|April 19, 2007|
Cooperating with a smile
by Jon Walker
“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had – though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave ….” (Philippians 2:5-7 NLT)
Discipleship — Cooperation is doing with a smile what you have to do anyway. You’ll never find that sentence in the Bible, but I think its spirit is implied throughout God's Word. We are called to be obedient to God's commands, and part of that obedience is having a sensitive servant’s attitude.
I learned this lesson years ago when I was working for someone, who at the time, I didn’t respect. I would do whatever he asked me to do – eventually – but I tended to drag my feet, complain, or point out how wrong he was.
But God used that relationship to teach me godly obedience. Through his Word, God taught me to obey my earthly authorities. He showed me that Christ-like character required me to work with the same servant’s attitude regardless of how I felt about my work environment or my employer.
God not only changed my attitude, he led me to seek forgiveness from my boss for my disrespectful attitude. It was a major turning point in my life, as I came to understand what it meant to be a man under authority, regardless of who was in authority at the time. God could work through a boss who was a believer, and he could work through a boss who was a tyrant – because he is God and in all situations I ultimately should be responding to his authority.
Eventually, I developed considerable respect for my boss, and he became one of my greatest mentors and supporters. Though not a believer, he taught me, “Cooperation is doing with a smile what you have to do anyway.”
· Live the Gospel – How you conduct yourself at work is part of your Christian witness. Today, go beyond the minimum requirements and see how those around you respond. To quote Francis of Assisi: “Share the gospel; if necessary, use words.”
· Change your attitude – Be respectful, helpful, and gracious to those in authority over you – no matter how difficult it may be.
· Go the extra mile with a smile – Christ said, “If someone compels you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two.” People are more likely to listen to what you say when your actions show respect and concern for them, when you do more than the minimum required.
· Hey God, a little help! – Ask God to turn those tough situations at work into opportunities to share the Gospel, but check your own attitude first.
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.