“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
A tough pill for anyone to swallow is being as faithful as you know how to be on the job only to get the shaft in the end, especially when it’s your boss who does the shafting! Thankfully, most employers aren’t that way. But when such injustices do occur, the natural man in all of us screams to be unleashed and cry out for what is “rightfully mine.” Is there some how to keep your job from destroying your life? Especially, if you get fired?
In the Old Testament Jacob got scammed by his employer, Laban, who was incidentally his father-in-law to-be.
Jacob had fallen in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel, who “was beautiful in form and face.” (Gen. 2:17) To earn her as his bride and pay his dowry, Jacob gladly worked for Laban seven years on his huge estate managing much of Laban’s livestock . (That’s a long time but Rachel was well worth it!)
The day for the wedding came and the crafty father-in-law to be switched girls. Jacob unknowingly married Leah, Rachel’s older and not-nearly-as-pretty sister! Jacob must have been infuriated! The Bible makes it clear, however, that upon discovering that he had been shafted, Jacob asked Laban to explain himself but there is no mention of flying off the handle, plotting revenge, threatening Laban in any way, gossiping behind his back or any factual demand for what was “rightfully his.” Ins! tead, Jacob agreed to work for Laban seven more years!
Talk about loyalty to your boss and company! Let’s make observations here.
First, the most important workplace goals and desires are not always easy to attain and usually require hard work. Nobody said your job was going to be easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.
Second, your job requires patience. It may take years to achieve some of your on-the-job goals, but don’t give up. Patience is a key so stay with it long enough and you’ll probably achieve far more than you ever dreamed with God’s help.
Next, when you get shafted, ask the Lord for strength to not strike back. Ignoring your “rights” is often the precise thing to do even though it may fly in the face of everything in you. Instead, exercise your spiritual authority by serving your employer or whomever it was that shortchanged you. (This is hard to do but can be done in the power of the Holy Spirit!) Imagine Laban’s surprise when Jacob actually agreed to work another seven years.
Lastly, your behavior is never only about you but it (can drastically) affects the lives of others around you. Jacob had Rachel to think of. There were many other employees on the estate. Jacob thought of them all before making his decision, otherwise he may have blown up emotionally, created a scene, and disappeared into the sunset forever. But he did the right thing and was richly rewarded for it!
Build into your workplace mindset a paradigm that has an expectation for challenge and an often high-degree of difficulty. When these challenges come, you’ll be mentally and practically ready.
- Make every day count but work with an eye to the long view.
- Practice patience as needed.
- Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.
- Be a model employee who exercises self-control when everyone else gets hot and bothered by the management’s unfair practice(s).
- Be a leader in giving employers the benefit of the doubt and when all doubt is gone be a leader in doling out grace, the same grace shown to you on the cross.
- Lastly, think how your decision will reflect on your Lord and Savior and always consider the impact your actions (and reactions) may have on others in the company, too, before you respond to unfair practices at work. These are lofty goals…but you can achieve them!