Five ways to put God first with your work
Actions speak louder than words, especially on the job, where we literally see the fruits of our labor. Our actions not only shape our own hearts, but they also affect the attitudes and impressions of those in our presence.
Americans spend more time at our jobs than we do in our homes. What do your actions say to your peers? Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance.”
Putting God first is more than starting the day with Him. Use these tips to put God first in your work.
1. Show integrity.
Integrity is doing what you say you will do and taking responsibility if you cannot accomplish it. For example, if you promise to complete a task by a certain deadline, integrity is taking that promise seriously and delivering on time. Integrity is also accepting responsibility if you slacked off and did not meet the deadline as promised.
God takes promises seriously. We put God first when we follow in His footsteps of being a promise maker and a promise keeper. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus tells us to fulfill the oaths we make. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no,” according to the NKJV.
2. Be respectable.
Everyone wants to be well-liked, but to be well-respected is an even more admirable trait.
Self-controlled, hospitable individuals are natural leaders and pleasant team players. They listen to others, maintain a peaceful temperament, and be willing to learn from mistakes (1 Timothy 3:3).
Sometimes, we want to call out the co-worker who wants to take all the glory for a job well done. And, It can be easy to let our words fly and tempers rage when our work gets tense. But, we put God first in our work by remembering the importance of a respectful demeanor.
The Bible instructs us to show respect to everyone around us and to take our thoughts captive (1 Peter 2:17 and 2 Corinthians 10:5). When we refrain from sharing every thought that comes to mind and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our tongue and actions, we give our coworkers a picture of God’s love and patience.
3. Give encouragement.
How many of us can relate to being overwhelmed on the job? Can you recall a time when you needed a nudge of confidence to get the job done? The Bible encourages us to motivate those around us and build each other up (Hebrews 10:24 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11).
A brief thank-you note or congratulatory fist bump at the water cooler goes a long way in terms of strengthening relationships. When we see someone tired and discouraged, God can use us to encourage them to keep pushing forward.
4. Be truthful.
Whether you report data spreadsheets, drive a forklift, or perform employee evaluations, it is important to be truthful. We are commanded to speak the truth to our peers, to our managers, and to ourselves from a spirit of love.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do on the job is to tell the truth — especially when there is risk involved. The world will tell us to fudge numbers to get that bonus or to climb the corporate ladder with no regard to who we hurt to get there.
Proverbs 16:8 says, “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” God is more concerned with us being truthful than being successful. We can put God first at work by remembering the importance of being honest and truthful in every task we perform.
5. Lead with your labor.
Jesus was a carpenter, known for working with his hands. He wasn’t afraid of getting dirty and putting in long hours. Nothing shows we appreciate our work more than rolling up our sleeves and being serious about what we do. An added bonus is we will be rewarded for the hard work we perform (1 Corinthians 3:8). Sometimes, this looks like volunteering for the project that no one else wants to do and taking one for the team.
As with any job, there are ebbs and flows to our work. Some days, we feel unmotivated and would rather do just about anything else. Remember, we aren’t working out of our own strength.
We have access to God’s supernatural strength through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:10, Philippians 4:13, Psalm 46:1). When we don’t feel like we have the strength to work as though we’re working for the Lord, we lean into His strength to carry through.
Small practical acts to put God first at work may not seem like a big deal, but they are making a difference. Putting God first with our work can be the catalyst others need to want to get to know our Him.