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Choosing ‘The Work of God’ or the World of Work



Choosing ‘The Work of God’ or the World of Work

By Robert Tamasy

Earlier this year, Rick Boxx wrote a “Monday Manna” based on a film he had seen, “Amazing Grace,” which tells the story of British statesman William Wilberforce and his heroic crusade to abolish slavery in Great Britain. Recently I had an opportunity to view that excellent film, and would like to add my observations.

Early in the movie, after an intense encounter with God, Wilberforce begins wondering whether to forsake his promising career in political service in favor of spiritual pursuits. He is invited to a meeting with fellow abolitionists where one of his guests observes, “Mr. Wilberforce, we understand you are having a problem choosing whether to do the work of God or the work of a political activist.” Then another person adds, “We humbly suggest that you can do both.” Soon afterward, Wilberforce consults with his longtime mentor, John Newton, the author of the world-famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton concurs with the earlier statement, urging Wilberforce to continue embracing his spiritual convictions while carrying out the duties of public office.

Fierce campaigning is underway as American voters prepare to elect a new President later this year, and similar discussions are taking place in the United States. What role – if any – does faith play in the exercise of public office? Should there be exclusivity – a separation of church and state, even at the personal level – or do one’s private spiritual convictions necessarily intersect with responsibilities of elective office and leadership?

My intent is not to add fuel to that debate, but rather to offer a reminder that each of us pursuing a career in the business and professional world must answer a similar question. Should our spirituality be held apart from how we perform our job assignments, or should what we believe and profess during times of personal worship necessarily influence the things we do – and how we do them – in the workplace?

Years ago I concluded that the latter is true – that my personal spiritual beliefs and convictions cannot be separated from who I am as a journalist, writer, editor and business leader. Think of it this way: If you are an atheist, you live and act according to the belief that there is no God and, therefore, no divine accountability for your actions. You may endeavor to live morally – according to your own moral code – but other than to observe established laws, what you do or say is not subject to a higher standard of judgment.

However, if our spirituality has led us to conclude that there is a God who is the final judge of our lives on earth, like Wilberforce we must then factor that into our personal behavior, workplace ethics and values, as well as our commitment to virtues such as human dignity, justice and compassion. How we conduct ourselves in business dealings, as well as how we treat employees, coworkers, suppliers, customers, clients and stakeholders, and serve our communities, should represent an outflow of our innermost beliefs and convictions.

The Bible says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:17, 23-24).

Elsewhere, Jesus offered this sharp observation about personal stewardship to His followers: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11). To separate spiritual beliefs from everyday practice is to deny one’s true self.

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He is the author of Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress).

Reflection/Discussion Questions

1.How familiar are you with William Wilberforce and his service as a statesman? How aware were you of how his personal spiritual convictions influenced his stand for justice and the rights of those victimized by the slave trade?

2.What is your reaction to what the individual said about Wilberforce’s conflict between doing “the work of God and the work of a political activist” – “We humbly suggest that you can do both”?

3.As you consider your own spiritual convictions, do you find that you have separated them from how you conduct yourself in the workplace – or are your beliefs a strong influence in how you carry out your job each day? Explain your answer.

4.What are some of the challenges that can hinder us from effectively integrating our spiritual beliefs with our everyday work and activities in the “real world”?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to consider some other passages that speak about this topic, turn to the following:

Psalm 139:1-10; Proverbs 28:14 Corinthians 3:9-15; Galatians 5:7-9

Source : www.cbmcint.org

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