Whether or not you realize it, we are constantly bombarded with internal questions about our performance at work—veiled uncertainties that float about in our minds and hearts:
Can I pull this off?
Will they even notice how much time and work it took to complete this project?
How can I shift the discussion to regain control of this situation?
Am I still going to have a job if we don’t land this account?
Does that client really respect me or value what I bring to the table?
When we are caught up in the heat of battle in the workplace, we don’t always have time to reflect on the “inner questions” we are confronted with. But if we pay attention, those questions will disclose what we are truly focusing on. The trouble with a large part of today’s workforce is that we are overly consumed with thoughts of what we can gain for ourselves. When I am pre-occupied with what I need to do to “make it happen”, or how I will gain the recognition or compensation I deserve, I reveal that I am thinking of myself above the company or the team or the client. Jesus is our ultimate example. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).
Instead of simply reacting to emotions or the “fires” waiting to be put out each day, we should be proactively asking a crucial question: How can I contribute? [add, donate, supply, play a part, be a factor ] By concentrating on how I can add to my company, help the cause of an associate, play a role in a project, or supply a customer, I begin to see beyond my own achievement to a “greater end”. Contributing means adding value, donating skill, having a say, giving all to something bigger than yourself. Your role in the marketplace is to contribute, not grab. Psalm 37:3 is a great verse to take to work every day: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” [the ESV says “settle in” the land and “befriend” faithfulness] There are three key phrases to consider . . .
Trust the Lord. Look to God as your ultimate source. Even though your check may be signed by an officer of your company, it is only a medium through which God provides for you. This is a truth that will become more real during this difficult economy.
Do good. The word “do” suggests action and work. We don’t labor simply to earn a living. We earn a living while pursuing our vocation and calling. The purpose of our work is to serve God and contribute to His purposes on earth. Unless a business promotes something immoral or harmful, God’s common grace will be found throughout the marketplace.
Cultivate faithfulness. Cultivating is not just an obsolete farming term. It can also mean humanizing, taming, educating, refining, or enlightening. Cultivating faithfulness [authenticity, truthfulness] begins in our own hearts, and moves out into the context of our work. The land could represent our nation, a certain place or geography, or the environment you live or work in. Finally, God does a great thing . . . He multiplies our faithfulness and to all those around us. Oh how we need workplace believers to settle down and cultivate faithfulness in the land!
Joseph was a bright young man of faith, who found himself in the worst of circumstances in a foreign country. Even as a servant in a ruler’s home, Joseph make significant contributions by managing Potiphar’s affairs and assets with excellence that prospered his master. After being falsely accused and thrown into prison, he proved himself trustworthy with the chief jailer and through God’s divine orchestration, he found himself developing a strategic plan for building up the food supply before a terrible drought. His contributions saved an entire country (not even his own) in a crisis. Joseph didn’t understand or know God’s plan in advance. He didn’t know that God would also use him to rescue his own people. He simply and faithfully contributed wherever he found himself. (Genesis 39-50)
Everyday you and I go to work with the opportunity to contribute something, somewhere. As you begin your work, try asking a different question” “How can I contribute today?”