Thrive In The J.O.B

We spend the strongest, most productive years of our lives in the Rat Race – an often meaningless cycle where we work, earn an income, spend it, work again, more income, spend some more etc ad infinitum. This cycle is an intensely competitive struggle to survive, obtain wealth and get ahead of others in an aimless, futile, exhausting routine. How then do we thrive in that rat race?

I believe that God wants you to thrive everywhere – even in your work place. There are only 4 months left in the year – God wants you to thrive in all of them, and even thrive into your future.
I believe it because of God’s promise of blessing to his people in every sphere of their lives including the work place. According to Deuteronomy 28 God wants you to thrive in the city and in everything you put in your hand to do. That is what my desire is for you as well.

What tools then does God give us to be able to thrive in a tough work situation?
I would like us to look at the life of a young man from whom we can polish up and remind ourselves some of the attitudes to propel us to thrive.

Genesis 39:1-6

Joseph’s story has some truths for us about how we can counter negativity through developing godly attitudes towards work.

(1) Respect for People
For starters, Joseph had an attitude of service and respect for his master. In verse 4 we are told that Joseph attended to his master and his household.
One of the reasons we don’t thrive at work is because we have become too negative or casual with our relationships at work. We have taken our cues from TV and movies where people are so casual that there is almost no order in how people relate.

That isn’t a thriving attitude. Paul speaking to the Ephesians told them 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.

Slaves? Before someone starts getting nervous about what the word slaves here means – let us flash forward into today –
What would you call someone who –
– signs a contract to work and is bonded to an organization for say 5 years;
– has a car bought for them through a loan that the company will pay;
– whose weekly schedule is determined by his/her boss;
– who cannot go on leave unless their boss approves
– who has to ask for permission to go have baby – go for maternity or paternity
– whose income is solely dependant on their employer’s assessments
– whose make of car/neighbourhood is recommended by their position and role in the organization?

In today’s language we would call them upwardly mobile highflying executives. In the ancient times that the book of Ephesians was written – the term for such a person was “slave” doulos. So don’t be confused by the use of the word slave here – the Roman definition of slave was a person whose job description was to work for his master who housed him, or paid rent, or even paid off a debt for him. The term was used for people who were bought, or people who sold themselves so that their debt would be paid. It was also used for high value sportsmen, and business managers who brought great profit to their employers.

So what were we saying again – Paul speaking to the Ephesians told them 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear.

You need to give due regard to the work relationships around you. Give respect to those who you work with, especially your leaders. That is what respect is about. Putting people in their rightful place.

Respect your leader and fellow workers
Reasons:

  • Facilitates productivity
  • Facilitates learning
  • Creates boundaries

Practically – refer to them respectfully, in accordance with the protocol of your organization, submit to them when they give instructions, raise your objections politely and respectfully. For peers and those under you – the same respect you give them, is very likely the same respect they will give you.

(2) Heart for God
The other thing am reminded from Joseph is to have a heart for God. Joseph’s work and relationships in this place are referenced around his relationship with God.

God blessed him, he found favor with God, the Lord was with him and so on.
Working for God in a Secular World: God is being pushed out of work. They say religion is private, and work is a public space. In an increasingly secular world, there is a need to return to the giver of Work- and that is God himself. There really should be no reason why – if someone asked you why you are so good at what you do, you could respond, “actually it is a matter of what I believe. I am a good worker because I believe God wants me to be.” There is no need to be apologetic about it.

In the same way I can tell a cop – I don’t bribe because I am a Christian, I should be able to say – I am a good worker because I believe in Jesus Christ.
Paul told the Ephesians work
“…with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. [6] Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
As we work we must have a sincere, genuine, authentic heart for God.

Having a heart for God and relating with God in your workplace connects God with your workplace. It connects your environment with God’s values, God’s standards and eventually God’s blessings in the many forms they come.

One way to develop a heart for God in your workplace is to pray for your work place. Every reason for you to leave the place [bad pay, bad collegues, bad environment, and, especially, bad boss] – is an excellent opportunity for prayer. Eventually you may need to move on from the place, but God’s answers to your prayers and His blessings can then become the legacy you leave in the place.

Every reason for you to stay in the work place or business is also a great reason to pray. If your work place thrives then you thrive as you stay there. More sales means more money for the organization and possibly for you. More business opportunities means more opportunities for you to grow in leadership and responsibility.

(3) Devotion to the Task
Joseph worked in such a way that it was easy for him to take increasing responsibility for the work. He took on the tasks with a measure of devotion and effectiveness that always catapulted him to the top.
We are told that in a short time he was already in a place of responsibility for everything except what his master, Mr Potiphar was to eat.

We often disguise our lack of enthusiasm and bad attitude towards work in interesting ways – many people work with negative feelings. I will be honest, sometimes we work as if we have a small chip on our shoulder. Let me break it down for us – Whenever we say
– the boss is bad I will be bad – we are struggling with an attitude of Revenge
– I deserve better – entitlement
– I hate what I do – discontentment
– I prefer what my friend does – jealousy, covetousness
– they don’t know what I am going through – self pity
– the world is against me, I will pay back through my job – bitterness;

These negative attitudes sap the energy from us and make us less devoted to the tasks at hand.

I want you to thrive – but I recognize that thriving goes beyond respect for the people and having a heart for God. It takes your own effort to make sure that you are doing your best in the assignments before you.

Paul told the Ephesians to
[7] Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, [8] because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

Joseph worked in such a way that his task was always well done, so much so that he rose to the top several times. Paul is clarifying this for me by teaching me that God wants me to have zeal, zest and gusto as I do what I do. It is pleasing to God for me to do what I do and to enjoy it.

Ecclesiastes 3:22there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his work…

The good thing is that enthusiasm is infectious – a whole work place can be transformed when one person is willing to have a God-inspired passion, devotion and excitement for what they do.
Devotion and enthusiasm is infectious. When you are enthusiastic it gives you a measure of influence in the organization. At Mavuno that is what we are about – fearless influence.
Practically – Do what you do with a flair. Use your imagination and gifts to add a spring and touch of excellence in what you do.

Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly, without reservation, going the full way for God.

Rewards for Work
A final note is in order here-
– Every employer is looking for people who are respectful of their colleagues. They are looking for team players. They reward this with a job, and with responsibility, perhaps even money.
– Employers will also reward enthusiastic devotion to work. They sometimes will give awards or even bonuses. The best employee awards tend to go to the most devoted workers. I think the biggest reward for you is God’s favor on your job.

Joseph’s story has ups and downs to it. My prayer is that you will have ups and ups. However the thing that Joseph had was God’s reward of favor. For all his devotion and goodness he landed in jail – but it is God’s favor that sustained him there and took him out of it. It was not money or comfort. God’s favor can bring these, but God’s presence is what I desire most because it will guarantee that you thrive whatever the environment.

Paul reminds us
[7] Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, [8] because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

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7 Responses to “Thrive In The J.O.B”

  1. Word!Thank you so much for this sermon i kept refreshing the page yesterday to check whether the sermon had been posted since i missed church on Sunday.

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  2. fearless influencer Says:

    hey pasi thx the sermon was great it really reminded me that am representing god in all i do including how i execute my duties

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  3. Indeed Pst Kyama. When one serves God it is because God has given them work and all the more that the work should be a blessing in success and prosperity. It is a cycle in which God has to be acknowledged and present for it to work and make any sense. Without Him it is all vanity. Thanks to God that through you I have found meaning as I face a situation at my new place of work that seems to be vanity in terms of undefined and multiple roles and requirements. God bless.

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  4. I kept on checking the blog for this sermon coz really I came to Church that Sunday morning desperate… desperate to hear from God coz work had really stressed me and Pst.K, as in God used you. This is a sermon I will keep refering to for a longtime. God bless you.

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  5. […] Thrive In The J.O.B. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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  6. Today I’m a very sad person. I have been praying so hard for this job, and finally they called me for the interview, and I was successful . The interview was very intense (a panel of 9 directors) and I was selected from the other 8 people. I went to church on the October Friday worship night to thank God and offer my pledge to Him as thanks giving from the first salary I receive from this organization.

    So why am I depressed today?

    I had a meeting today with the HR manager of the Organization for my salary negotiations. The sad part is that the HR is offering me less than what am even earning at my current job.

    This a very big organization, and the amount I’m asking for is not something they can’t afford. I have always dreamed of working for this organization, so I only requested for an additional 10,000/= gross above what I’m currently earning in the organization I work for.

    So for them to even offer me less than what I’m receiving felt like an insult. In my heart I shouted to God “God where are you, I really need you right now?” My eyes were full of tears since I felt so alone at the time. This HR guy bullying me to take a package which he obviously knows isn’t fair.

    I had to excuse myself and left his office. He asked me to call him back today at 4pm. I’m obviously going to refuse his offer. I don’t want to doubt God, if its his wish that I get this job, may His will be done. But am really depressed. I desperately need this new job, my current job isn’t doing so well (delays in salaries – they already have so much of my arrears).

    This year I started sponsoring two needy children to school and thus the desperate need for financial stability. Anyway may God’s will be done. I only wish I could feel less stressed 😦

    I needed to share with someone. You might not see this any time soon but it felt good pouring this out.

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  7. May the lord favour you.shalom!

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