PROGRAM – W-1710
I wrote a book called Workday Meditations quite a few years ago, and would like to share a few of those meditations with you. The book is out of print now, but the thoughts and messages are still relevant and helpful because they address everyday issues of our workplaces and show us how God’s Word applies.
In each of these devotionals, I addressed one particular issue that is common to most of us, and included a specific scripture that applies to that issue along with a challenge to apply it to your life.
This first one is entitled,
Your Work Reveals Your Character
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2
Did you ever realize that your work tells what kind of person you are? The Bible tells us that the works of God reveal to us what kind of God he is. The beauty of his creation and the majesty and grandeur of his universe give us a clear view of his character and his personality.
That’s true of us, as well. That can be a little scary, when you think about it. Suppose someone who doesn’t know you at all was asked to write a description of you based upon an audit and inspection of your work. What would that audit reveal?
Are you careful to do your work with thoroughness, or would your work reveal a careless attitude? Does your work show that you are considerate of the person at the receiving end or at the next stage of your work, or would the inspector conclude that you’re in a hurry to get through and get going, because your work is sloppy?
When your work involves dealing with other people, would it reveal an attitude of respect and concern for others? Do you think the inspector would conclude that you care about other people, and that you treat everyone with respect, or would it reveal that you are callous toward other people and can’t be bothered to be kind and considerate?
As I look at the work of God’s hands, I know so much about his loving and caring nature. I see all around me evidence that he is a merciful and bountiful God, a God who wants to bestow blessings and goodness on me. His work reveals his character to me.
Our work reveals our character as well. At the end of each day we need to ask ourselves what kind of impression our work has left behind us. Think about the week that is just behind you. Would you be pleased to have someone describe you based on the work you’ve done this last week? It’s a good question to ask yourself frequently.
Our challenge is to do our everyday work in such a manner that it exemplifies the character of Jesus Christ.
Another meditation is entitled,
“The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:21
Are you responsible to train someone on your job? Whether you’re a manager, a trainer, or an experienced co-worker, you’re likely to have some training assignments—formal or informal. There are also those occasions when you must require certain performance or behavior from your employees or co-workers. How can we motivate and inspire others to do what must be done?
Solomon advises us to use pleasant words. We still catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say. It’s amazing how differently people react to the same message given in different words. I can say, “I have a suggestion. . . ”, or “You’ve got to do this right away. . . ”, each followed by my instructions. Which words do you think would be more pleasant?
The New American Standard Bible has a slightly different translation of Proverbs 16:21: “The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”
Sweetness of speech is the art of making your words easy to swallow. It is not hypocrisy or phoniness; it is the wisdom of thinking ahead and choosing words that create a positive rather than a negative reaction.
As a Christian manager or trainer or fellow employee, remember that your choice of words can make all the difference in whether people want to follow you or not. Increase your persuasiveness and effectiveness today by choosing pleasant words that go down easy. The challenge is to give instructions and directions in the most pleasant and motivating way possible.
This next devotional gets right to the heart of some sticky situations that happen to us on our jobs.
When a Co-worker Tries to Make You Look Bad
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
Have you ever worked with a person who tried to make you look bad and undermined your position with the boss in order to make himself or herself look better? How should a Christian react and respond in this predicament?
We must always start with prayer—lots of prayer—for this person, for wisdom, and for understanding. Prayer really helps us gain God’s perspective; without that perspective, our reactions are bound to be less than Christ-like.
Next, find a way to communicate openly with this person so that you may confront his or her behavior. Obviously, you will need to tailor your approach to fit the circumstances of your own situation, but a few things are important to remember.
Have you ever noticed that Jesus frequently confronted people over a meal? There’s something about sharing a meal together that presents a good environment for touchy discussions. Invite this person to lunch or dinner—your treat—and see if you can open up the communication channels.
Remember that your choice of words is most critical. Give those words much thought and prayer. If you start by saying, “You know, I’m really sick and tired of the way you always try to make me look bad so you’ll look good,” you’re not likely to have much success. However, you might promote a good communication session if you say, “You know, I think we both recognize the value of a pleasant working environment, and I want to do whatever I can to make that happen. I have sensed some difficulty in our working relationship, and I thought it might be helpful to just talk about it and see if we could find some common understanding that would alleviate that tension.”
Finally, remember that you don’t have to cover everything in one conversation. Be willing to take baby steps, and allow time to help.
Here’s your challenge: To season your words of confrontation and communication with grace so that you will be successful in dealing with difficult people.
In a world that seems to operate on cutting corners and getting ahead at any price, here is a devotional that every Christian in the workplace needs to heed.
Working with Total Integrity
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9
Have you ever been faced with an ethical decision on your job? Were you ever tempted to adjust figures a bit to make yourself look better? Cut a corner here and there on the expense account for a few extra bucks in your pocket? Lie to your boss to avoid blame for a problem?
Maybe you’ve been asked, urged, or told to do something unethical like lying about your boss’ availability, your product’s capability, or your company’s service. The ethical decision you face is a simple one; it’s not difficult to figure out what is the right thing to do. But it may not be easy for you to make that decision because you may indeed put yourself or your job at some risk.
Remember what Solomon taught us: When you walk in integrity—doing what you know is the right thing to do whether it’s easy or not—your path is secure. You’re on solid ground. You don’t have to lie awake at night wondering if you’ll be found out. Indeed, you walk securely.
On the other hand, if you take the crooked path, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, you compromise your integrity and risk your testimony for Jesus Christ. You put yourself on a crooked path, and eventually it will be found out. Even when no one else is watching, God knows.
Your challenge is to make every workday one of integrity, even if your career is jeopardized.
These are just four short devotional thoughts to encourage you to remember that God’s Word is relevant to every issue you face on your job, so learn to always turn to the Bible to find principles and guidance for your workplace challenges. We are ambassadors for Christ as we go to our jobs each day, and we really need to represent him well!