Just last week, I was asked to speak at a forum in the office about work place flexibility and I had a chance to share about how everyone needs to find the balance between the personal (including spiritual), family and work aspects to be productive.
Over the course of my work-life, God has provided me the opportunities to meet and work with many colleagues who are good witnesses at the work place. They have inspired me also to constantly strive to be the best witness I can be at the workplace.
- God is our boss
In the early part of my career, I learnt from my seniors that my direct supervisor was the person with the most influence on my career and ranking. Coming straight out of university, where we were left pretty much on our own to figure out how to “score” in the examination, it was hard work trying to figure out what the boss in the workplace wanted. It got more difficult when I was either changing roles or bosses every 1 to 2 years.
After about a decade of chasing after what each new boss wanted, I had an epiphany when I came to realize who my boss really is — God. As Paul exhorts in Col 3:23-24, we should work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. We are not serving man but the Lord Christ.
Working for the Lord enabled me to consistently behave in a way that reflects my beliefs and values. Trusting in the Lord for my work and career, allowed me to rejoice always, giving thanks in all circumstances for I know that He is in control (1 Thess 5:16-18). It liberated me from the need to be a “people-pleaser” but to treat people sincerely and to do what I sincerely believe in (Col 3:22).
- Excel in our work (Col 3:17)
One of the first things fellow colleagues and supervisors look out for in us is our quality of work. In a highly connected workplace, we are all dependent on each other for the performance of the work we are responsible for and how it fits into the big picture. However, as Christians, there is the added dimension of Christ in our work. In Col 3:17 Paul reminds us that “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
We are representatives of Christ at the workplace and our behaviour and actions should be the best that we can achieve to reflect Him working in our lives. Being a good co-worker also opens the doors for us to share about our lives and what is important to us with others.
Treat others sincerely (Phil 2:3-4)
On the surface, the workplace can be quite a competitive place and some may go by the mantra, the winner takes it all. However, that attitude only works if you have only one encounter with the other party. A career can be a long journey and there are many encounters with many parties and it is important that we win someone over with our sincerity and admit our mistakes if they are our fault. Our colleagues will appreciate if we look out for their interests as well as ours (Phil 2:3-4).
I attended the retirement dinner of a Christian colleague last year and during the tribute session to her, a fellow colleague shared a quote which stuck with me.
It is from an American Poet, Maya Angelou and it goes “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It is a reminder to me that in the course of our work, not only must we focus on the task at hand, we should take into consideration the feelings/views of others and also strive to reach a solution where everyone can take back something of value. Hopefully, we can leave behind a positive legacy and witness to others.
By Tay Yong Thai, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 28&29 July 2018)