Priorities in the Christian Life

#4. Occupation

By Dr. Ron Tardif (D.Div. C.C.)

Priorities in the Christian Life: The Series

Priority #1: God
Priority #2: Spouse
Priority #3: Children
Priority #4: Occupation
Priority #5: Ministry

Did you know that the number one cause of divorce in America is people's occupations? In a so-called Christian nation, this should not be so. Our jobs should be selected not by what pays the most money, but rather by what enhances a family's quality of a godly life while maintaining the correct priorities in that life. No matter what, don't let your job/occupation become a higher priority than your Lord, your spouse, or your children. Sure, there will be those unplanned emergencies when we may have to break a promise and go into work for an unscheduled emergency. Young children may not understand this. Older children who have seen this over and over again may not buy it at all. We need to remember that our battle to keep the family knit together is not appreciated in this day and age by most employers. Remember Ephesians 6:12? Our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with satan (small s intended). However, if you have a job where this is the norm, you should reevaluate what it is doing to your family — your priorities #2 and #3. Certainly, if your job ever causes you to compromise your walk with the Lord — priority #1 — you definitely need to look elsewhere for employment.

If your job poses more than a slight potential for any kind of sin — unfaithfulness, lying, cheating, steeling items or secrets, breaking the laws of the land — then that job and you need to separate. Remember also to be a good steward of your hours worked. No goofing off. Although you are on your company's clock a portion of the time, you're on God's clock all of the time.

However, the greatest concern in this topic of keeping proper priorities is the topic of keeping it at a priority #4. Lots of folk are "married" to their jobs. They may be "owned" it seems at times by the company. Have you ever heard someone tell you that you were a company man/woman? FLAG! Some companies have no patience when it comes to family needs and emergencies. They believe they are the only important institution on the earth, and expect you to maintain the same philosophy:
Slaves [or employees], be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. Ephesians 6:5-8
It's often good to remember that your employer is not your only boss. We all answer to a higher calling: God. If and when your subordinate boss/CEO/owner asks you to do something that you know your ultimate Boss would disagree with, don't do it! Whether they want to hear it or not, it is time to explain your ethics, your morals, your principles to this boss, if he'll hear you of course. If they can't work with your work philosophy, so be it. Always seek to please God first. If a new job requires you to move, or leave a family business or even a "dream" job for the sake of your God, spouse, or children? Sounds to me like this would be a clear decision — a no brainer. I didn't say it would be an easy decision, but a clear and necessary one indeed. You will be blessed if you put your priorities in order and try as best you can to always act on them.

Christian employers are also challenged in this passage to do what it right with God, first and foremost:
And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Ephesians 6:9
Christian bosses/employers need to remember that they are but stewards of God's people and creation. To mistreat God's kids is not a good thing. It won't go well with them.

Bottom line: if your job is a handicap to a healthy vibrant family, seek employment elsewhere. Some business arrangements are complicated. Lots of folk work for kin. The "tradition" may have been going on for many years. Seniority may be right on the verge of moving in your favor. A huge overdue raise finally may be heading your way. That's satan's timing. He's good at it. DON'T let him win.

But while in your job, remember to work "as for the Lord, and not for men" (Colossians 3:23):

1. Don't be tardy. Always show up on time. Work past your appointed end time, should you be tardy for an unusual situation. DON'T allow this to be the norm in your portfolio.

2. Don't compromise your beliefs for the sake of a boss, or raise, or anything else. Remember to always be kind in so doing.

3. Remember that you have multiple bosses. Make sure God remains your Big Boss, with all due respect to Him.

4. Remember that your earthly boss may not always see what you are doing or saying. However, your Heavenly Boss is ALWAYS watching. Seek first to please Him, and everything else will line up nicely (Matthew 6:33).

5. Don't be a slacker at work. Witnessing at work is not what you are paid to do. Seek witnessing opportunities on breaks or in the parking lot when coming/leaving work — your own time. Render to God what is God's, and to your boss what is your boss's (Matthew 22:21).

6. When seeking new employment, don't just look at the bottom line — money. Look primarily for a position where you won't be compromising your beliefs, and where you have the most witnessing opportunities. Along with the money, also be looking for minimum time away from your more important priorities: God, spouse, and children. It may be the shortest commute. If you have to move, make sure the higher priorities are in agreement — spouse and children. DON'T allow "ministry" to complicate this matter. It is priority #5 and of less importance than #4.

7. You may have heard the Disney song, "Whistle while you work." I would recommend that you "pray while you work." Talk to God as often as possible. Remember to ask Him often, "What would You say? What would You do?" You'll be blessed if you do.

See also: What does it take to be a born again Christian?

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Family-Life  | God-Father  | Personal-Relationships

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Published on 2-28-17