In every job I’ve had over the years, from babysitting to internships to my first “real job” at a nonprofit and now my editorial role here, I’ve always tried to work hard. I’ve set the bar high for myself and tried to not only meet but exceed expectations. Part of this is because I’m a perfectionist by nature, but also, I know my work reflects on my character and on my faith since my coworkers and employers have known I’m a Christian.
I’ve never wanted a boss to see a poor work ethic in me and draw negative conclusions about Christians in general. I’ve tried to be the kind of employee that reflects the kind of God I love and serve: gracious, committed, loyal, honest, kind, and purposeful.
Jordan Standridge wrote a devotional for The Cripplegate recently where he shared a sad statement he had heard from a Christian employer in a job interview: “I usually don’t hire Christians,” the man said, “they have been some of the worst workers over the years.”
Not every employer-- Christian or otherwise-- feels this way, but we as believers should make every effort to be diligent and dedicated in the work that we do, no matter what it is or where we do it.
Ephesians 6:7-8 is a famous passage in regards to the work we do: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free,” Paul writes.
So, what does it look like to be a godly employee?
Here are 4 of the “rules” Standridge shared, based on a list from an old pastor. You can find his full list here!
- “Eagerly start the day’s main work.” It’s my tendency to start the morning by checking my email, my Facebook notifications, my blog comments, my Twitter feed, etc… but doing so gets me distracted and off-track without fail. Focusing on my priorities right at the start of the day, however, helps me get more done when my brain is still fresh and time hasn’t gotten away from me yet.
- “Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.” When I worked for a small start-up company, we had a rule among our team that we could only talk to one other person on the staff about any other issues or relationship dynamics before addressing the person directly involved. We all need guidance, advice, and other perspectives sometimes, but it can be a slippery slope to start gossiping with several different coworkers or talking about conflicts with multiple people. We all know how the game of telephone works-- the message just gets messier the more it’s passed on. Take things up with the people they directly involve as quickly as you can, and be sure to both speak and listen openly and humbly.
- “Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.” This one is hard to stomach! Our culture is obsessed with self, but Jesus taught us that the first will be last. We want to be seen, noticed, and appreciated by our employers, but seeking that praise for the work that we’ve done can be seen as prideful or greedy. When we humble ourselves and know that we do our work not to be lauded and praised but instead because it is our calling and our responsibility, we are reflecting Jesus to our employers and living as he taught us.
- “Do not press conversation to your own needs and concerns.” Each and every person at your company has tasks, projects, and responsibilities at hand. We know that the organization needs each person in different ways to accomplish greater goals, but so often we have a narrow-minded view of our work. We just see what’s directly in front of us, and we often ignore or overlook the needs of others around us. Having the selflessness to step back and let others speak and present their concerns shows others we are good team players. Just as in our faith, we know we cannot go through things alone, and we show our coworkers a glimpse of Jesus when we letting others take the floor instead of demanding it for ourselves.
Gary Blackard wrote “What Kind of Employee Would Jesus Be?” for Crosswalk.com, and his thoughts are both an encouragement and a challenge to us as employees too.
“Jesus was a man of integrity in everything he did,” Blackard says. “The second principle is that Jesus understood that work had value with purpose and meaning. The third principle we can learn from Jesus as an employee is that God expects us to perform at our best in everything we do. … When we understand that we should not separate our spiritual life from our work life, we will begin to transform what we do into something that pleases God.”
What do you think makes a great, godly employee?
Publication date: July 28, 2016
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com