Last week, we looked at Stevens and Ung’s take in pride in the workplace. This week we skip ahead to Chapter 10 where the authors consider joy as the antonym of pride and the life-giving resource for workplace spirituality.
Joy in the workplace – really? This sounds totally at odds with many of the popular sayings about work (e.g. ‘I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.’) and also our own experience particularly if we in a dreary, repetitious, soul-destroying environment. Where is the joy in that?
‘The hallmark of joy in the workplace is living responsively to the Spirit no matter what we’re doing in the workplace – sitting through a sales pitch, dealing with an irate customer, stepping into a difficult board meeting, or dealing with a colleague who dislikes us,” writes Stevens and Ung. Joy, they explain, is the alter ego of pride. Whereas pride comes from the energy we expend in being No. 1, joy stems from the energy we express in worshipping God” – ‘Pride strips us of joy; joy strips away pride.”
How can we cultivate greater joy (not happiness) in our workplace? Primarily by knowing why and for whom you work suggest the authors.
My wife, Jenny, recently had an ongoing fight with a major global computer company about fixing her new ultrabook. While waiting on the phone to a technician in ‘Mumbai’ for the computer to update a large file, she decided to break the silence and ask him how his day had been, knowing that he must spend all his time dealing with disgruntled customers. His response stopped her in her tracks – “It is a joy to come to work each day because I can earn to feed my family and loved ones.” It gave her a new perspective on her broken computer!
Ultimately though, there is joy in knowing we work for God. Matthew 25:40 reminds us that whatever we do, we do it for God. Colossians 3:17 tells us that, ‘… whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’
To think about:
- In what way do you experience joy working with your colleagues, staff and customers?
- How will you all yourself to be intentionally exhilarated by joy, even when your daily work may be boring or very challenging?
Next time: Continuous Prayer: Experiencing continuous communion with God (Chapter 19)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010). Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans