The young man had recently been hired as a junior analyst and was working under Jennifer’s supervision. He had a good and kind heart but after a year was struggling to meet the company’s expectations. Jennifer consulted with her superior, the company’s chief operating officer, and a decision was made to put him in a performance improvement program.
Jennifer scheduled a meeting with him. It did not go well. When she informed him of their decision, he became angry and accusatory. Jennifer could feel her own anger growing. The meeting did not come to any clear resolution and when it ended Jennifer felt drained and sad.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as a light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5-6
That night she had a regular meeting with other sisters from her local Christians in Commerce chapter. One of them asked Jennifer if she had prayed before going into the meeting with the employee. She admitted she hadn’t. Rather than trusting the meeting to the Lord and his strength and wisdom, she had relied on her own insights and abilities.
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
The following week she was unsure about how to approach the young man. Learning from her previous omission, she asked God for his guidance. At their meeting, as the two began to talk, Jennifer felt a sense of peace. She noticed that he also appeared very relaxed.
They discussed a project he had been working on and reviewed his work. There was a clear difference. His previous shortcomings showed marked improvements. He had completed several analyses in a shorter period of time and all were error-free.
His future with the company remains unclear, but there is optimism because Jennifer and he are talking. It’s also clear they’re both listening and she wants to help him do well. Ultimately, Jennifer knows with the Lord’s guidance, she has no reason to be anxious or worried. He cares for the young man, just as he does for Jennifer.
“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.” Jeremiah 9-23-24
HUMILITY AT WORK
Humility of the heart is considered the greatest Christian virtue. Is there a place for it in our work culture? Could the lack of humility be at the root of the problems we encounter, whether it be in us, or others?
What is Christian humility? It is recognizing our true position in God’s creation and our dependence on the power, providence, and mercy of God. Humility keeps our eyes on two things. We see our own lack and do not attribute good to ourselves; while, at the same time, we recognize our own need to serve the Lord and attribute all good to him. Humility is not a sickly virtue, timid and weak, it is courageous and generous because it is the very character of God who humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death. Humility is first about humbling ourselves towards God. It is also about humbling ourselves to others for the love of God.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourself.” Philippians 2:3
Humility can be challenging in a competitive workplace focused on personal contributions. It’s easy to trivialize the humanity of others. The dignity of the worker can be lost in the role they play, and the impact their abilities or lack of them are having on the company’s efforts or us personally.
HUMILITY TOWARDS ALL ROLES
Our coworkers have different roles as our superiors, our peers, and our subordinates. It is easier to show humility to those over us or whose qualities we aspire to. It is more challenging when we don’t respect those who are in roles of authority over us.
What about our peers? Do we wish to be above them, or over them? Do we compare ourselves to them in order to foster greater self-esteem, while creating only envy or pride? Are we content with our position?
How about those who work for us, or have less expertise or experience than we do, like the young man who worked for Jennifer. It’s important we remember that although they may be inferior in their abilities or experience they are equal to us before our Father. We both have the same Lord and with him there is no partiality.
God bestows many graces on the humble because he knows they will make good use them. They will also use them in a manner that pleases him, giving all the glory to him without reserving any for themselves.
The reward for good humble work is more work, as the good stewards discovered when they were told, “Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.”