Over decades in the corporate world I’ve seen countless business and leadership trends come and go, some good and some bad. It seems like there is always an exciting new book or theory that promises to revolutionize the marketplace. Yet some of the most revolutionary and impactful business principles I’ve learned are rooted in a much more timeless source.
In the broader discussion of what it means to be a Christian at work, church leaders tend to focus mainly on how our work folds into God’s plan, leading to an emphasis on things like seeking God’s calling, behaving morally, and marketplace evangelism. None of that is wrong; those are all good things to think about. I do wonder though, whether focusing on how our jobs can advance God’s plan leads us to overlook the practical and meaningful ways that our faith can impact our work.
The Bible offers countless principles that inform our understanding of and approach toward work. These are a few of my favorites.
1. Work for a Larger Purpose
Culturally, work is one of the defining characteristics of our lives. It’s one of the first things you learn about anyone you meet. “What do you do?” we ask, but we really mean, “Who are you?”
In a competitive marketplace, the value of the work you do may be judged by the profit it generates or the public acclaim it draws. Our society’s obsession with success—and with appearing successful—incentivizes self-promotion and self-protection.1