Serving Christ in Our Work (Part 2)

Bob RoanePrison Ministry, Service, Wise living

From my “Leadership” class at Belhaven University (Houston), prison work, and counseling. It fits well with our six weeks of prison classes on “A Man and His Work” and Adult Sunday School class on “Christ and the Proverbs.”

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. (Heb 6:10)

Benson’s Rules

In the last post, we began learning from Archbishop E. W. Benson (1829-1896). His “Rules for Serving” have helped me and others honor Jesus in the workplace, family, and ministry. I have adapted “Benson’s Rules” and added Scripture references and prayers. If you missed the last post, you can go back and read Serving Christ in Our Work (Part 1)

Archbishop Benson was an educated and influential man, friends with England’s Prime Minister and advisor to Queen Victoria. Benson occupied the highest position in his church and enjoyed outward success, but he cultivated Christ-like humility. He did not act superior to others, but tried to be superior to his sinful self, by God’s grace. Benson didn’t think less of himself, but he thought of himself less. He occupied important positions, but was not self-important. He didn’t take himself too seriously. I love these qualities in Benson and want to be the same in my small corner of service, so I welcome his Rules as suggested spiritual disciplines. By God the Spirit’s enabling, these suggestions can help us better follow Christ, our King of mercy and grace, in concrete, day-to-day ways.

Rule #5: Do not call attention to your crowded work schedules or bothersome inconveniences. Being negative, talking about how busy you are, focusing on me, me, me is boring to others, instead of blessing them.

Scripture: “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.”1

Prayer: Father, help us not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Give us your grace and strength to do all that you assign us. Bless us and make us a blessing to others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rule #6: Before confronting or reprimanding someone, ask God for real love for the person at fault. Know the facts; be generous in your judgement; give people the benefit of doubt. Otherwise your well-intentioned criticism may be ineffective, meaningless, or provocative.

Scripture: “If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. Watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”2

Prayer: Father, help us love others deeply from the heart. Help us be as patient and forbearing with them as you are with us. Remind us of your gentleness toward us and help us be that way with others.

Rule #7: Be a peacemaker by being silent about others. Do not believe everything you hear about others without discernment. Do not spread gossip or tarnish other people’s reputations.

Scripture: “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD….Whoever spreads slander is a fool. When words are many, sin is not absent, but whoever holds their tongue is wise….A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”3

Prayer: Father, help us keep a tight rein on our tongues so that our religion is not worthless. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rule #8: Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard from others in an unhealthy way. Value honor from the Lord more than human approval. Christians are to live by faith in Jesus, to God’s glory, and having one audience—the Audience of One (Os Guinness).

Scripture: “Be sure to fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.”4

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we enter our workplace today, remind us that it is really your workplace and that you have put us here. Help us demonstrate your presence, grace, mercy, and peace, your perfect order in this office. Help us think, speak, decide, and do only what pleases you, one day at a time. Help us to be motivated by your words: 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!5

Rule #9: Avoid feeling badly when your advice is not consulted, or when after being asked your counsel is ignored. Our worthy, value, and dignity is secure in our identity as Christ’s little brothers and sisters. Others may disregard us, but the Lord never does. We are loved with God’s everlasting love–that’s what the Bible says–And underneath us are Christ’s everlasting arms.6

Scripture: “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult….A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense….Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment.”7

Prayer: Lord, help us to have nothing to prove, yet eager to share with others what you have taught us and made us. Thank you for the gifts you have blessed us with. Help us use them responsibly in your honor. Give us fresh supplies of your strength and wisdom to do our jobs. Anoint our projects, ideas, and energy so that even our smallest accomplishments bring you glory, regardless of how people do or don’t value our service. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!

To be continued. You can read Serving Christ in Our Work (Part 3)

Notes (various Bible translations used):  1 Col 3:23-24.     2 Gal 6:1-2 .    3 Lev 19:16; Prov 10:18-19; 11:13.     4 1 Sam 12:24, see also Matt 6:1-4; John 12:43; Gal 1:10.     5 Matt 25:23.     6 Jer 31:3; Deut 33:27.     7 Prov 12:16; 19:11; Rom 12:3.     “Benson’s Rules” adapted from J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, Chapter 16. 1980 and 2007 editions were used.