At Work & Theology 101

Faithfulness in the Workplace

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As Christians, we rightfully focus on the redemption Christ has accomplished for us through his atoning work, but we often neglect why he was able to accomplish redemption on our behalf. There are many answers and facets to Jesus’ ability to provide redemption for us, including his sinless life and humanity, but the following excerpt from Dr. Stephen Wellum’s book, Christ Alone, may help identify one word which encapsulates Jesus’ entire ministry, death, and resurrection: 

Truly, in Christ alone all our needs are met completely and perfectly. Our need for truth is found in him as the final prophet and revelation of God. Our need for a righteous standing before God is achieved by him as our priestly representative, substitute, and new covenant head.

If one word is chosen to describe Christ’s ability to be our prophet, priest, and king, that word is faithfulness. Christ can be our prophet, priest, and king because he was faithful to the Father’s plan for his life Now, as Christians, we are blessed by having Christ’s righteousness applied to our lives because of his faithfulness.    

Faithfulness is one of the greatest characteristics of a follower of Christ, and it is also a characteristic of excellent leaders, pastors, teachers, CEOs, and employees. For the sake of this discussion, faithfulness is the willingness and ability to complete the job. We are in the middle of a series on the application of the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace, and this installment focuses on faithfulness in the workplace. In Galatians 5:22, the Apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” (ESV).

A Faithful Worker is Willing

According to this definition, there are two primary characteristics of a faithful worker. First, they are willing to complete the job. With every job, there are aspects that are preferable over others. A faithful worker is willing to complete the job regardless of their personal preferences. They carry out tasks they dislike with the same level of excellence as the tasks they enjoy. Faithfulness requires a willingness to complete the job even when circumstances are not comfortable. Here, Christ is our example.  

In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Christians in Philippi to have the mind of Christ who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). Christ was willing to carry out the Father’s plan despite the personal discomfort he would experience, and this willingness helped Christ to be faithful in carrying out the Father’s plan of redemption.

A Faithful Worker is Able

Second, a faithful worker is able to complete the job. Not only are they willing, but they have the skills and resources needed to make sure the job is done well. A willing person can attempt to complete a task, but if they do not have the ability, they will not last long in that role. They were willing but unable. 

Here again, Christ is our example. He was able to be our redeemer because while being fully divine, he also became fully man. Furthermore, he lived a sinless life, took upon himself the wrath of God for our sin through his death, and rose from the dead. His life, death, and resurrection affirm his ability to be our redeemer. 

In his book, Money, Greed, and God, Dr. Jay Richards talks about many Christians’ desires to alleviate poverty in the world, and he clarifies that this is a wonderful and biblical aim. However, he makes a distinction between those who hope to alleviate poverty and those who can, between those who are willing and those who are able. He writes,

…having the right intentions, being oriented in the right way, doesn’t take the place of doing things right… Unfortunately, Christians have supported all sorts of policies that were well motivated but that made matters worse, not better.  

To summarize, there are many Christians who have a desire to alleviate poverty in their communities, but they do not have the ability to accomplish their goal. Whether it be wrong ideas or a lack of commitment, Dr. Richards suggests these Christians will not be able to faithfully complete their objective because they lack the ability to accomplish it. Faithfulness is not merely good intentions, but it is the willingness and ability to see a job through to completion.

Are We Being Faithful?

As it’s early in the year, now would be a great time to ask ourselves, “How faithfully are we carrying out the responsibilities the Lord has placed in our lives at this time?” If our honest answer is that we are not demonstrating the faithfulness of Christ in our workplaces, homes, or Christian commitments, the solution is likely found in our level of willingness and/or ability to faithfully complete the job.  

Are we willing to complete our responsibilities even when they are uncomfortable? Do we have the required skills and resources to do a good job? If we cannot answer either of these questions in the affirmative, then we need to reevaluate our hearts and minds. 

One way we can self-evaluate is by inviting the Holy Spirit into our responsibilities. After all, faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. If we are lacking the drive to get the job done well, let’s ask the Spirit to strengthen us with a willingness to be faithful to the call of God on our lives. Maybe we are lacking the ability to be faithful in our jobs. If this is the reality, let’s ask the Spirit to equip us with the resources, skills, and relationships we need to succeed and glorify God. 

It is true that God may call us to accomplish something bigger than ourselves in our jobs, but he will always supply us with the Spirit’s presence and power so we can be willing and able to complete the task. As we go to work this week, let’s seek the Spirit’s presence so we can be willing and able vessels to be used for the glory of God.

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