Rarely does our work meet our expectations. Sometimes we get a little more or less than we anticipated in the workplace. Jesus' followers probably felt the same way because Jesus rarely said or did what people expected. A rich man asked what other good things he had to do to get to heaven, and Jesus told him to do the one thing he couldn't do—give up his riches. Jesus' followers thought Jesus would be bothered by children. Instead, Jesus welcomed them and used them as a way to explain what kind of faith His followers should have. The job description to be a follower of Jesus could have read, "Expect the unexpected."
Last week we discussed how our work can bring glory to God. This week we will continue this theme, recognizing that in order for this to occur, there are certain essential elements which need to be in place.
Read Colossians 3:22-24.
Who are these verses written to? What are they instructed to do?
Why do you think Paul needed to remind them to do this?
What difference might it make in your attitude or motivation to know it is God you are serving?
"If God is my audience then I am going to make the right decision at every turn. I am going to be a good colleague, I am going to be a fair interviewer and I am going to treat people with integrity and kindness, and in the end I will still have a good product and will have represented God in the best way possible." —Barbara Bradley-Haggerty, Reporter, National Public Radio
Paul refers to an inheritance the Colossians will receive as a reward. The word for inheritance here is "eternal life." We may never get all the rewards or recognition we desire here on earth, yet we can still experience many of the benefits of eternal life, such as peace, joy and contentment, now.
What other ways do you think God might reward us in the workplace?
Read Psalm 1:1-3
What are some of God's criteria for success? What things does a prosperous person do and not do?
How might these verses apply to you in your work?
"Unfortunately, some people are convinced that success is unobtainable without sometimes compromising their principles. Remember, it is not truly success unless you achieve your goal with your principles intact."—Steven D. Huff, The Price of Success
Daniel was a Hebrew slave in the Persian Empire. The Bible describes him as a young man who believed in an extraordinary God. Serving in three different administrations, Daniel was faithful to his convictions and rose in power. What can we learn from his example?
Read Daniel 6:3-5, 21-23, 26, 27.
What kind of worker was Daniel?
Why did his enemies have to deceive the king in order to get rid of Daniel?
In the end, who was honored and given glory in this pagan empire?
How do you see the account of Daniel applying to your life today?
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph 2:10
Note: Much of the material in this study is taken from Connecting God and Work, Priority Associates Publishers, 2007.