Compartments are usually good things. Cars have “glove compartments,” although hardly anyone uses them for storing gloves anymore. Now they’re holders for things like operator’s manuals – also something hardly anyone uses. And maps, which few people use – are we seeing a trend here? They keep receipts, a pen or pencil for those rare occasions when we need to physically write something, maybe a flashlight or first aid kit for emergencies.
Parents of toddlers utilize compartments to separate toys, clothing, crayons, diapers, and other essentials for retrieval at a moment’s notice. Purses come with compartments for wallets, checkbooks, cell phones, tissues, makeup, and anything else a woman might need for going to work, the supermarket, or mall.
Toolboxes have compartments for sorting things like tools, nails, screws, bolts and nuts.
When engaged in a do-it-yourself project, you need to find what you need when you need it. (I don’t know much about this personally, but it’s what I’ve heard.)
Compartments are helpful in many ways. But not for living out one’s faith.
Unfortunately, that’s not how everyone sees it. A friend who works in a ministry to business and professional people bemoaned the fact that for many of them, when it comes to their faith and their work, the twain never meet. He wrote:
“I try to encourage and help my groups to integrate their faith in their businesses and within their spheres of influence in the marketplace. Unfortunately, they are very compartmentalized and are righteous on Sundays – and holy terrors the rest of the week.”
That’s a tough assessment – but experience and observation have shown me this is often the case. At one time, I was among those holding this attitude. I was growing in my faith, but clueless about how to relate what I heard on Sunday mornings to my work at the newspaper office on Monday (or any other time during the week).
I didn’t doubt the Bible was good for “the sweet by and by,” but was slow to realize it’s good for the nasty now and now as well. That’s one reason for my book, Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace. Once I started reading a chapter of Proverbs as a daily practice, it became clear biblical principles apply not just to one’s personal life, but also for our professional life. It addresses common workplace topics like integrity, communication, decision-making, teamwork, honesty, anger, humility and pride, managing finances, finding direction, and many others.
My life verse comes from that book of wisdom: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
However, workplace wisdom comes from other parts of the Bible as well. My “career verse,” which inspired the name for my new writing/editing enterprise, ReadyWriter Ink, comes from Psalm 45:1, which states in part, “…I recite my composition concerning the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Can you imagine being invited to co-labor with God in carrying out His work, the mission He has for His creation?
Many other passages are worth citing, but perhaps one verse sums up the imperative not to compartmentalize work from our faith. Colossians 3:23-24 exhorts, “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.”
We all have bosses. Even entrepreneurs owning their own companies are responsible to customers, clients and vendors. But I like to envision the boss’s office showcasing a nameplate that simply reads, “God.” He’s the one we should all be reporting to, ultimately.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at email@example.com.