Learn to SUCCEED in Your Work
by Rick Warren
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Our society has taught us to define success by a person's job title and financial status. But what does it take for God to have his blessing on your work? To him the motive, method and meaning of your work matters more than the money. That's because you only take your character to heaven, not your career.
This week I want to look at the seven keys to having God bless your work using the acrostic, SUCCEED.
If you want your work to be blessed by God, the first thing you must do is Start working enthusiastically.
Enthusiasm is not based on how fun your job is or how much it pays; it's based on why you do what you do. In fact, the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek words en theos which mean "in God."
If you want to be enthusiastic about your work, remember these three things:
You can't succeed in life until you change your attitude about the work you are doing right now. Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically." Why? Because God is watching, so serve him enthusiastically.
We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, because we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. Romans 5:3-4
What you become as a result of your work is far more important than any job you'll ever have. That's why, in order to succeed in your work, you need to Concentrate on building your character.
To SUCCEED, you must -
You are not taking your job to heaven. You are not taking some gold watch or achievement award to heaven. You are taking you, so you want to build character because God is more interested in what you become rather than what you do.
Look again at today's verse because some people have a misunderstanding about temptation. They think that, once they become a Christian, they should be beyond temptation.
It's important to realize you will never outgrow temptation. In fact, the closer you are to God, the more you become an enemy of Satan, and the more he will try to tempt you. The good news is that he has given you greater strength to resist it.
When you are tempted at work - to be unkind, to get angry, to be prideful or greedy - remember that every temptation is not only an opportunity to do good but, it's also an opportunity to grow in character.
For example, when you encounter an annoying co-worker, the temptation may be for you to get upset with that person. But the Bible says to bless those who curse you and pray for those who offend you. So instead of getting mad, use it as an opportunity to praise God.
Say, "Lord, I thank you for this person and I want to pray they have a good day. I pray they come to know you and that you will bless that person." Two things will happen when you do this.
Everything you do must be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
One of the most important keys to receiving God's favor on your work is this: you must care about the people you work with. Even when they are irritable, even when they don't like you, even when they make fun of you, even when they put you down for being a Christian, you must still be a friend to them.
Why is this so important for success? Because the number one lesson in life, the number one reason God put you on this earth, is to learn how to love. God is love and he wants you to be like him.
It's easy to love people you like, the people you find easy to get along with. So if God's going to teach you real love, realize that he's going to put you around unlovely people.
"Everything you do must be done with love" (1 Corinthians 16:14). "Everything you do" - that means in the office, in the car, on a sales trip, whatever. The good news is this really is not hard. It's easy to underestimate the power of a kind word, a friendly smile, a pat on the back, a genuine compliment, a word of encouragement, and a listening ear.
I have seen so many lives changed when somebody takes time to pay attention to them. There is not a person on this planet who isn't starving for attention. But a caring person is hard to find. The Apostle Paul said this, "I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare" (Philippians 2:20). Does that sound like your workplace? Everyone looking out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ? Those who really care are really aware.
People need affirmation, attention, and affection. Learn to care about the people you work with and show them God's love. "Be humble and gentle, be patient with each other, making allowances for each other's faults because of your love" (Ephesians 4:2).
"Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best." Colossians 3:22
If you want your work to be blessed by God, you need to exceed what is expected of you. No matter what you do, whether you're a truck driver, an attorney, a cook or a teacher, do more than the minimum. Don't just get by.
God wants you to go beyond the normal and surpass what is required of you. Our verse today tells us to exceed the expectations of your boss, exceed the expectations of your customers. That is the kind of work God blesses.
We live in a culture of mediocrity. How many times do we complain about shoddy workmanship or poor service or inferior quality? Americans used to take pride in their craft, but today it has become about just getting by. So many people just put in their time, do the minimum that's required of them and cut corners, getting by on as little effort as possible.
That's the bad news. The good news is that this makes it very easy to stand out at work. Any time you take pride in your work and decide to do more than expected, you'll rise to the top.
Now there are two kinds of pride. Galatians 6:4 says, "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else." Notice the difference? one kind of pride is self-centered or comparative pride where you try to put yourself above others. That kind of pride is sinful. But you can take pride when you compare yourself to yourself and show improvement.
Even more than personal pride, we should exceed in our work because we represent Jesus Christ to everyone around us. And Jesus said, "If someone demands that you go one mile, go with him two miles" (Matthew 5:41). Exceed what's expected of you and watch God bless it.
Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper. Proverbs 19:8
If you want to succeed in life, your education cannot end when you graduate. All leaders are learners, and you need to continue learning the rest of your life. Because the moment you stop growing, your contribution to your company stops growing also.
Here is the next letter in our SUCCEED acrostic: Expand Your Skills to SUCCEED at Work -
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success." It's important to work smarter, to sharpen your ax. You waste less time when you do this.
How do you sharpen your ax? By filling your head with learning - read a book, listen to a seminar, take a class, attend church. If you keep learning, then God can continue to expand your horizons.
"Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper" (Proverbs 19:8). The solution to most of life's problems is training. So learn all you can.
That's why I encourage my congregation to take notes during my sermons. Did you know that if you don't, then within 72 hours you'll forget 95 percent of what you hear? So you may look real spiritual, but you're not real bright.
I can say this because it's a lesson God taught me when I was younger. one day I was reading Matthew 7:6 which says, "Don't cast your pearls before swine" and the Lord said to me, "Rick, who do you think the pigs are?" I thought it had to be the Pharisees, but God said, "No, you're the swine. You don't care enough to write down the things I say to you." And it was true because for many years, I never took notes in church. Every Sunday the pastor was throwing out pearls of wisdom and they were just bouncing off my head, going in one ear and out the other.
Learn all you can and remember what you learn and watch how God blesses your work.
Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
All week we've looked at the keys to receiving God's blessing on our work. Here is the last letter in our SUCCEED acrostic: Dedicate your work to be used for God's purposes. Whatever you want God to bless, you give to him first. Dedicate it, consecrate it, hallow it, and then God will bless it.
As a pastor, I want you to succeed in life. Obviously I want you to succeed spiritually, but I also want you to succeed in your work. I want you to be a witness at your work. I want you to use your platform for the glory of God.
When you dedicate your business to Christ, he gets involved with decisions. He tells you what to do. He becomes the chairman of your board. He gets the glory.
"We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, 'Be reconciled to God!'" (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Just as I'm the minister of Saddleback Church, you're a minister of a church -- at your workplace. Your job is to be an ambassador of Jesus to the people around you. There used to be a commercial for Clairol that said, only her hair dresser knows for sure." Well, your faith is not meant to be a secret; God is not the only one who should know for sure. Other people need to know that you are a believer.
The blessings that God pours out in your life - in your career, in your business, in your finances, in your family, in your health - they all come because of Jesus Christ.
"Let us give thanks to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world" (Ephesians 1:3).