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)
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.
Be Humble (vv. 15-16) – Humility can be rare commodity in the workplace. But you can change that. Paul’s desire for all Christians is that they be humble, and especially at work. He wants Christians to be humble by “Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep.” In addition he says be humble by associating with humble people and by not thinking you have all the answers all the time. The truly successful Christian knows that in order to rise up one must be humble..
Be Peaceable (vv. 17-20) – Let’s just face it, office politics is just a way of life in most workplaces. It is amazing that anybody can get any work done for all the bickering, jockeying, and infighting that goes along with office politics. What is Paul’s advice for avoiding office politics? Be peaceable. The workplace is a place to work not war. This is why Paul said, “Repay no one evil for evil,” and “as much as depends on you, [work] peaceably with all men.” While we are not responsible for other’s actions, we are responsible for our own. And if we are going to be successful Christians at work we will need to seek to be peaceable with those we work with..
Be Vigilant (v. 21) – The workplace is fraught with dangers for the Christian to be overcome by evil. It could come in the form of material success which chokes out the Word. It could come in the form of a forbidden relationship that steals not only the heart but the soul as well. It could be something as simple as pilfering the supply closet, or as serious as embezzlement. Around every corner is a trap that Satan has set to try to overtake us. Paul wants us to know that the successful Christian will be vigilant in the workplace. Always watchful for her soul. Ever mindful of temptations. Constantly seeking to overcome Satan’s evil with God’s goodness..
Paul’s seven insights, if taken to heart, will make us not only better employee but also successful Christians who serves as a shining light for God in our workplaces.