Friday, July 24, 2009

Stressed on the Job? Don't Give Up!

Most of us don’t have to watch the news to know that many people who have jobs are stressed. With businesses closing and numbers of layoffs, the climate in many workplaces seems to be unstable at best. Employers appear to not only be scrutinizing their budgets, but also their employees, making sure they cut down expenses wherever they can. As a result, so many people are fearful of losing their jobs.

While most of us know that “God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7), it can be difficult when we are tested on our jobs. When our livelihood is at stake, we can panic and become stressed and fearful, missing out on what valuable lessons and growth that the Lord has for us—even during a season of instability on our jobs.

We know there are many scriptures about fear and worry, but does the Bible speak specifically to people who are experiencing stress on their jobs? I’ve discovered that there are so many in the Bible who overcame the stress and fear on their jobs with victory. However, when we take a snapshot into the lives of Nehemiah and David, we see two men of God who can really teach all of how to handle difficulty of our jobs. (This week I’ll discuss Nehemiah and next week, David.)

Nehemiah is one of my favorite people in the Bible because he saw a problem, prayed and took action. He was a relatively common man with great influence and integrity. When he finds out that Jerusalem’s walls and gates, which represented power, protection and beauty, are broken and burned down, Nehemiah is devastated. After his initial tears, he fasts and prays for God’s direction, confessing and repenting for Israel’s sins. His prayer helped to clarify the problem and what Nehemiah was to do to help to resolve it. When we pray, God will also put those difficult decisions into perspective.

Nehemiah then took on the task of organizing and managing the walls being rebuilt, one that seemed impossible. Along the way, he was met with great opposition, threats, and ridicule from those trying to discourage him and his people from the task that God had given him to do. Nevertheless, Nehemiah employed a strategy, one that each of us can model, to frustrate the enemy through prayer, preparation, and hard work.

Nehemiah 4:10-14 is a powerful reminder that accomplishing any task can be tiring. We all get tired, but we have to stay focused on what God’s purpose is for us—even in work situations. Col. 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Nehemiah was an excellent supervisor, reminding the workers of their calling, goal, and God’s purpose in what they were doing.

Before the completion of the wall, a priest even came to give Nehemiah a false warning from God, telling him to hide in the Temple. He tested the message and found that it was a trick from the enemy and refused to be fearful. He courageously kept the project going until it was complete by being a tremendous example of faithfulness to God, the mission, and the people.

One final note: Nehemiah wasn’t a religious leader. He was a layman who God used in a significant way to carry out His will. While you may not feel appreciated or valued on your job, remember that it’s about doing your best job for God. He’s the ultimate overseer and rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Strive to be like Nehemiah, a common man with uncommon integrity, faithfulness, and dedication to God and to get the job done!

How about you? Stressed on the job? Drop me a line. . .

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