibilities as liberty and gladness.
Rule #5 – Never call attention to crowded work or trivial experiences.
Rule #6 – Before confrontation or censure, obtain from God a real love for the one at fault. Know the facts; be generous in your judgment. Otherwise, how ineffective, how unintelligible or perhaps provocative your well-intentioned censure may be.
Rule #7 – Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.
Rule #8 – Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.
Rule #9 – Avoid complaining when your advice or opinion is not consulted, or having been consulted, set aside.
Rule #10 – Never allow yourself to be placed in favorable contrast with anyone.
Rule #11 – Do not press conversation to your own needs and concerns.
Rule #12 – Seek no favors, nor sympathies, do not ask for tenderness, but receive what comes.
Rule #13 – Bear the blame; do not share or transfer it.
Rule #14 – Give thanks when credit for your own work or idea is given to another.
Although looking at a list like this can be overwhelming I believe that having a list like this printed out and placed in your office, or at home is a helpful resource to go back to time and time again. Being a hard-worker in this day and age can be very frustrating, especially when you feel like your boss is making all the money, and the people around you are cutting corners and will do anything to rise the ranks. But remembering the promise in Ephesians 6, that we ultimately work for Christ, and that He will reward us in heaven, will keep us from frustration and selfishness, and will free us to work hard with joy and humility, as for the Lord and not for men (Col 3:23).