Monday, November 28, 2011


Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12

Can people trust what you say? Are you generally trustworthy? Jesus said it first, but James re-emphasizes the point. As a Christian, people need to be able to trust you. They need to know that you are honest with them. Sometimes, we tell half-truths or deceive people without telling bald face lies, but that's still not letting "your yes be yes and your no be no." Jesus is saying that there should be no duplicity in your words.

In business, it can be easy to think that we have to make compromises to get ahead. Time and time again, Jesus says that if you think that way, you're not focused on the right goals. If you feel like dishonesty and deception are ingrained in your workplace, perhaps it's time for you to be the one who is different.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Monday, I blogged about giving thanks for where God has taken you. Wednesday, I wrote about being thankful in all circumstances.

As I think about the passages that I cited in those posts, I had workplace gratitude in mind. Today, as we end the week, think about God's amazing grace to you. Jesus gave up everything in order to be humiliated in ways that we can't even imagine so that we could have hope of being with Him for eternity. I think that puts everything in perspective.

Today, thank God for His grace and for Jesus. End the week of Thanksgiving with praise to God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks for Today

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is one of my favorite passages. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

First, it's short, which makes it easy to remember. But there's a lot in there as we think about thanksgiving this week. First, rejoice always, no matter what, in everything, even when things aren't going your way. We all need to hear that from time to time. Second, pray continually. That means that it's ok to pray for a change. Finally, give thanks in ALL circumstances. Back to the idea of rejoicing always. Give thanks no matter what's happening. Why? Because "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." That could mean that your circumstances are God's will for you, but I tend to think Paul is saying that rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks are God's will for you.

As you go through your week, rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks. Not because your circumstances are necessarily making it easy to do those things. But because God is God, and He sent His son for you.

Monday, November 21, 2011


This week is Thanksgiving, so I thought posts should focus on thanksgiving as it relates to Christianity in the workplace. This week's posts will all be relatively short thoughts on that subject. I hope you'll take the time to reflect on your blessings and be thankful.

In what ways has God blessed you professionally? Today, don't focus on anything else for a minute or two--shut out the email and meetings--and think about how God has blessed you. Pull out your resume for a refresher. Where has God taken you in your professional development?

Remember the story of the 10 leppers (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus blessed 10, but only 1 returned to say thank you. Spend time today thanking God for where He has taken you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Questions of Pride

A friend of mine who is a minister wrote "12 Questions to Probe Your Pride" a few years ago in a church bulletin. I saved it and recently came across it again. He gave me permission to reproduce parts of the article here.

Have you ever left a meeting with a feeling of enlightenment...based upon something you said during the meeting?
In your conversations, does the subject always somehow turn back to you? (This one is hard for me.)
Do you ever feel the need to namedrop in order to spice up a conversation?
Are the qualities you most admire in God the ones you find most prominent in yourself?
Are you very aware of and offended by others who are extremely arrogant?
Do others eve say to you, "You're not really listening to what I'm saying"?
Do you find yourself struggling to be interested in peopel with whom you have little in common?
Do you feel privately delighted when your rival has performed poorly in a public setting?
Do you find yourself unable to relate to teh Bible's warnings against pride because they're not relevant for your life?
Have you ever been dumbfounded by a serious error in personal judgment that led to unforseen problems in your life?
Do you frequently find yourself frustrated by the lack of interesting, talented, or intelligent people around you?
Do you find yourself being angry at God when circumstances don't go your way, as though God should protect you from such disappointments?

Look through those questions several times. As I typed them, I felt convicted several times. What about you? Where do you struggle with pride?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Indication of Pride

We all make mistakes. No question, there are times when you mess up in your workplace, no matter how good you are at what you do.

Here's the question then: how easy is it for you to apologize? When you realize that you were the one who dropped the ball on a team report, do you admit your mistake and apologize to the people that were affected? When you miscalculate a bill that costs a customer money, do you apologize and make it right? The other response, of course is to either cover it up or make excuses.

Why is this important to think about in the context of faith in the workplace? Because one of the main reasons that it can be hard to apologize to someone is our pride. An apologize is an acknowledgement of our own shortcoming. It's admitting that we can't do everything perfectly. And sometimes our pride makes us want to appear to have everything together.

God is very clear that pride is a sinful attitude. Look at the last few weeks. Do you need to apologize to anyone? Yes, it may be awkward if it's out-of-character. Yes, other people may take advantage of showing weakness. But it's a great way to submit yourself to God and get rid of pride.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Secular View of Work

Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, in their book You Work Matters to God, state that there are five attitudes that indicate a secular view of work.

  • The ultimate purpose of work is to fulfill yourself.

  • Success in life means success in work.

  • You can tell how successful someone is by material wealth, professional recognition, or positional status.

  • You've got to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

  • You just go to work to earn a living.
These attitudes come with living your life in compartments where God is in the Sunday compartment and work is in the Monday through Friday compartment. Unfortunately, that's all too common.

God calls us to tear down those attitudes. The ultimate purpose of work, like everything else in our lives, is to honor God. Success in life is based on His glory and on His Son, and you can't tell that from someone's wealth, recognition, or status. Sometimes, you can't make compromises for your job. And work is an opportunity to glorify God--far more than just a paycheck.

Today, look at your attitudes. Do any of these fit you? If so, focus on how you can honor God in your work this week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Do You Think About

When you're at work, what do you think about? When you're planning your next project, where do your thoughts go? In moments where you day dream, what is your focus?

For many of us, it might be thoughts of success, promotion, and prestige.

In two different passages, Paul describes where our thoughts should be. In Colossians 3:2, he says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

As your mind wanders, pay attention to where it goes. Focus on God. Think about things that are right, pure, and praiseworthy. If you're having trouble honoring God during the week, see what a difference changing your thought-life makes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I've been reminded several times in the last two weeks how important patience is when dealing with people. It's very tempting to snap at someone, particularly when other someone's have been straining your sense of calm.

When you're in that situation, think about how patient God is with you. I admit I try His patience at least ten times as much as others try mine. It's a helpful reminder for me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Updating Your Resume

Someone sent this to me and gave me permission to use it in this context.

"I was updating my resume, and had the most amazing experience. It’s been a while since I’ve really gone way back to the beginning of the job postings on my resume, the little internships I had as an undergraduate student, the small jobs, etc. Going back through those different positions, reading the responsibilities and tasks, and seeing how much my responsibilities have changed and grown over the last decade--and mentally going back to all those different co-workers, locations, and experiences--reminds me of the extent to which my life has already been so full of rich experiences, education, people, meaningful work, family, friends, mentors, traveling, etc. I was struck, once again, by how my “resume” is so much more than just that. It represents all of these other things, which are a wealth of blessings, full of opportunities that many people do not enjoy, and no doubt full of blessings that have gone unnoticed and unappreciated. Thank you, Lord, for all these experiences!"

As I read this, I felt a lot of gratitude about my own work experiences. I went back and considered by vita (an academic resume), thinking about all the classes and research projects that I'd prayed would go well (as well as those that I had forgotten to cover in prayer). Whether you're recently out of college or nearing retirement, take time to look at where you've been and thank God for the journey to this point.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Being Exceptional in Ordinary Things

Sometimes we think that we need to do extraordinary things for God. Oswalt Chambers notes that we like to think about acts like walking on water as demonstrations of tremendous faith, but that following Jesus over the dry land of the mundane takes far more faith. Chambers states that "it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple...we have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people" (My Utmost for His Highest, p. 295).

All of us would like to convert all of the unbelievers in our workplaces and thereby demonstrate our worth to God. But can you live every day without seeing any results? Can you honor God even when it means that you're misunderstood or isolated? Can you choose to do the right thing even in the seemingly insignificant things?

As we end the week, choose to be exceptional, even in the ordinary details of life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Conversation

Sherman and Hendricks, in their book Your Work Matters to God, lay out what I think is one of the most practical guides to sharing your faith at work. Far different from preaching at your coworkers (which almost never works), they call their model the great conversation.

First, build relationships. People will listen to you if they know you and enjoy being around you. They're much more likely to tune you out if they aren't in a relationship.

Second, pray for the people around you. See Matthew 9:36-38 for inspiration.

Numbers three and four go back to relationship--seek common ground and be authentic/honest. Let the relationship develop--don't try to use it just for pushing the Gospel. Really develop an interest in the people around you.

Five, be appropriate and sensitive to the other person.

Six, start by explaining your experiences, your relationship with Jesus, and what He has done for you.

Seven, be patient. It's unlikely that one conversation will finish the job. You're just planting seeds. God is in charge of timing.

The list ends with a warning--your reputation matters. A lot. If you're known as unethical or unloving, people are unlikely to believe you as you describe God's holiness and love. That doesn't mean that you have to be perfect. Avoid acting perfect (hypocrisy) and emphasize that you are a work in progress.