Today’s Bible reading
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. —Matthew 6:33
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12:17-21
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. — Matthew. 5:38-42
More thoughts for meditation
Jesus integrates all of life into a loving relationship with God – loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbor as ourselves, and this includes the workplace. Our interactions in businesses and other employment are opportunities to publicly testify that every interaction deserves an eternal perspective and that following Jesus rather than the mindset of a materialistic society is imperative.
Our calling is to
- Do our work in a way that enhances our revelation of Jesus.
- Do our work as a blessing and to support the church and its mission.
- “Go the second mile” with difficult customers and co-workers.
- Offer goods and/or services that bless the community.
- Be especially helpful to the poor or destitute.
- Forgive and forebear those who take advantage of us in business, rather than immediately using force or legal means.
- Value the kingdom of God above personal profit — souls over sales. Avoid driving hard bargains and instead have a testimony of generosity in business.
- Resist the pressure to make leisure, recreation, and early retirement the motivations for business, and instead appreciate the innate goodness of productive work that is aligned with the character and intentions of God. On the other hand, avoid the trap of becoming absorbed in work as an end in itself.
- Avoid using good practices such as giving to the church and funding mission work as justification for using shady, harsh, or coercive methods in business.
- Provide a workplace that is relationally, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually healthy for workers.
Suggestions for action
Pray: Help me do my work according to the radical love you show me.
Many of us are subject to the ungodly business practices of others and our small contributions to our workplace seem very meager. We are easily overwhelmed and susceptible to practicing workplace morality at work and following Jesus elsewhere. Be comforted. Be inspired.
Even if our employers subject us to immorality, we have our own “business” to run. We are working with Jesus. In a real sense, we are the Lord’s apprentices. The church is a worldwide enterprise. Circle of Hope, is in itself, a large “farm.” There is a lot of room to be the antidote to the godless practices in the world by being an owner, an entrepreneur, a skillful manager of the family business we have inherited by faith. Inspire. Comfort.
Check whether your work is being used for the kingdom of God. You can at least give a healthy chunk of the income you acquire to our common work of building the church. Even more, how are you acting like an owner? What is your role, right now, in making the enterprise work the best it can?