Summary: Let's face it, being a Christian in today's world is tough, especially at work. However, we can find help in the familiar words of Romans 12:9-21.
On your first day of orientation for your new job what was the first thing the HR rep gave you? That’s right, it was an employee hand book. Let me ask you this, when was the last time you looked at your employee handbook? Well if you are like most folks, the last time you looked at it was your first day of orientation. While the information it contained was value, it really did not get down to the nuts and bolts of how to interact with your co-workers, or deal with the stresses of work, or how to be a success in the workplace.
However, in Romans 12:9-21 the apostle Paul gives us seven practical insights into how a Christian should conduct him/herself in the workplace. We might think of this passage as the Christian’s Employee Handbook for success in the workplace. Listen to what Paul had to say:
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If you enemy is hungry feed him, if he is thirst give him something to drink and in so doing you will heap fires of coal upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:9-21)
Let’s break down the text into seven practical insights about how to be a successful Christian @ work:.
Be Genuine (v. 9) – There is nothing more disheartening than having to work with a hypocrite. They will talk nice to your face but the minute you turn your back they are running you down. Paul’s first piece of advice for the Christian is to be genuine while at work. His desire for the Christian worker is that he will possess a genuine love for others; a genuine hatred for malice, envy and strife (in others and in himself); and a genuine attachment for all things good. For Paul, the successful Christian will be genuine in their affections for those they work with.
Be Kind (vv. 10-11) – The demands of the pressure-cooker workplace have a way of stripping us of the decencies we would normally possess such as being kind to and considerate of others. It’s the rare jewel of a person, who can rise above burdensome production schedules, over flowing in/out boxes and harsh customer complaints, and still be kind and considerate to others. But this is the type of person Paul wants Christians to be in the workplace. Christians who rise above their circumstances and treat others the way they want to be treated by being kind and considerate. Do you want to be successful at work? Then be kind to others, no matter what.
Be Prayerful (vv. 12, 14) – The workplace has a way of trying our patience, our integrity and our faith like nowhere else. What is Paul’s answer then to the pressures of work? Be prayerful. Whether it is the stress brought on from a heavy workload, or the hurtful actions of a co-worker, or the blessing of a new account, Paul wants us to be workers who are constantly praying to God. Praying that God would bless our companies with continued business and good leadership. Praying that co-workers will be safe during the workday and taking their concerns to God through prayer. Praying for blessings on the co-workers or supervisors who are mean and rude. And also Paul desires us to be prayerful that God will help us do our work with joy and with thanksgiving. Work is a busy, hectic place, but let’s slow down and pray. Remember this; no Christian has ever been successful at any endeavor without first being prayerful..
Be Hospitable (v. 13) – For most people the workplace is their second home and if that’s true then we need to be hospitable at work. We might think of it as being inviting or welcoming to others. Paul said to “seek” to be hospitable and by extension, “seek” to meet the needs of others. He is saying look for hidden opportunities to be hospitable and to do good for others. It might be that you invite someone to lunch with you, or contribute to someone’s fund raiser, or have someone to your home. Being hospitable at work is a great way to open doors of opportunity to share Jesus with someone. Paul said, the successful Christian seeks out hidden opportunities to be hospitable to others at work.