Your Job Matters to God – Part 4

Bob Birkhead was a well-known and much-respected leader in the heating and air conditioning business in Louisville, Kentucky. Bob died suddenly last Sunday afternoon at age 78. At the funeral service, Wade Owen, a long-term employee who took over the business when Bob retired, shared the following testimony about his former boss.

“I started working for Bobby Birkhead when I was nineteen years old. I never dreamed of the impact he and (his wife) Mary would have on my life and my family’s lives. I didn’t know much about him at that time but could tell he was a kind man.

“I can’t say why, but Bobby had such a powerful presence that I didn’t want to disappoint him in any way. I loved the way he made me feel…that I was valued and I was a part of something really good. The harder I worked the more Bobby and Mary would thank me and reward me more than I ever deserved. I didn’t, at that time, know exactly what they had, but I did know that one day I wanted some of it.

“I couldn’t begin to tell all the kind things I have seen him do to help people that couldn’t help themselves. He told me some things years ago that I can still hear him say today, such as: ‘Be honest – even when it hurts.’ ‘Own your mistakes but make them right.’ And the one that stands out the most is, ‘You better never look down upon anyone unless it is to help them up.’.

“I finally found out what it was that Bob and Mary had that made them such good people that they never wanted thanks for anything. And it was what they had said all along, ’If it is good it is from God.’ Bob Birkhead changed my life and my family’s lives in so many ways. He will always be loved and honored by me!”

That moving tribute to Bob Birkhead reminded me of the third reason God wants us to be diligent workers. A job well done not only boosts our self-esteem and develops our character; it enhances our Christian testimony. Believers should regard their workplace as a fertile evangelistic field.

The Bible says, “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

When you perform your job with excellence, it gives you credibility with coworkers and customers, many of whom are not followers of Jesus Christ. Conversely, a poor work ethic negates your influence. It’s surprising how closely the “outsiders” observe your daily habits and attitude. They soon learn a lot about your character by watching how you perform your job. That’s true whether you drive a truck or own the Trucking Company.

I’ve heard church people say, “I wish I could work for a Christian company. The people I work with are profane, dishonest and immoral. It’s just an awful environment.” They dream of getting a job with a church or a parachurch organization and imagine that being isolated from worldly pressures would be heaven on earth.

Somehow it never strikes them that God may have them in that worldly setting so that those lost people at work would at least have some exposure to the Christian faith. Since the unbeliever very seldom attends a church service, Jesus commanded us to go into all the world with the gospel. That certainly includes the world of business and everyday commerce.

Pat Day went into the world of racing, Kirk Cameron into the world of entertainment, Dr. James Dobson into the world of psychology, Tim Tebow into the world of football, Vice President Mike Pence into the world of politics, Truett Cathy into the world of fast food. Each has had a positive impact by representing Christ in the marketplace.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Each of us should search for ways to let the light of Christ shine through us in our daily assignment. However, the best way to evangelize is not to carry a big Bible to your office or wear a two-pound cross around your neck or play sermon CD’s loudly so everyone in the office can hear the gospel.

The first step to having a positive testimony for Christ is always to gain respect. That means you show up on time every day. You go the second mile to help others. You perform your assignment with excellence. You guard your tongue. You respond quickly and tactfully to text messages and emails. You are a good steward of any money entrusted to you. You have a pleasant, cooperative attitude even under stress. You take a genuine interest in others and learn about their needs and their family. Then when the opportunity surfaces, you speak a good word about Jesus.

The reason Wade Owen became a Christian is because Bob Birkhead’s work ethic earned him the right to be heard. The workplace may be the only place where God can reach some people. When asked what she did for a living one perceptive Christian quipped, “I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a check-out girl at Kroger’s.” We would all do well to envision ourselves as God’s agent of truth in our workplace.

As I drove out of the church parking lot after attending a church in Orlando, Florida, I was impressed with a small sign at the end of the drive. It simply read, “Now entering the mission field.” What a great reminder for all of us!

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