We are back! This second Friday in August I have my lovely friend, and perhaps my oldest fried- Chimamaka Ellen Duru write about being a Vessel of Honour. I have known since when I was 10years old and it’s been a pleasure all through, she is a woman after God’s heart. Her story reminded me of why we were called Christians in the first place, they were seen as Christ-like even in the workplace. The full story will make this post quite lengthy, It is lengthy and I had initially planned to break it into two but there’s no need to break such beautiful story- the essence of it may be lost. I pray this message blesses you as it did me.
So, I’ll like to begin by saying a huge thank you to Tayo (whom I’ve known since before we were 10 years old – major throwback to our days as children’s church ushers)! Amazing how we’ve been serving the Lord since we were little – we bless Jesus for Godly beginnings! #wink
For a large part of my life, I was never big on talking about my faith – rather I would say that people should be able to see God in me – through my works. Since I decided on my terms, God decided to take me through school; dealing with me on my character and how to make Him famous in the workplace.
Now, I wear my many hues as my stripes. LOL! As a fresh graduate, I had the opportunity to work with a reputable telecoms company during my National Youth Service Corps in the North. I started work and soon after everyone would tease me about my faith – saying I carried Jesus on my head – because I wouldn’t go clubbing with them; wouldn’t drink alcohol which was a norm every Friday at the office; dressed conservatively though elegant and classy.. #wink; wouldn’t flirt unduly with potential customers to close deals and had standards/principles on relationships different from others including those who also identified as Christians. I was weird and I lived in the consciousness of it at work. I was different and bold for Jesus – so much so that people will come ask me questions on my view on issues just for laughs and to have peace; I would have lunch alone. Yes – it was that bad!
And so; the temptations began!
My direct line manager was a lady who seemed alright at first but as we got into the swing of things; I soon realized that working with her was going to be “worse than a roller coaster on a freak show”. My boss would have me do all her tasks then take the glory for it; blame me for her mistakes; set me up for “awkward moments” with senior management and then laugh about it, and then just send me on the weirdest errands! She was really mean to me, but somehow I never lost it – even colleagues couldn’t understand how I took it all in stride; everyone was waiting for a day I would fall out with her as had everyone in the office including support staff. In fact, I would have been over- justified to fall out with her! LOL!
I remember one peculiar event where she had a miscarriage while at work and no one responded to drive her to the hospital; not even pool car drivers and I had to go and lobby one of the drivers as my pally and almost kneel down for him to take her to the hospital. Even while at the hospital no one really checked on her – I stayed through the D&C; used my funds to buy the things she required and helped clean her up afterwards; so much so that my housemate had to come over to help me and then finally left the hospital at almost midnight in a town where 6:30 pm was my own personally imposed curfew for safety reasons. Even afterwards, she tossed me a “thanks for the other day” line, withheld my last pay at the end of service year and even tried severally to make me look incompetent; but God’s grace for excellence in my life shone through.
In another scenario, God gave me strength and wisdom to exclude myself from a particular transaction with a corporate client. I didn’t know the details but I knew something about it didn’t sit well with me – thank you Holy Spirit! In summary, the transaction was fraudulent which ended up getting my boss & some colleagues investigated by the EFCC and taken into custody about two years after. As if that wasn’t enough; the client turned out to be an estranged senior friend of my parents so I would have just tainted my family name for nothing!
Through it all, God taught me the following which has reverberated in so many occasions within my career journey:
i. The workplace is the true test of your faith and your work should be as unto the Lord because it is service and worship to Him. Colossians 3:23-25 (MSG)
ii. In working as unto the Lord, EXCELLENCE should be your default setting – do it so well that even the Lord would say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. That way, even if your managers or colleagues try to discredit you; you have both spiritual and physical grounds to stand before your High Priest & Advocate to ask Him to step in.
iii. LOVE – I know you think, “Love, at work?” Yes, ma’am!! Jesus says to show his love to all men (& women) – our Heavenly Father isn’t sexist! LOL! So, show love to everyone everywhere you go irrespective of their attitude, designation/level, tribe/race, gender/ sexual orientation, background, etc. Ask Him how, and He’ll teach you – in my case, it was patience and continuous respect for the designated authority over me at the time. 1 Peter 2:13-17 (MSG)
iv. Never work with reward in mind. Your salary is a contractual agreement between you and your employer, so please note that’s not what I’m referring to – I mean don’t do things for “eye-service”; let it be wholehearted service – as all we do are seeds we’ll harvest immediately or later in our lives. Ephesians 6:6 (AMP)
v. Pray about everything including that naughty boss; the leading of the Lord and involve Him in the most “logical” decisions including when to resign or stay even in the midst of “unfair” treatment.
Prayer enforces God’s will here on earth, enables you to draw strength for your journey and keeps you in alignment with God’s will for your life so you don’t miss your season by being emotionally led!
In looking back over the years; I can make my boast in the Lord that irrespective of the length of time I’ve worked anywhere – I have left a legacy of Jesus’ love, won hearts for Jesus and can reach out to peers and senior colleagues cordially years after; all to HIS glory!
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (AMP)