Have you ever worked in an environment where people were always unhappy, complaining that things were just not going the way they thought they should? This kind of environment can be caustic and difficult to work in and, if you are not careful, you may be drawn into it as a participant. In the early years of my career in teaching, I noticed that there were certain people who always complained no matter the circumstance. Most of the complaints were about the people in authority. We all experience stressful days and times when our work is difficult. I remember when I was carpooling with two friends to work; almost every day work was discussed on the ride home. It was helpful to talk it through but sometimes we did what we called scream therapy. We rolled down all the windows and screamed out of our windows all at once. It was amazing how much it made us laugh and refocused our thinking to fun times.
In my Bible study, I learned a passage that completely changed my attitude toward problems at work and infused joy and enthusiasm. I realized that I had a choice. I could be miserable along with the complainers or I could be happy and productive. As Paul explained to the Colossians,
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:17, 23-24).
I was working for the Lord, and Paul explained in Ephesians 6:7 that I was thus to “serve wholeheartedly, as if [I] were serving the Lord, not people.” Working for the Lord with all my heart wholeheartedly, meant that other people and their bad attitudes did not affect me; I did not feel helpless or irritable. I did my best work for the Lord and loved it. I gave God the glory openly and attempted to infuse the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ into my work setting. There were times I was able to have after-work Bible studies with coworkers, hold prayer in my office and take email prayer requests at work. It was such a joy to show God’s love instead of the stink of discontent. This mindset guided by the Holy Spirit has affected me in everything that I do—whether caring for my family, doing church work, or even doing yard work.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
Dear Holy Father, bring to my mind daily that I am your child. Let me be a sweet aroma to those around me, the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ. I want to show your love in a way that is attractive to others who are seeking to know more about you. Forgive me when I forget all you have done for me. I pray that you would enable me to live a life worthy of your calling, and that by your power bring to fruition my every desire for goodness and my every deed prompted by faith, that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified. (2Thessalonians 1:11)
In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen