What Really Matters: How We Do What We Do

Have you ever had a job you felt was below your abilities? Have you ever had a job you hated? We all have, right? What do you when you find yourself in this place?

If you are like me, in situations like that you probably have been tempted to simply go through the motions, giving less than your best effort. It seems easy to take on the attitude, “I do not deserve to be doing this!” or “I detest this job!” When we believe we are being treated unfairly, we can easily justify doing less than our best. However, if you fall for this deception, you are only hurting yourself.

We tend to make “what we do,” “where we do it” and “what we get paid” the most important factors in our work. This line of thinking, however, is misguided at best and certainly does not honor God. What we do at work, where we do it, and how much we earn are not nearly as important as HOW we do it.

Many of us desire to be engaged in something of significance. The good news is that the significance of our work has nothing to do with our titles or what we do. Significance has everything to do with the condition of our hearts. Because our hearts – our inner motivations – determine how we do our work.

I have hired many people over the years and, admittedly, have done a poor job of it in many instances. I have tended to perceive people too positively when I interviewed them, thinking they were exactly what we were looking for. Knowing what I know now, I would ask questions differently of job candidates during an interview. I would try to determine what their attitudes would be if asked to perform mundane, even demeaning tasks, such as cleaning toilets or sweeping floors at the company. Answers to those questions would reveal much about how well they would fit on our team.

One of my favorite characters in the Old Testament of the Bible was a man who understood this. Joseph (his story begins in Genesis 37) had a difficult road much of his life. It began with being sold into slavery by his brothers. As a slave, he performed admirably and was eventually promoted to a position of great responsibility until he was falsely imprisoned. While in prison, he again made the best of his circumstances and was elevated to a top management role until his release.

Upon his release, Joseph received another promotion, this time to become second in command of all Egypt, answering only to the Pharaoh. In each of these instances, Joseph would not have been promoted had he not been working with all his heart “as working for the Lord,” as Colossians 3:23 instructs all who believe in and follow God.

So if you find yourself in a position you do not like or one you feel is unworthy of your qualifications, recognize God is looking at your heart. He needs you to be faithful in the little things before He can promote you to handle greater responsibilities.

Consider what Jesus told His followers about the importance of being good stewards, not only of our material possessions but also of the work and opportunities given to us: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”(Matthew 25:21)

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