I began my very first job when I was sixteen years old. There is a sense of accomplishment receiving your paycheck and thinking I earned this money. I had much to learn about working hard, giving 100% to an employer and saving my money. I have women in my life that work. Several teachers, military officers, self-employed entrepreneurs, entertainment professionals, waitresses, child care givers, pharmaceutical doctors, medical doctors, and writers all have influenced my life in a particular area. Not all of these women are Christians, but they do inspire me in their dedicated field. Most have studied, climbed the corporate ladder, and continue to strive for more. I see the results of their hard work and their own lives motivate me to seek God’s purpose and plan for me.
I see these women’s accomplishments, but I have also seen some hardened by gossip, passed over for “better opportunities”, lost wages and seeking employment, low income salaries, and social media explosions. Today, technology is rapidly becoming the “way of the world” and some of these women may be behind. I am fully aware of my lack of knowledge with computers. If placed or needed to be back in the workforce, I would have to take some kind of technology class just to get my foot in the door for an interview.
The workplace today is different than when I was working. Employees are complaining our youth and workforce can not show up on time for work, but ironically leave early. The criticizing continues with a list of employees unable to work in the time paid for, taking office supplies, gossiping or sabotaging fellow colleagues, workplace “romances”, falsifying applications, delicate sensibilities who are always “offended” and call for mandatory classes on the offense committed, and individuals who lack the initiative to do their job. This last one infuriates my husband. In his profession as a realtor, individuals who are responsible for their part in the contract from lenders, to underwriters to the actually seller have a lackaday attitude, “I’ll get to it when I get to it.” His question is, “How do these people make money if they don’t do their work?”
I also have seen the employee’s side where a supervisor takes advantage of a subordinate. Whether for personal or professional reasons, some have demanded extra hours without pay as per the salary position. Employees have given their time, gifts and talents at the expense of a superior’s promotion and have unfortunately lost lifesavings from the greed of a CEO’s inability to manage company funds appropriately. Yes, the work force is becoming a challenge to many of us.
Lydia was in the workforce.
Paul was preaching in Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of the district of Macedonia (Acts 16:12). The Bible reads, “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15)
First of all, I love Paul was looking for a place of prayer. We are to be as determined as the Apostle to seek God, His presence and love communicating via prayer. Second, I admire Paul who saw these women worshiping, was not deterred by their gender and joined their worship. Thirdly, the women opened their arms to him, maybe his reputation preceding him, and listened to the man of God preach. Fourth, God opened the heart of Lydia. Did you see that, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” God wanted this woman. God needed this woman, just as He has opened your heart to the call of Christ; He needs you for a plan and purpose. Finally, she was baptized and began “withholding no good thing from her instructor” (Galatians 6:6).
Lydia led by example.
These women were apart of her household and am sure helped with the selling of clothing. They followed Lydia for she was a godly woman who worshiped the Lord and led by God’s provisions and laws. Probably seeing their matriarch, listening attentively to the Gospel, and the promptings of the Lord for baptism, they diligently followed. Lydia was a respected entrepreneur who led by godly example to those around her. My question to you, are you that godly example in your place of work or to those who labor for you?
I understand today’s workforce is very “touchy feely”, for Christians have a unique challenge ahead of them in spreading the Gospel. God will give you the opportunity to teach, the wisdom as to when the appropriate time is and discernment to whom you should speak. I encourage you to be in the “world”, but not be of the world. Your reputation should not be as one who gossips, slanders, maliciously climbs the corporative ladders, and belittles the ones in subordinate positions. I pray you are encouraging, wise, hard working and focused as a Christian. Please do not wear a cross necklace, Jesus pin or fish symbol as you nitpick your employer or company, as you entice those around you with low cut clothing, or as you use those around you for monetary gain. We will give an account of our lives and the last thing I would want to hear standing at the throne is “Why did you do this?” All I want to hear is, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Bring all your requests to the foot of the cross. Pray about a promotion, a business transaction or a disgruntled boss. If you are unhappy in your current position, pray to the Lord about a job transfer, the finances you may need now for the ever changing taxing economy or the words to speak to a challenging boss. Pray your company sees the hard work and hours you give selflessly praying God move you when he is ready. There may be challenges, but these are valuable teaching lessons we need if moving ahead as to what to do and what NOT to do. Lay your job, your employer and those around you at the cross!