Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeling Unsalty and Unlighty in the Workplace?

Struggling in the workplace? Especially when trying to balance between staying back at work, and when your workplace culture demands that you stay back EVERY day just to put in that extra work?

Or being misunderstood by your boss and/or colleagues? Not being able to excel in your job, because, well, it's really not your strength?

Does it mean that you have therefore failed? That you have failed to be salt and light in the marketplace?


Jesus never said, "Woe to you who screw up in the marketplace, for thy peers shall get promoted ahead of you and I won't recognize you."

Yet I guess sometimes when people talk about being salt and light and casually sprinkle testimonies of how God has blessed them with this promotion and so on...

(Now, I guess I gotta clarify that I'm not putting down those who really gladly share from their hearts about how God has blessed them in their jobs...)

But I'm writing to caution those who start thinking in their hearts and reason that if you succeed, then it is always a sign that you are in God's favour... that kind of faulty theology was what Job's friends believed in, and that's what Jesus challenged in His Sermon on the Mount. Sometimes Christians suffer, because it really is God's will to put them through such things. Well, wiser and better people have written in depth about these things, so I won't go in detail.

Still, I think it's important to accept the fact that there are times we really don't do well in the eyes of the world. But even then we can be salt and light when we look (and start feeling) like we have failed God. That we feel like the tail, not the head.

Take heart, dear friends. Our poster-boy for marketplace success, Joseph, had to first become a slave, and then a forgotten prisoner, before God eventually made him into prime minister of all Egypt. The key to being salt and light is not to win praises from men, but letting people see how we Christians respond differently, even in the face of suffering, scoldings and even sackings.

Will we respond the way men do when things go bad... or will we respond graciously and kindly, like how Jesus responded when He got nailed to the cross? He died in such a way that even the Roman centurion in charge of his execution couldn't help but exclaim, "Surely this man was the son of God!"

It is not your success that will make people stand up and say that God must be real. But it is how you respond to your successes - and your failures too, that will make men take note. Will you respond like a heathen, or will you respond like a son of God?

Will you live, like how Jesus lived? Will you suffer, like how Jesus suffered? And will you die, like how Jesus died?

Do read the whole of Philippians 3 to have a better understanding of what it really means to live (and die) a life that glorifies God truly...

(Hee. Sharing this passionately... not because I'm better than you dear friends... but just been a bit further ahead in the minefields. LOL! That's why I'm so lame... haha... ... er, get it? Never mind... :D but yeah! Hope and pray that you will be encouraged by God's Word here!)

Philippians 3
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing on Toward the Goal

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

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