by Ken Costa
How do we make a difference where we are?
Most people want to make a difference through their lives. We have to identify our part in extending God’s kingdom. This can be daunting, but it is with the joy of the Lord that we seek answers, knowing that we are loved, we are known and are called, by God, to play our part.
In whatever role you find yourself, you will have influence. God cares more about how we work than where we work. Whether a banker or a baker, a lawyer or marketing executive, army officer or nursery nurse, we need to be faithful to God, living his values in the workplace. This may risk our reputations because we may have to face the taunt that there is no God. However, we live each day in the knowledge that Jesus will return and reward us, as well as call us to account.
We need good values at work:
Love God and love others as we love ourselves – Mark 12:30-32
Jesus calls us to ‘love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our mind and with all our strength.’ (Mark 12:30). This is the foundation – love God with everything we have, all that we are and all that we do.
Jesus goes on to say “love your neighbour as yourself” – our love for God must spill over into how we treat others. Ask Jesus to show us how he sees people and treat them accordingly. We should treat our colleagues as we wish to be treated, see things from their point of view and decide each day to prefer them to ourselves.
Be honest – 2 Kings 12: 13-15
Honesty can be costly but we are called to be a people of honesty. In 2 Kings we see an account of trust as a result of the honesty of the workers rebuilding the temple of God. Because of their honesty, they are trusted. Honesty builds trust in our teams and our workplaces.
Live with integrity – 1 Chronicles and Job 2
Being people of integrity is vital. Our integrity is vital. Our colleagues see us as examples of what is it like to follow this ‘God of the Bible’. We are called to act with integrity because of whose we are. Integrity requires first and foremost that we do well the work to which we have been called. In Job 2, we see God praise Job for maintaining his integrity, even though he is tormented. Further in 1 Chronicles we see integrity and faithfulness to God, material prosperity and success in battle are related directly to obedience to Yahweh, to God. It equates failure to lack of trust or unfaithfulness to Him. Let us be people who point to God by our integrity, in the way we do business, our relationships and our attitudes to work. This might mean taking a stand when something is morally wrong, being honest when it is costly or challenging destructive behavior in your workplace.
Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God – Micah 6:8
One of the most quoted verses in the Old Testament, Micah 6:8 exhorts us to ‘do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.’ This is what the Lord requires of us. This is deeply challenging one, particularly in a cutthroat, competitive industry. Giving credit where credit is due, not taking praise for the success of others or being direct when difficult decisions need to be taken are practical ways to do this. But there is a part of this justice and humility that is deeply counter cultural when seemingly success depends on self promotion and competition. The key is walking “with God”; we need the Lord’s discernment in our daily lives, to trust him with our careers and our futures, being willing to risk failing in the World’s eyes.
Be willing to forgive – Matthew 6:12
We must be willing to forgive, as we have been forgiven. We will all need to seek forgiveness of God and of others many times in our working lives. None of us is perfect but we have been saved by a Great Savior. Let us reflect his love in the way we forgive our colleagues who have hurt us and be quick to forgive the mistakes of others.
Be patient, kind, good, faithful and self controlled – Galatians 5: 22-23
We are to be people bearing fruit – Paul’s wonderful list in Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a vision for how we can be. ‘But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.’ Go on being filled with the Spirit and let Him grow this fruit in our lives.
We cannot hope to do this in our own strength, but we can rely on the Spirit of God to equip us and guide us. Take a minute or two right now, or later today, with God to ask him where he wants you to focus, and grow more like Him. Remember this; faith in Jesus Christ changes everything, including everything at work.
Ken Costa has worked in Finance for over 40 years and was formerly Chairman of Lazard International. He is the founder of God at Work, was formerly Chairman of Alpha International and in leadership at HTB church. He loves his sport and music, and is a husband and a father.