Christian Attitude Towards Work, Part 2

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Recognition

Some of us Christians may not need or want more money, so we tell ourselves that it is not the money that we crave for but we need the recognition for our hard work. For this, the Bible says in Colossians 2:22-25:

22Servants, obey your masters in everything. Obey all the time, even when they can’t see you. Don’t just pretend to work hard so that they will treat you well. No, you must serve your masters honestly because you respect the Lord.
23 
In all the work you are given, do the best you can. Work as though you are working for the Lord, not any earthly master.
24 
Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, who will give you what he promised his people. Yes, you are serving Christ. He is your real Master.
25 
Remember that anyone who does wrong will be punished for that wrong. And the Lord treats everyone the same.

In verses 22 and 23, we are told that we are to work as though we are working for the Lord and not our earthly bosses. As such, whether our superiors are physically present or not, we are to obey their instructions all the time. We are reminded not to pretend to work hard in order that they will treat us well in terms of giving us the recognition that we crave for or giving us the promotion or pay rise that we long for.

We are assured that if we work at our job as if we are working for God, God will reward us because He is our real Master.

Would we prefer to be rewarded by man or by God? Sadly, many of us, even Christians, actually prefer to be rewarded by man as man’s reward is not only tangible but it is also often almost immediate. We sometimes lack the faith and wonder whether or not we will get rewarded by God. Some of us may not even believe that God does reward in the first place.

Status Or “The Pride Of Life”

Some of us want the status and the admiration of the others. We want to hear how our friends, colleagues and family admire and envy us for the achievements we have made and how handsomely we have been rewarded for our intelligence and hard work.

James and John, the disciples of Jesus, also felt the same way and this is what Jesus said in Mark 10:35-45:

 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,
40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 
When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As opposed to what we think and what the world tells us, Jesus teaches us that to become great, we must be a servant.

Comparing With Our Peers

Another issue is that most of us were brought up being compared to our siblings, to our classmates and our peers, and this habit of comparing ourselves with our peers continues even after we become followers of Jesus.

Most of our discontentment usually arises because we compare ourselves with our peers.

The disciple, Peter had the same problem. The Bible tells us in John 21:20-22:

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
21 
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Sometimes, we feel quite contented but the moment we start looking at our peers and comparing ourselves with them, we become more and more miserable. It is difficult to accept that the person we work with every day gets promoted but we remain where we are.

Probably, Jesus would say to us, “If I want her to be promoted, what is that to you? You must continue to obey your bosses and work as if you are working for Me”.

THE CURE

I believe that the correct approach to this issue of rewards for our work, is to learn to regularly count our blessings. Not in comparison with others but with our former selves, and we will realise that God has indeed rewarded us in the things that we need and even want.

What more do we want? If we really need some other things, we are told to ask with the right motives.

James 4:1-3

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
You desire but do not have, so you kill (backstab and gossip). You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Let us pray.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your reminder that I ought to always remember and be grateful for all the blessings You have given me. I commit to do all tasks at work to please You and glorify You and not for recognition or rewards from man. I thank You that Your rewards for me far outweigh all that the world can offer me. Cleanse and purify my heart that I may always be aking from You and doing all things with the right motive, and that is to glorify Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

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