Enduring Grace @ Work – Part I
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of July 7, 2012
"Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." -Ephesians 6:7
"Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.'" -Isaiah 35:4
A couple of my friends recently shared their greatest workplace challenges with me over coffee. Among their laments were: A boss with a double-mind; evil co-workers; multiple, drastic process changes and unattainable performance expectations.
Though these friends prayed together at work, they felt they had seen little improvement. What’s more, they had grown weary in well-doing. They wanted to know where to go from where they were. Here are the results of that conversation that may help you, should you find yourself in difficult circumstances at work:
God’s Purpose: Why Am I Here?– Yes, your job is for more than a paycheck! Your job is your divine assignment. It is your mission field. It is all divinely purposed! And it is seasonal! You are there so that God can do a work in you, through you and for you (on your behalf) simultaneously. He will use the people, the location and the daily circumstances to accomplish His will accordingly, even—and especially if—you find yourself in a job that you would’ve never selected for yourself. God will use it all! Are you willing to journey through it with Him and yield to His way of doing His work in, through and for you?
God’s Strategy: What Do I Do?– Maintain a servant’s attitude, and do the job you were hired to do with excellence. Watch your mouth, your attitude and your actions. Affirm to God that you need His help. Ask God what He wants you to see, know and do amid your circumstances. Ask God to enable you to receive all He has for you and nothing that is not of Him. Ask God to reveal to you His vision, strategy, reinforcement, divine appointments and divine connections. Ask God for a Christian prayer partner or group. Ask God to lead you to the sources and resources that have what you need. All along the way, ask God to reveal His understanding and solutions to problems. Your journey will contain incremental successes. All of it will challenge you in the area of character building to prepare you for your next promotion.
God knows and sees all things, and He will get you where He wants you to be and help you do what He wants you to do if you are willing to hearken. Pray for your boss, your co-workers and the company as the Holy Spirit leads. You will endure the journey and can be promoted faster (internally or externally) by processing through every challenge God’s way. Remember, God takes us from holiness to holiness, from glory to glory. Sometimes, He accomplishes this work quickly by taking us through the furnace. In so doing, He redeems lost time. God can do much in these accelerated times in which we work and live. He is the ultimate multitasker. So count it all good, and journey through God’s way, so you don’t have to perpetually cycle through rounds of testing.
Guard Your Heart | Don Your Armor (Eph. 6:11-18) – Your heart belongs to God, so be careful with human connections, especially in your workplace. Not everyone will have your back or even like you. Some may feel envious or competitive towards you. Many will have different beliefs than yours. Kindness and prayer are strengths, but not everyone will be interested in what your heart has to offer. Apply wisdom. If people are not willing to receive what you are willing to give, there can be no deep connection without God’s transformational power intervening. Know this ahead of time; respect and accept others’ right to choose (God does); shake the dust off, and turn from situations where people do not accept you. In essence, don’t waste your time. Remember, Jesus suffered rejection, so you’re not alone. Speak a blessing over those who reject you, and ask God to redirect your path to those who are willing and able to receive. Be professional, move on and keep your eyes on the Lord.
Regarding your boss, she/he has a job to do, regardless of your friendly relationship with her/him. That means you must perform up to standard in the position for which you were hired. If you do not, you will be penalized. It is wrong to expect your boss to cover your inadequate performance regardless of whether you are friends with her/him. In workplaces, performance is paramount. Unless you are a member of a family business or own your own company, bosses will not typically extend the kind of grace your mother would. It is not their job to take care of you outside of your work life. It is their job to oversee you and your work while you are at work. They have a lot on their plate. And not all bosses will nurture you, simply due to time constraints. Various bosses have varying management styles. And different companies have different corporate cultures. Pray about this. Regardless of your circumstances, it is your responsibility to do the job you were hired to do with excellence unto the Lord. Excellence is Jesus’ standard. If it is impossible for you to meet the company’s standards, pray and perhaps speak to your boss about improving the processes that affect you or ask her/him to reassign you to an area where your strengths can shine. Ask God to make you aware when your job assignment is complete and finish well. How you finish is how you will enter into your next job assignment. And remember, God may give you a season of rest before your next assignment. So follow His lead.
Do not allow yourself to be provoked by your boss or co-workers. Those of us who have high callings on our lives will be perpetually tested on this until we overcome this issue, the purpose being to mature us to a level where we can stand among multitudes and glorify God with our thoughts, speech, attitude and actions no matter what offense is hurled at us. Jesus did. Whoever is provoking you is God’s instrument in this regard, so count it as joy (James 1:2). Remember, God is sovereign, and no one can do anything short of God’s permissive will. As Christians, we are to respond from the Holy Spirit, not react from offense. If you find that someone gets under your skin frequently, it could be that God is trying to get your attention to turn to Him to learn how to become “unprovokable. “ You are in training for eternity! Ask God to help you, and listen to what He reveals to you. He knows just how to get you there!
(This devotional will continue as Part II next week.)