Girlfriends in God - Aug. 17, 2010

August 17, 2010 

Lessons Learned on the Job 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Romans 12:11 (NLT) "Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically."

Friend to Friend 
God uses our work as one of His tools to mold us into who He wants us to be. Stress comes when we view our job as our main life mission instead of seeing our work as an opportunity to provide the tools we need to accomplish our life mission. The apostle Paul writes, "Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about God's mighty kindness and love" (Acts 20:24 LB).  Paul worked as a tentmaker, a church planter, an author. His purpose never changed, but his work certainly did. Many of us do not need a different job. We simply need a different attitude and a new point of view about the job we have. Begin by envisioning Jesus standing in the midst of your work place as your real boss. Then look for the life lessons God provides through your work.  

God uses my work to teach me responsibility.  Meeting deadlines, completing assigned tasks with excellence, showing respect for co-workers (even the abrasive ones) and working without supervision are all valuable life lessons learned on the job.  When we try to cut corners, stress steps in and wreaks havoc in our attitude about work. 

God uses people at work to teach me about relationships.  Cooperation, fairness, flexibility, humility and patience are relationship skills of a successful worker. Stress comes when we stray from the guidelines God gives us for serving others. Our workplace is not only one of our God-ordained mission fields; it is a classroom for learning to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and, in short, be "God with skin on." You may very well be the only sermon your co-workers ever hear.   

God uses my work to teach me how to serve.  The way we serve God is by serving others. God wants us to grow spiritually at work by becoming a servant to those with whom we work. It is easy to serve those who sit beside us on a pew each Sunday, but a real servant serves on the job. God asks us to accept others unconditionally, encourage other continually, forgive others freely and help others willingly. 

Attitudes never sit still. They constantly move and change. An attitude is a pattern of thinking, a filter through which we view life. We can choose to be honest about our attitude at work and we can choose to change our attitude about work, but most importantly, we can choose to pray for God's attitude about work. When we can't change our attitude, the One who lives in us can give us His attitude. Exchanging our attitude for His always eliminates stress.

Let's Pray 
Lord, thank You for Your provision through my job. I praise You for the opportunity to serve You and others through my work. Help me to see those in need and reach out to them in Your name.

In Jesus' name, 

Now it's your Turn 
Consider the ways God uses your job to teach you the valuable life lessons listed below.  List specific work circumstances and the lessons you learned in each one. Examine your attitude about your work for any changes that need to be made. Record those changes below. 

      God uses my work to teach me responsibility. _________________________________

      God uses people at work to teach me about relationships.  _______________________

      God uses my work to teach me how to serve.  _________________________________

Consider the following questions:

Do the people I work with see Christ in me? 

Do they even know I am a Christian? 

What changes do I need to make in order to point my co-workers to Christ?

More from the Girlfriends 
I recently stopped at a local discount store to pick up a few things. When I went to check out, the cashier looked very familiar. He must have seen the question in my eyes because he smiled and said, "It's good to see you, Mrs. Southerland." When I heard his voice, I immediately recognized him as the manager of a local grocery store where I frequently shopped. Before I could say one word, he explained, "I lost my job at the grocery store. Evidently, I needed to change mission fields for awhile." Now that is what I call a heavenly perspective of an earthly job.

Need help? Check out one of Mary's E-Bible Studies for practical steps you can take to strengthen your faith and find answers to the problems you face every day. Titles include Strength for the Storm, God's Answer to Stress, Getting a Grip on Fear and more

Join other women across the world in Mary's Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Sandpaper People is the current series and will help you discover ten ways to deal with the "sandpaper people" in your life - you know - the ones that rub you the wrong way. When you enroll, you also have access to all of the 2010 studies. Check it out!

Going through a tough time? Are your fears and uncertainties rooted in your past? Get past your past! Check out Mary's FREE MP3: Getting Past Your Past.

Need a friend? Connect with me on Facebook or through email. I love hearing what God is doing in your life! Share what God is doing through you in the workplace. 

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Originally published Tuesday, 17 August 2010.