Work Ethic, Workplace Issues

Work Ethic: Cultivating Perspective through Community

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.” That means that there isn’t anything happening to us at our jobs that Christ didn’t experience, Himself. Consider this: Jesus went through His adult life without a home, exposed to heat and to cold, abandoned by His friends, falsely accused by His enemies, and left to clean up a mess He didn’t make in the first place! (And you thought it was a pain having to mop up in the produce department!) The only One who was ever truly alone in any experience was Christ when He bore our sins on the cross.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” All of us have had difficulty seeing the “big picture” at some point in our lives and, in many ways, that’s what makes Christian fellowship so important – yes, I do mean church. When we take the time to associate with other Believers, we gain the added perspective of those who live outside of our own situation as well as the faithful support of those who have been there before.

According to the Apostle Paul, “…there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:20-26) When you make church and/or Sunday School and/or Youth Group a priority you’ll be tapping one of the most potent aids for “big picture thinking” with which God has provided us. Sometimes just knowing that you have the love and support of others is enough to give you the perspective that you’re lacking.

The ultimate in “big picture thinking,” however, requires us not only to let go of our struggles, but also to make a conscious effort to recognize our blessings. This goes beyond taking time to develop relationships with those who share your experience and can help guide and encourage you as you navigate the rough spots. We’ll take a look at this type of thinking next week, but for now, feel free to share about some ways that Christian fellowship has impacted your own perspective on trials in the workplace!

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Devotions, Workforce

Ask the Mechanic

Read: Hebrews 4:13-16

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”

Hebrews 4:15 NIV

 

Working retail affords you the opportunity to meet all sorts of people.  Some of them are entertaining, encouraging, and just plain fun to be around.  Others, however, have a unique ability to talk down to nearly everyone.  And for some reason, our service center mechanic seemed to attract more than her fair share of these.

While the “you’re-a-woman-and-can’t-possibly-know-enough-to-fix-my-lawnmower” attitude offended her, there was very little she could do about it.  Instead, each time she found herself confronted by such a customer, she would refer them to her manager.

After attentively listening to the customer’s description of their problem, he would explain that he didn’t know how to mend the merchandise in question… but if they wanted to talk to someone who did, they could ask his mechanic.  One way or another, they always ended up back at the service center, looking her in the eye.

 The truth was that though these customers felt that it was impossible for a female mechanic to have any real mechanical knowledge, she was a good deal more qualified than she may have at first appeared.  She had been working on engines since childhood, had taken each vendor’s repair course, and had been certified and recertified to work on the merchandise which we sold.  Our customers could not have been in better hands.

Unfortunately, as Christians, our attitudes aren’t often that far removed from those of these customers.  While we teach that God is all-knowing, we sometimes behave as though His position beyond the borders of our universe prevents Him from truly understanding and sympathizing with our human struggles.  How wonderful it is to be reminded that He cares so much for us that He took on our flesh and experienced these trials and tribulations just as we do!  Being the Creator of all things as well as having experienced life in human skin, He is duly qualified to deal with all of our problems!

Challenge:  Commit to reading the entire book of John.  As you do, think carefully about the human aspects of Christ’s life: the labor of a carpenter, the sore muscles He must have experienced after a long day on the road, His feelings upon being abandoned by His friends.  Make a list of all the ways in which the Master’s life and yours are similar.  You may be surprised at just how much He can sympathize with your situation!

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