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On the JOB

by Kenneth Preston

All Christians are familiar with John 3:16, but do we know John 3:21? “He that doeth the truth comes to the light, that his works may be manifest, that they have been wrought in God.” I suppose that many feel that this has only a spiritual connotation. I believe that this verse applies to one’s entire lifestyle, whether at work or play or involvement with various “church activities.” Too often people soothe their conscience with the belief that their work is to be separated from Christian activities in much the same way that church and state are separated. The Lord is very explicit in regard to the way a Christian is to conduct oneself.

This is very evident in the fact that Jesus has placed such emphasis on doing the truth, not just saying the truth. What does that mean to the Christian in the workplace? Quite simply, it means that we are to handle our business affairs in such a manner that they are always above reproach. Remember, we Christians are being scrutinized today more closely than ever by those who would seek to justify their non-christian activities.

Doing the truth! What does it mean? Permit me to use some personal examples. I have retire recently after 30 years as an employee with the IBM Corporation. During that time, I was involved in various positions from assembly line work to management positions. In essence, while there was no written contract, I was under a contract which meant 40 hours of work for 40 hours of pay. During those 30 years IBM lived up to its contract by never missing a pay day. I would have negligent if I, for any reason, did not give my best effort for 40 hours.

By being negligent, I would have brought reproach upon the Lord. Those that I worked for, and with, knew my stand for the Lord. In many instances, more responsibilities were given because of my reputation. In many confidential matters, trust was given, not because of what I said but what I did.

I remember an occasion when I had to make a very difficult decision on the promotion of an individual. Several of the candidates being considered were qualified and deserving of the position. My main responsibility was to the company. Who could do the best job? When asked by my manager when I would make the decision, I simply stated that I needed to give some time to the decision. He said, “Are you going to pray about this?” My answer was “Yes.” It is important to note that this manager made no profession of being a Christian. So, you see, there are certain expectations that other people have of us, as Christians, in the workplace. These expectations can only be met by doing the truth.

A story has it that a certain young man, after finishing school, set out to find a job. The only job available to him was work as a lumber jack. Their reputation was one of a rough and tumble lifestyle, not caring for man nor beast. The young man’s mother was very concerned about his spiritual wellbeing, and she expressed this concern to him. Nevertheless he accepted the job. After being gone from home for a few months, he returned. His mother asked him, “How were you treated when those men found out you were a Christian?” His answer was, “They never knew about that!” The Lord exhorted us to let our light shine, not hide it under a bushel.

Our conversation is to be kept clean. In today’s work place, it will be very noticeable when your choice of words does not include those of the “four letter” variety. Have people apologized to you after using such words? This tells you what your effect is on them. Just like anything else you do, the more you practice, the easier it is. I have had others express envy because I was able to make effective presentations to various groups of individuals without the use of profanity.

What is your work attitude when the “boss” is not around. The Christian works the same, regardless of who is present. The absence of supervision does not give us the right to shirk our job responsibilities. The Christian gives a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. What is a fair day’s pay? It is whatever is agreed upon with the employer. Read Matthew 20:1-14. If we make a bad bargain, live up to it and live with it. We are to tell the truth and do the truth. There will be peer pressure to “good off.” When the pressure is applied, use the opportunity to inform them that your responsibility to God as a Christian is to d o the job that you were given to do. Your employer will soon know who is to be trusted. It will make his job easier and yours more rewarding. We are in the world, but not of it. We should conduct ourselves accordingly.

In a world of “What’s in it for me,” “Get away with whatever you can” attitudes, there are many opportunities to witness for the Lord. We cannot, must not, let ourselves get caught up in the various motivational terminologies currently being used, such as “self-esteem” and “self-fulfillment.” On the surface these appear to be very innocent; however, a closer examination reveals them to be centered on self. God clearly teaches us to “deny ourselves and follow Him.” The only real esteem and fulfillment come from serving God first and letting Him give us lasting joy. Serve Jesus, in all that we do, and in all that we say.

[Kenneth Preston went home to Glory in 2006. In addition to his business career he was a preacher for many years.]

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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13