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How Can Christians Stand Out At Work?

Updated: May 25, 2020

By sis Grace Ler

In a study of 40 cities done in August 2019, Singapore was listed as the second most hard-working city in the world, after Tokyo. According to Ministry of Manpower statistics, Singaporeans work an average of 45 hours or more a week, which is a significant proportion of our time.

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves: why do we need to work? The most obvious reason that comes to mind is so that we are able to provide for ourselves and our families. Without work, we will not have the money to buy our basic necessities such as food, water, and clothing. We will need to depend on others to support us, and this is also frowned upon in the bible.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

However, this is not the only reason why work is important. After creation, God told Adam to work by placing him in the garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Evidently, God wants us to work and not idle our time away. God commands us to work, as seen in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

It is also important for us to work in order to have the means to help others in need and to share our blessings, and this in turn would bring glory to God. Ephesians 4:28 - Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Being generous and sharing with others what we have has been greatly emphasized in many verses of the bible as it would please God and He would reward us for doing so.

It is often easy to fall into the trap of separating our work or secular life from our religion, being on our best behavior on Thursdays and Sundays when we go to church, and yet not displaying the same values at work. Given that we spend so much time at work (before we were made to work from home in view of the COVID-19 situation), it is important for us to ensure that we make a good impression on others as Christians and continuously reflect on our work ethics. Hence, these are some values that we can all strive for at work:

1. Having integrity and a clear conscience. Having integrity means doing what is right even when no one is watching. We all know that cheating and stealing are wrong, but how about telling a “white” lie, covering up our mistakes, or going back on a promise or commitment we made? We can learn from the example of Daniel who held fast to his beliefs in all circumstances. He refused to “defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8) and continued to pray and give thanks to God despite the threat of being cast into the den of lions (Daniel 6:7-10). Daniel maintained his integrity and did not compromise his beliefs despite the risk of persecution. Having integrity at work is important in order to build the trust and confidence that our colleagues, bosses and clients have in us.

Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

2. Striving for excellence as mentioned in the bible: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Do we try our best in the tasks assigned to us at work or do we try to cut corners and do the bare minimum sometimes? Just like how we should aim to pursue excellence in our Christian walk by seeking to do our best to the glory of God, we should also strive to do the same in our work. We should, however, take note that endeavoring to be excellent is different from striving for perfection as perfection allows for no mistakes at all. Striving for excellence, on the other hand, means doing the best we can with whatever resources we have, not avoiding tasks for fear of failure and not giving up when mistakes are made.

3. Being patient, loving and forgiving. In our fast-paced high-strung society where time is key and we have many deadlines to meet, it can be easy to be impatient and lose our temper at our colleagues when our expectations are not met. Everyone makes mistakes, including ourselves. Hence, we should try to be more loving and forgiving towards others when a mistake is made, just like how we would hope others can be toward us when we are the one at fault. It is important to give constructive feedback instead of using harsh words so that the other party can learn and not make the same mistake again.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith

4. To avoid gossiping but only speak words of grace. We may think that it is “small talk” with our colleagues, or that we are simply venting our frustrations and unhappiness about someone, and we may not even realize that we are engaging in gossip. However, gossiping can hurt in so many ways. It can destroy people’s self-esteem, hurt someone’s reputation or result in division and strife among colleagues, which is what Satan hopes for. As Christians, we should "shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness" (2 Timothy 2:16). Instead, we should use our words to edify others instead of bringing them down.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

5. To avoid jealousy. Jealousy is an emotion that we may feel in many situations without even realizing, such as when a colleague receives credit for a project, gets a promotion or a pay raise. We may think to ourselves that it is unfair and question why we are not the ones receiving such rewards for our work. It is human nature to do so – 1 Cor 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? However, is it godly or Christian-like to do so? When we are jealous of someone, we display insecurity, discontent and lack of thankfulness to God. This is how Satan wants us to feel – to desire worldly ideas and things. Hence it is important to be aware of such thoughts, identify our emotions, and count the many blessings that God has showered upon us. Remember that this life is temporary and we should lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth.

The list of values above is not exhaustive, and of course, it is not limited to the work setting but should also be applied to other aspects of our lives. However, it is easier said than done. We may face different stressors at work and may sometimes be pressured to compromise on our beliefs and values. But we should always keep in mind that we are working for the Lord instead of men, and we should work for men in the manner that is pleasing to God. This would go a long way to helping us uphold our Christian values at work.

Colossians 3:22-23 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

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