At Work & Public Square

Practical Wisdom from Proverbs for Applying Your Faith at Work

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Applying your faith at work every time you walk through the doorway to your workplace can be a challenge.

In his book How Then Should We Work?, Hugh Whelchel writes,

Our theology of work should teach us how to think Christianly about all of life, public and private. It should teach us to work with Christian distinctiveness.

What does it mean to work with Christian distinctiveness for a client, alongside your co-workers, or for your boss?

The Theology of Work Project (TWP) has put together a series of study guides on the Bible and your work that helps you answer that very question.

Their study on the book of Proverbs provides practical wisdom for applying your faith at work.

Specifically, the study outlines the character qualities of a wise worker, and the qualities it highlights illustrate what it looks like to work with Christian distinctiveness.

One characteristic of a wise worker that stands out is a wise worker is trustworthy. This seems obvious.

What might not be so obvious is that being trustworthy isn’t just about your personal integrity. That’s incredibly important, but being trustworthy and dependable is also an act of service that makes your work a benefit to others:

  • Being trustworthy makes you an asset to your boss.
  • Being trustworthy creates a better working environment for your team.

Serving Your Boss

Throughout their study of Proverbs, TWP points to the Valiant Woman of Proverbs 31 as a model of the wise worker.

Proverbs 31:11 says,

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

Commenting on this verse, the authors of the study write,

Are you that person? Are you the person that your supervisor, CEO, or president can trust to do the right thing? Are you someone to whom others turn in order to get the job done right?

Part of being trustworthy on the job requires doing quality work on a consistent basis.

This is easier said than done, especially if you work in a tough workplace environment. If your workplace is highly competitive, the temptation to cut corners to get ahead can be hard to resist. If your work situation is less than stimulating, giving 110% doesn’t always seem worthwhile.

Despite these trying circumstances, wise workers remain committed  to holy living while on the job. Proverbs teaches against all kinds of behaviors the disgruntled employee might find enticing:

  • Proverbs 10:18 warns against slandering “in order to air our grievances.”
  • Proverbs 18:9 admonishes vandalizing.
  • Proverbs 29:24 advises against stealing from an employer.

The study remarks that,

We owe our employers our faithful and right behavior no matter what…. No matter how hard it is to rise above a tough situation, God is glorified and your virtue is intact when your behavior remains righteous.

When your behavior remains righteous, your boss is more likely to consider you a trustworthy asset to your workplace.

If you’re the boss, though, being trustworthy can create a productive environment for your direct reports.

Serving Your Employees

Can the people who work for you count on you to do good work? The TWP’s Proverbs study says,

When you can live without looking over your shoulder because there is a trustworthy person in charge of your situation, it is a blessing that enables you to spend your time being productive instead of worrying.

Being a trustworthy boss is one way to get the best work out of your employees. It’s also a way to model God’s love for them. He is faithful and completely trustworthy. He “knows our needs and cares about our futures.” Your employees look to you for these same things.

Again, the Valiant Woman from Proverbs 31 offers a model for this kind of service.

Those who work for her trust her, those who depend on her “rise up and call her happy” (Proverbs 31:28). She is someone everyone can count on to do good.

Whether you’re the employer or the employee, working with Christian distinctiveness means being trustworthy and dependable in all circumstances.

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