Have you ever measured yourself against others by the job you had? I know I have. I used to confuse job title for importance. I figured the long hours, massive responsibilities and an overwhelming to-do list were the measures of my own value. In addition, if others did not appreciate my position, what I had or how I did my job, I took it as their personal disapproval of me - which just made the whole situation worse!
I'm wondering how many of you can relate to my own desire to simply be approved by those around me. As I was seeking approval, I saw the labels of success provided by the world and continued to chase my own significance into an idolatry spiral. I was overcome by chasing after more possessions instead of running toward God.
If you are a business owner - ministry leader or a faithful worker, keeping up with the Jones' can be exhausting and get us into more trouble than we might realize in the beginning. If we continue focusing on what our own possessions will buy us and how they might bring us more power, we slowly replace God with stuff.
There is one story that comes to mind that provides an interesting example of the challenge to honor God in our work. Most of you are probably aware of this short - yet impactful story in the Book of Genesis. The story is Cain & Able.
While this story only has a few verses dedicated to the incident, we can see ourselves and our jealous drive in there somewhere. If we take a step back from the details associated to the killing of Able by his brother, we might see the beginning of a struggle of world views. From reading the text - it appears that Cain had a heart for the harvest and Able had a heart for God.
This is the cosmic battle we continue to see today. Is our faith and worship of the Father more important than the fields we tend, the widgets we sell or the paycheck we bring home? I would say that in a simple look around you - you could probably identify this same problem today. We're continually bombarded by advertising images that say we just aren't good enough without the right look, the right toys or the right financial resources - leaving the judgement of worth to our own peers.
This is upside down! God provides us with our value - creating each of us in His image. If we are to honor God in our work - we should be focused on pleasing Him in worship at the office. This means performing to godly standards and having a stewardship perspective.
Performing to godly standards starts with understanding God's personality and working with the quality that honors his character. However, knowing God's personality can be hard work - it requires study, prayer and accountability. Therefore, I challenge you to grab your Bible and simply start reading. As you do, look for the character traits of God and start applying them to your work today. As a way of keeping you on track, I encourage you to confide in a friend - asking them to hold you accountable for the changes you are going to make.
In addition to simply understanding God's character - shifting your world view to see possessions the way God sees them will dramatically impact your ability to honor God with your work. If you view your job, your employees, your paycheck, your car, your team, your everything as a possession of God's that you are simply blessed to take care of for a while - your behavior will change. These changes will show others who has lordship over you life.
As you display these changes in world view others will notice. As they notice that you are working to honor God - having a heart for Him rather than a heart for the harvest - you will be changing lives. Others around you will see this as refreshing and start to act authentically around you. All this allows you to share the Good News of Christ and affirm their value through the sacrifice that was paid for you and them on The Cross.
Imagine what work would be like if we shifted our eyes from the grievous act of Cain against Able and saw the root cause as not having a heart for God in our work. By adjusting our own behavior before jealousy takes over - before we replace God with our paycheck - we get a chance to witness and worship through our work. May God richly bless you and your business!