Job Motivation

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

  • Colossians 3:22-25

“A Public Agenda Foundation study, coauthored by Daniel Vankelovich, came up with these top ten qualities that today’s workers want in a job: 1. Work with people who treat me with respect.  2. Interesting work.  3. Recognition for good work.  4. Chance to develop skills.  5. Work for people who listen if you have ideas about how to do things better.  6. A chance to think for myself.  7. Seeing the end results of my work.  8. Working for efficient managers.  9. A job that is not too easy.  10. Feeling well-informed about what is going on.
“Ponder that list.  Notice what isn’t included in the top ten: job security, benefits, vacation time, and high salary.  Yet most companies still operate as though they are the big three – the only ways to motivate and keep their employees.
“Ours is a new world.  We cannot exist as though it isn’t changing.
“Now, think about your church.  Do you think any of the above might apply?  Do any of them apply to you?  How is your church meeting the changes and challenges of today?”

  • Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch

My experience in industry is that my employer demanded the top ten from the list of me and in exchange ignored the benefits, job security and high salary.  I was often told, “If we gave you a raise, the customers would go somewhere else for the work.”  But I had bills to pay!!!!

No, I have often heard about “other studies,” and they may actually exist.  These studies say that your paycheck is a satisfier.  It is not a motivator.  But what if you are not satisfied with your pay?  What if the cost of everything goes up 5% and you get a pay raise of 2% and you were barely making ends meet?  The only way to survive is to go on a diet, a forced diet!!!  The strange thing is that unhealthy food is the cheapest, and it often leads to weight gain.

But, let’s forget the fact that the Apostle Paul is talking to “slaves.”  Let’s change that to “employees.”  Yes, we are not slaves in that we can leave any time we wish, but if you are in a niche job and in a niche market, there is often no other person in the country that does exactly what you do and you may never get another job.  In the last 20 years of employment, I only got job offers for a 10-20% cut in pay.

But the suggestions made by Paul in the Scripture talk of things we must do regardless of whether our boss is good to us or not.  They can do the opposite of all ten things on Rev. Swindoll’s list and we are still to be exemplary employees.

Why?  What is our motivation?

We are not really working for that evil boss.  We are working for God.  We bring glory to Him, especially when we are persecuted and oppressed, but we still do our job to the best of our ability.  And we do it with a smile.  (And I had a boss that would growl in my general direction every time I smiled at his ridiculous request and said, “Yes, Sir!!  I will have that done in record time!  Shall I deliver it with a bow on it?!?!”)

Yeah, that last bit was a twist of the dagger, but he only came to me because he thought no one else could pull it off.

I was sorting through my old stuff, tossing 90% of it in the trash.  My wife, who was not helping, said that I was too sentimental.  I had saved one old pay stub.  I said, “One of the things on my bucket list was to work for DuPont.  I did that.  It was a nightmare because my boss and I never got along – although he trusted me to get the work done, continuing to pile on more work.  But for eight years, I received a green paycheck.  I just wanted something that said that one bucket list item was done.”

But who was I really working for?  My paycheck was green, but I was motivated because of the Scripture above.  I worked hard.  I worked to the best of my ability.  And all because I worked for the Lord, not my human bosses.  And maybe that had something to do with why the boss did not like me.  My motivation was outside his control, and he could not figure out what made me tick.

Do your job to the best of your abilities.  Your reward is waiting.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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