September 15, 2021

Productive Work (part two of two)

Written by Boyd Bailey

When we disagree with someone, we can still respect them.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 15, 2021

So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s, because you know your reward is the Lord’s inheritance. You serve the Lord. Colossians 3:23-24, The Voice

Three middle schoolers and two high schoolers gathered with me at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to clear brush, move rotted fence posts and clean out a severely neglected green house. While munching on chicken biscuits and guzzling Gatorade they sorta listened as I took three minutes for a work orientation. “We are here to do our work for the Lord.”  How, you ask? I illustrated for them with the acronym L.O.R.D.: Love Well, Obey the Boss, Respect Everyone and Diligently Work. To enhance understanding and engagement I offered a $20 bonus to each teen, if at the end of our work, he could repeat back to me the four ways to work for the Lord. 

The Apostle Paul, in compelling fashion, describes our work role as servants of the Lord motivated to serve Him, as we look forward to receiving His reward. So allow me in part two of two, to take the last two of the four ways we can work for the Lord and unpack in more detail:

Respect Everyone

When we disagree with someone, we can still respect them. Respect them for being God’s creation. Respect them for being human beings. Respect them, because the Lord expects us to respect. Pride stubbornly says, “They have to earn my respect”. Really, this sounds like a higher bar than what the Bible teaches in 1 Peter 3:7, “Show proper respect to everyone”. Respect does not mean we agree with a colleague’s conclusion or a family member or friend’s bad behavior, but it allows us to stay relationally connected and have some degree of influence on them and a level of love for them. Respect can win back the rejected and lead us to forgive those who hurt us. Respect at work is essential for teamwork. A self righteous approach only alienates and erects walls, while proper respect for everyone builds bridges of understanding and acceptance. Respect people at work, as you want to be respected, and your work has a higher probability of success.  

“Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true” (1 Samuel 9:6).

Diligently Work

Work requires sweat, figuratively and many times literally! Proper preparation perspires, perseveres and progresses. As my father-in-law taught me as young man, “Boyd, the harder I work the more successful I am.” Hard work of course, does not guarantee success, wisdom and character are essential as well. And we’ve all seen hard work done the wrong way or for the wrong reasons can be a total disaster. None of us are attracted to a lazy, unkept soul, who only finds excuses, instead of discovering solutions. Most of all, be diligent in growing your relationship with Jesus Christ, so you can grow and develop the gift He has given you. Pursue Him, not money—and you will enjoy the fulfillment of work you thrive on doing. Do what you love and love what you do. Diligent work feels effortless when energized by the Holy Spirit! 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me respect others as I desire to be respected, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

Who do I need to respect at work, even though they have broken my trust?


Related Reading

Deuteronomy 1:13; 2 Chronicles 24:13; Proverbs 21:5; Romans 12:8; Hebrews 12:9


Worship Resource

Pat Barrett, Dante Bowe: Nothing/Something


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