The Gospel & work (Every Good Endeavor - Part 3b)

Over the last several weeks, we discussed the new conception of work because of the gospel. For the next several weeks we'll be looking at how Christians have a new "compass" for work. Let's start by first looking at business ethics. Businesses understand that they should be honest and fair, employees should be treated with generosity, they should give back to the community, etc. – it doesn't matter if they're Christian or not. The difference comes in the reasoning behind the ethical actions. To unbelievers, most will say that they do this because it is good for business, enhances your reputation, provides a more favorable long-term business environment – because of a cost-benefit analysis. In the long-run, integrity is more profitable than dishonesty.

What difference to we see with Christians? Christians should be honest, compassionate, and generous because they are right in and of themselves, not just because they are rewarding and will leave the business profitable. Acting this way honors God and his design for human life. Sometimes this leaves Christians in a position to make an unpopular decision, that might not make them as much money.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we look at other different viewpoints Christians should have that make them stand out in the workplace.

Last week we introduced the concept of Christians having a different "compass" than others. Since we are equipped with an ethical compass and power of the gospel, we should be set apart from those around us. The Christian faith gives us resources not present in other worldviews, which, if lived out, will differentiate believers in the workplace.

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men". What does this look like? Christians should have a track record of following through on their commitments, being transparent and fair-minded, etc. One of the largest differences that should be seen in Christians compared to others is how we love. The Bible teaches us that our love should extend to even our enemies, and we are to forgive those who wrong us.

Love should be a priority for Christians. Love is talked about throughout the Bible. Below is one of the times we see the importance of not just loving God, but loving others around us.

"'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:36-39).

If Christians are living out their faith, they should stand out in their workplace and the world in general because their virtues and priorities are different than their peers. We're going to continue taking a deeper look at the differences we should see in Christians because of the gospel. Next week the focus is going to be on having a different view of humanity.

Biblical love was discussed in last week's post. Christians shouldn't be picking and choosing who they show love to, they should love everyone (including people who have wronged you). Just as us loving others in a different way should impact our work, our viewpoint of humanity is different than the rest of society and should impact our work.

Everyone is made in the image of God. Because of this, they have inviolable rights regardless of their race, class, gender, lifestyle, or moral character. How should this impact work and how we treat our employees / coworkers / customers? In business, it's very easy to measure worth based on financial value. How much does the customer buy? How much value does each employee bring to the table?

If we were to only think economically, some people are more valuable than others. This is when it can be very easy to treat some people better than others, based on their financial value. [SEM Marketing Manager, Courtney Dent wrote a blog this week sharing how favoritism is a sin:]

However, theologically speaking, everyone is made in the image of God; therefore, everyone is equally important. As Christians, we need to view others as bearers of God's image. This should differentiate how we treat them compared to unbelievers with different viewpoints.

A "moral compass" is something people have (religious or not) which helps them respond in life situations where moral rules are clear. However, about 80% of the time, the moral rules are not clear cut (what job should you take, who should you marry, etc.). This is when having wisdom is key. Wisdom and how to gain wisdom is discussed in the Bible. It's something we get from God.

How do we gain wisdom in order to make better decisions? First, we must know God personally, not just believe in Him. Second, we must know ourselves. Third, we learn wisdom through experience.

Christians don't gain this wisdom on their own. The Holy Spirit helps guide Christians in life. This does not mean that we will just magically gain wisdom and know how to make perfect decisions. Over time, as your relationship with God grows, your character should begin to look more like Christ's character. As you grow in your faith, you will gain more wisdom which will help you make better decisions in your life.

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West Point, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.