Four Healthy Work Habits
We finished up our four week series, "Your Work Matters" this past Sunday. The series was based on a similar study done by Vanderwell and Malefyt over at the Calvin Institute for Worship. A couple of folks mentioned that Sunday's final message was the most helpful, so here are the key points as found in Ephesians 4:25-32
"...having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."
The key trait here is Honesty. Imagine a workplace where you could trust everything that was said and done. Dig deeper, though and you’ll see the real lesson here is right there at the beginning of the verse: “Put away falsehood.” That’s the only way we’re going to accomplish the following goals. It has to happen through the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ because we can’t put away falsehood on our own.
"26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil."
The key traits here are Peacefulness or Reconciliation. The goal in any conflict is restoring the relationship, not to win or prove that you’re right or wrong. One of the worst feelings you can have is when you’re angry with someone in the workplace, because you can’t get away from them! It’s 8 hours with someone you can’t stand. Many of us would fail this measurement because we don’t forgive as God has forgiven us.
"28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."
The key trait here is Productivity. We not only stop bad behavior (like stealing) but begin good behavior (honest work) We steal time from our employers quite often-- so often, in fact that it no longer seems like a big deal. Consider “Cyber Monday” for example, when when millions of workers return to the high speed internet access of their offices and shop online for after Thanksgiving sales. It’s innocent, I guess-- but hey, it’s still stealing from our employers.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
The trait here is Edification. The word “corrupt” comes from the greek work “sapros.” It’s the same adjective used with rotten fruit or putrid fish. Again, God’s word offers us a change in our behavior from "this to that." In this case, from corrupt talk to building up.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV)
These final verses sum it all up. We find ourselves at the core of what it means to be redeemed... this goes well beyond being a good worker. It's really not a lesson on all the tasks you need to do to be a better worker. It is a lesson on all of the traits in which God will work through me as I work through my work.