Today, there is an ever-raging debate on how important faith is in determining and influencing our values as a society. Some would say that religion doesn’t have a place in determining our values. They would say that it has no place in the workplace; that it couldn’t possibly matter in business deals or in workplace ethics. This has led Christians to view ministry careers as the only kind of career where they can live out their faith. This idea hasn’t always been prevalent.
There was a time when faith did matter in all kinds of work. It influenced how people ran their business and their reputation.
The Wagon Wheel
During the expansion of the country during the 1800’s – 1900’s, people were moving westward in Conestoga wagons. Essential to continuing their progress toward the west were their wagons’ wheels. Being made entirely out of wood, they were susceptible to the potholes littered along the road and often only lasted a few hundred miles.
In the middle of this, an Amish entrepreneur family introduced a new type of wheel. The wheel had a metal ring that surrounded the outer part, which protected it from the treacherous potholes. This family became known as “The Wheelers”. They guaranteed every wheel would take a wagon all the way to St. Louis, MO. Eventually they made satellite shops along the way to repair wheel damage that occurred in route at no cost. They integrated their values, based on their faith, into their workmanship.
They made a promise to their customers and followed through. No disclaimers, no excuses.
Faith-Based Values in the Workplace
I’m not sure when we lost this type of values in our workplace. Today, the Wheelers would have a multi-page legal contract with every wheel they sold with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed to avoid a lawsuit, plus liability insurance to cover any legal damages. Today, we have replaced our workplace value statement with the cry of our country “Do whatever it takes to bring profits to the bottom line and keep the stockholders satisfied”.
It’s a lie that non-ministry workers are second class citizens.
The absence of faith in the marketplace has made work just a place where we go to make money, instead of an opportunity to glorify God. We have accepted Satan’s lie that non-ministry workers are 2nd class citizens when it comes to the work they do. The lie that, when it comes to spiritual matters, pastors, ministry staff and missionaries are more important than workers in a secular industry.
But Your Work DOES Matter to God
- Our work has always been part of God’s story—from the beginning Genesis 2: 5-17 to the end Revelations 22: 12-13.
- He uses our work to shape our character.
- It is an opportunity serve others and show them the love of Christ being lived out every day.
- The work we do each day is part of the good work He has planned for our lives.
The work we do each and every day should be saturated with God’s character so others can see Him in and through our efforts. It doesn’t matter to Him if we are unemployed, underemployed, blue collar or white collar workers. No matter what you do, who you are or where you live, your work is an opportunity to demonstrate the character of God. Remember, our purpose on this earth is glorify God in all things, and that includes our work.