At Work & Theology 101

Three Practical Ways You Can Express Gratitude at Work

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This week, many Americans will share a Thanksgiving feast with family and friends. As a nation, we will take a break from our work to give thanks for the good things we have in our lives – health, freedom, family, our jobs, our co-workers.

Our jobs and co-workers? Are we really thankful for these things?

According to a 2013 study commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation, gratitude at work seems to have gone missing. Here are some findings from the study:

  • Only 39% of respondents are grateful for their current jobs.
  • 74% of respondents said they rarely or never express gratitude toward their boss.
  • 60% never or rarely express gratitude toward co-workers.

Transforming Truth

As followers of Christ, we have every reason to be thankful. Our eternal salvation has been secured in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This amazing truth changes everything – including our work.

Work is completely transformed by the Gospel. Work that seemed to be drudgery has become a meaningful pursuit of Kingdom flourishing. The all-consuming career has become a source of joy and wonder.

Yes, there are still struggles and frustrations at work. Adam’s sin in the Garden has caused work to be harder than God originally intended for us (Genesis 3:17-19). The ground that was once pure and perfect now produces thorns and thistles.

Called to a Life of Gratitude

What are the thorns and thistles in your workplace?

Some of us face frustrating project or financial challenges. Some have to deal with miscommunication or difficult interpersonal relationships with coworkers. Sometimes our own fears and insecurities get in the way, causing work to be difficult.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – I Thessalonians 5:18

Even with the thorns and thistles we face each day in the workplace, we are called to be thankful in all circumstances. Feeling and expressing genuine gratitude at work is one of the ways we, as followers of Christ, can be in the world but not of the world.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! – Psalm 107:1

As new creations in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17) and heirs of the promise (Romans 8), we have every reason to be thankful. God is good and the work he calls us to do is good and meaningful.

Gratitude at Work

Feeling and expressing gratitude in a workplace filled with thorns and thistles can be challenging. How can we be more thankful at work? Here are a few basic ideas:

  • Acknowledge that work is a gift. Sometimes we see work as a necessary evil, just a way to put food on the table. The reality is that work is a gift from God. Knowing that God is present and active in our work transforms even the most routine task into an eternally important venture.
  • Enjoy the fruit of your labor. Work is not simply about making a living. But, making a living is an important part of work. Income enables us to provide for our families, save for the future, and share with others.
  • Express gratitude for co-workers. No one can flourish alone. Co-workers – even the ones that are hard to love – share the burden of work. Each one has unique gifts and abilities to apply to the work at hand. Pray for your colleagues and give thanks that God has brought them into your life.

Thanks to You

On behalf of the entire IFWE team, thank you for reading our blog. We won’t be publishing tomorrow in honor of the holiday, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear some of the things you are grateful for at work. Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • Noval Smith

    I’m fortunate in that I really enjoy my work-well, at least most days! What a blessing to have a sense of how God’s designed you and to function in accordance with that design. It provides a great sense of fulfillment. I’m grateful to TIFWE and others who are writing excellent theology in the area of work. These studies have enriched my life in wonderful ways!

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