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The Christian's Guide To The Workplace

God has given the Christian specific guidance about working and how to conduct himself/herself in the workplace. Many times sin in our lives, ignorance of God's commands, and/or the world's influence tempts us to either not work or not work as we have been commanded. God's commands about work are not just specific instructions about certain situations but also include our attitude toward work and those we work for.

Are we following God's instructions if we are undependable in showing up for work? If we are frequently late? If we do lousy work? If we steal/pilfer from our employer? If we only do the things that will bring us to the attention of someone who can promote us or do favors for us? What if we are the supervisor and we show favoritism? If we place unreasonable demands on our workers? If we do not recognize those who work hard? If we spend work hours accomplishing personal things at the expense of our employer? These are some of the questions each of us should ask as see what God expects of us.

I Timothy 5:8 If a man will not work to provide for his family, he is worse than an unbeliever.

II Thessalonians 3:10-15 If one does not work (and is able), he is not to be allowed to eat what is earned by those who do. In fact other Christians are to avoid any social contact with him and admonish him to correct his sin. Notice work is a God-ordained practice. Work keeps us busy and from being busybodies. We are to work quietly, not to gain attention from man for what we are doing.

Ephesians 4:28 We are not only to work to have what we want and need but also to share with others.

Luke 3:12 Jesus tells tax collectors and soldiers to refrain from the unethical and sinful practices of the unbelievers; to conduct themselves in a proper manner.

Philippians 2:1-4 This passage continues with specific instructions for Christians to look out for the interests of others. We will find in other passages this also applies to those we work for.

Titus 2:9-10 Workers are not to steal (pilfer) from their employers or be argumentative.

Romans 2:17-24 God tells us we can not practice what we tell others not to do; otherwise, we turn them away from Christ and the Church. Thus, we can not practice unethical and sinful things in our work because we will bring shame on Christ and the Church.

Luke 6:31-38 God tells us to treat others (even non-Christians, even our enemies) as we would like to be treated. Even though they may treat us unfairly in return, God sees our actions and treats us with the same portion of justice or injustice we give others.

Ephesians 6:5-9 Though this passage is directed to slaves and masters, they apply to the Christian and his/her supervisors. We are not to work to please men and gain their attention. We are to work as though everything we are doing is for the Lord Himself. If God expects this of a slave, how much more does He expect it of us when we are free? Notice that we will receive from God the same treatment we give to our workers or our bosses.

Colossians 3:22-25, 4:1 Almost verbatim as the previous verses, this passage tells us to work heartily with the expectation God will reward us for our efforts. If we are supervisors/bosses we are to treat our workers as God would treat them; fairly, justly, and truthfully, recognizing true dedication and sacrifice.

I Peter 2:18-25 Here we are given specific instructions about how we are to work for someone who is unreasonable and/or unfair. This can be an extremely difficult situation for the Christian who has had promotions and or raises denied in favor of coworkers who are "man-pleasers" or are treated with contempt. Again, God tells us He is watching and sees our pain and will reward us for our patience and obedience.

A simple test that can usually determine if we should or should not do something at work is: If I were the owner of the company or the person responsible for task accomplishment would I want this to happen? How would I feel about it? If I were working for me, would I feel my expectations are realistic and fair (not necessarily liked!)

The ultimate test is: Would God be proud of my work and my attitude toward work?

Dwight Eppler