Five Words that Should Impact How You Work
The Scripture has a lot to say about today’s workplace. Even though it may use words that may seem strange in today’s parlance, it applies directly to the modern day.
Here are five words taken from Colossians 3:22 and Ephesians 6:5-6 that provide a guide for how to function in today’s workplace.
The words obey and be obedient in those verses both are translated from the same Greek word, hupakouo, which according to Strong’s Concordance means “to heed or conform to a command or authority.”
These are hard words for people to hear. People don’t like to be told what to do. And yet these words go to the heart of the message of the Bible. The Scriptures said we show our love for God when we obey Him (Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10, 7:9, 11:1, 22, 19:9; 30:16; Joshua 22:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4; John 14:15, 21, 15:10; 1 John 5:2, 3).
People expect their children to obey them, and yet they don’t like having to obey the law when driving or paying their taxes. How can they hold that double standard?
Obedience is the glue that holds any group of people together, whether families or communities—or companies.
The words fearing and fear in those verse are the Greek words phobeo and phobos which are translated, respectively, as “to be in awe of, i.e. revere” and “alarm or fright” according to Strong’s Concordance.
Those words stand in strong contrast to the scornful disdain that most employees have for their bosses in today’s workplace. People do not tend to revere their bosses. In fact, the word reverence has been for the most part lost in our culture. And yet the Scriptures talk about how we should be give honor, deference and respect to those in authority over us (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17; Ephesians 6:2; 1 Timothy 6:1).
People want to be respected by those who are in their charge—whether that’s their children or their employees—but they do not respect those who are in authority over them—whether that’s government officials or their employer. How can they expect to receive it without modeling it?
Being reverent is an important part of making sure that you do not put yourself in the center of your universe.
The word singleness in those verses is translated from the Greek word haplotes to mean “sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking)” according to Strong’s Concordance.
That is a hard standard to live up to. Most people have a WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) attitude. They have difficulty being guileless. And yet that is exactly what the Scripture requires. Even while we are to be as shrewd as snakes, we should be as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).
No one wants to be manipulated or played. Everyone knows how good it feels to be told the unvarnished truth. Then why do people think it’s acceptable to deceive others?
Self-less sincerity is the sweet scent that overpowers the stench of self-centered dissimulation.
The word eyeservice in those verses comes from the Greek word ophthalmodouleia, which means “sight-labor, i.e. that needs watching (remissness)” according to Strong’s Concordance. (And the English word remissness brings to mind negligence, carelessness, and inattention.)
Most people in today’s workplace have a tendency to do just what they know people will see them doing. They don’t want to do more than they have to do. But that’s not what the Scriptures say to do. Jesus talks about giving more than expected of you (Matthew 5:40-41), which is reflected elsewhere in the Scriptures (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23-24), because this level of service glorifies God (Ephesians 6:7).
No one would be pleased to hire someone to do a job for them—whether it’s brain surgery or lawn maintenance—and find it’s been done carelessly or negligently. And yet why do people think it’s acceptable for them to give half-hearted effort at their own job?
No one can expect to do just the minimum and believe they will be rewarded for it.
The word menpleasers comes from the Greek word anthropareskos which means “man-courting, i.e. fawning” according to Strong’s Concordance. In today’s terminology, people would define that word as “suck-up.”
Many people don’t have a problem with currying favor with the “right” people just so that their lives will be easier. But that’s not what the Scriptures say to do. God says that we should work as unto the Lord and not only for people (1 Peter 2:17).
Our society says to “be your own man” but it can’t be done if they also want to be a brownnoser. What kind of example does that set for kids if their parents are willing to be a toady?
No one can soar with eagles if they are willing to act like turkeys.
Even though these Scriptures were written at least 2,000 years ago, they still bring timeless wisdom to today’s workplace.