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Living Large as a Professional at Work


Reprinted from ReadyAimLife

There is a particular commercial that I have seen lately that I really like. The commercial is promoting a particular athletic conference in the southeastern part of the US who some would deem as the best conference in the country. The advertisement touts the reality that the college athlete will turn pro in something after college. The inference is strong that many SEC athletes are good enough to become professionally paid athletes and many of them do. But, the real message of the ad is even stronger that all of these athletes will parlay their academic opportunities into careers. Said another way; after the dust settles and the last batter is out, SEC Athletes will be ready to excel on another playing field- the gridiron of work. Through the magic of TV basketball players become scholars and pilots, soccer players become concert violinist and swimmers become construction fore-mans.

But , reality in the working world begs a question: Is someone a professional just because they get paid or has a degree? What makes a person a valuable part of the business community? Said personally, are you an asset or a liability to your company? As we examine this world of work we are going to do a character study of a gentlemen in the Bible. The apostle Paul had a guy working for him that was a pretty admirable employee by today’s standard. In fact, by any cultural standard, any time period or any profession, Paul’s right hand man Timothy would be eligible for promotion and should be considered for a raise. In tough economic times he would probably be one of the few who didn’t get laid off. Did Timothy have some issues that probably made their way to his employee file? Yes. But, he did possess the characteristics that most companies are looking for today.

We find a great description of him in Philippians 2:

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.  For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. Philippians 2: 19-24

Let me make some observations about Timothy that I think has some application in today’s work force.

Professional Workers are Faithful Ambassadors of their Company– One characteristic of a great employee is their connection with the company line. When they are by themselves (or in Tim’s case- are sent away for company business) they are a faithful ambassador. Do you understand what your company stands for? Most companies have a noble reason for its existence. How can you be a faithful ambassador of your company if you don’t know what its mission is? And if you cannot with good conscience represent the mission of your employer, you need to find a new company!

Professional Workers take Genuine Interest in Other People– There is nothing worse than working alongside a self seeking, self serving individual whose narcissism has no bounds. In this day and age companies are looking for people who get along. In fact, the cream of the crop will not only be able to get along but will be able to create an environment where collaboration and commitment to the team exists. This will only occur as you take a genuine interest in others. You have to get to know others to understand what is in their best interest and true team occurs as you take other’s interest to heart. This will not happen overnight and in many companies never happens, but great employees and employers for that matter are other’s conscious. Maybe not other’s centered but at least concerned about the well being of their fellow workers.

Professional Workers are always looking out for the Boss’s best interest– I am not talking about a brown nosing yes-man kind of person. But, a sincere connection with what the leaders of his company were trying to do. In this case we see that Tim’s real boss was not Paul but rather Jesus. Paul says, “Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ”. One of the characteristics that most bosses’ are looking for is someone who understands what the leaders are trying to do and pulls with the team. That doesn’t mean that you don’t give input related to a new direction, but it does mean that once a clear direction has been established you grab your part of the rope and pull. And for the record, a person of faith should do his work as for the Lord. Listen to what Paul says in Colossians Chapter 3:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Professional Workers are Proven Producers– My current boss has a saying that I think is pretty good. He says, “the good news is that your compensation is determined by your performance, and the bad news is your compensation is determined by your performance.” Paul said that Timothy “has proved himself“. People get paid to do something. Money does not grow on trees and there is a reason that your employer gives you a check. At the end of the week, month or year, have you added value that matters to the bottom line of the company? Now that is not to say that good workers don’t get ousted, downsized and pink-slipped, but great workers produce over time. Independent of whether you keep a specific job, as a worker you must produce and that ability to make things happen will be invaluable to whomever you work for. You can be a proven producer too!

Professional Workers are Utilizing their God-Given Gifts in their Workplace– Timothy was not only a good worker but was a gifted one as well. In 2 timothy 2:6,7, Paul reminds Timothy to use the gifts that God gave him. He encourages him to not be afraid to exerts himself in these areas of strength in a spirit of power, love and self discipline. It has been said that if you do what you love you will never work a day of your life. It is my opinion that you must be working in your areas of giftedness if you are to maintain enthusiasm for your work over time. Even, if your current job is not your perfect fit, you must be utilizing your strengths at some level or you will burn out. If you don’t think you are maximizing your gifts, talk with your boss and see if you can be assigned some tasks that are in your gift mix. If you can’t get any realignment maybe it time to consider another profession. But, be careful there is a difference between ego or interest and gifting.

Now Timothy may or may not of been interested in the bottom lines of our companies. But, he was interested in the bottom line of his. That’s what makes him an example for all of us. For many of us work is a necessary evil that pays the bill. But living large (or living the abundant life) in the work part of our lives is vital to our well being as men. Keep plugging! Your faithfulness is noticed. Maybe not by your employer like you want him/her to, but God does see everything you do to move your company forward.

Image by stromberg

One comment on “Living Large as a Professional at Work

  1. Good information. Working really does go far beyond getting a paycheck.


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