Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
I have a saying that I attribute simply to observing the obvious. Some are prone to counsel you in front of an arduous project, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” I add the qualifier, “but it was built!” When you observe someone quietly press and plod towards a goal, focused and not frantic or fussy, it’s an inspiration.
Paul was by trade a tent maker. This process in his time certainly did not utilize mechanical means to sew the tents, but was one stitch at a time.
While there may be some social aspects to an enterprise, for any progress to be made, one must keep one’s nose to the grindstone . No row ever gets plowed without hands on the tool with significant applied effort, in the hot sun.
Success is never achieved without effort. This is the right way to conduct your life, and it’s the way that you put food on the table. This work ethic is not reserved for a particular denomination or people group, but to the wise.
This wisdom is inspired by Ecclesiastes 4.
There are many things that rob our joy in our work life. There’s the power structure that might be oppressive, that requires more bricks with less straw. Sometimes you’re singled out as the cause of corporate misfortune. You may have to contend with the evil motives of others, not just unfairness. Perhaps your co-worker sees you as a rival and you must guard your flank as well as contend with those above. He or she may be quite the politician, and you’re not, or you don’t want to play that game. Then there are those who don’t pull their weight (the lazy) and you must work doubly hard to cover for them. Enduring all this when you think you’re not adequately compensated can be a bitter pill to swallow.
What’s the wisdom for dealing with all this? First, recognize these forces as the default position. Rarely does an organization empower its people rather than overpower them. Rarely can an organization root out all the bad apples. Rarely is there true teamwork and a lack of politics and rivalry in business. Rarely is there not the attitude of “what have you done for me lately?” Once you accept this, the rule is to be “shrewd as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.” (Matt. 10:16)
You want to be an agent of change. You want to turn the tables. It’s like mountain climbing. Get a foothold and then climb from cleft to cleft fostering the good attributes that an organization truly values and codified. Empower people. Foster teamwork. Commend effort and selflessness. Applaud victories. Learn from defeats and disappointments. And so forth. Read about corporate values here and you’ll get the idea.
Leaders instinctively know that nothing really gets done in an environment of oppression and backstabbing. They want buy-in to positive actions. Those who put aside pettiness and jealousy and greed and evil machinations and strive for the greater good will rise like cream to the top. They’re exercising leadership from day one. You really can’t deny an authentic leader. If these inclinations are thwarted, he or she will switch ladders.
Truth is, Christians should be the world’s best employees and managers. They answer to a higher power and possess a higher power to gain traction in an every man (or woman) for himself world
I observed mountain climbers recently in Canada. There was what is called a belayer at the bottom with a safety rope. When the climber slipped, he yelled out and the man at the bottom used his own weight to break his fall. We will need a mentor/friend to help us up the corporate ladder, and more importantly, to help us if and when we fall.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Eccl. 4:9-10