When Jacob was confronted by Laban about stealing the gods in Genesis 31, he decided to let out all of his frustrations. He wanted Laban to understand just how faithful of an employee he had been while working for him. He also pointed out that Laban was unreasonable as an employer.
We, too, will face challenges at work. Some may be short-lived, while others will linger much longer. We have to be careful not to give in to the pressure. One poorly-timed outburst could cost us more than we can afford to pay. In our current economy, are we really in a position to walk away from a job? How easy would it be to find another one?
Let's look at two challenges that Jacob points out that may also arise in our own workplace.
Faithful Employees May Have to Bear the Loss
In Jacob's time tending Laban's flock, he took pride in his results. As he mentions in the verse, he never brought the bad, damaged animals back to Laban. He bore the loss himself, and only gave Laban the best.
We should also approach our work in the same manner. We should give our bosses or clients our best, even if we have to take a loss behind the scenes.
For instance, we may have to take a financial "loss" when our company is unable or unwilling to reimburse for a work-related expense. We may have to reframe the situation in our minds. Rather than arguing about it, we can consider the possibility that this short-term expense could have a long-term, positive impact on our career and our productivity.
Bosses May Demand More
Laban expected Jacob to pay for things that were stolen. We, too, may have an employer that is very demanding and uncompromising. Should we really be held accountable for things that have been stolen?
There can be valid arguments for both sides. However, if we are in a management position, our job description includes maximizing profit and minimizing losses. When a company incurs a loss, it is not just the employer that is impacted. The entire firm will suffer the consequences. Lower profits mean that less is available for payroll. We should ask ourselves, Is there something that we can do to minimize company losses?
Be the Best
God expects the best from us in all circumstances. Paul shared this concept with the Colossians when he wrote, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
We must take this instruction with us into our workplaces as a reminder of how we are to approach each obstacle. While our bosses may not always have our best interests at heart, that is not our concern. Let God handle that. Paul continued in his letter to the Colossians, "Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong." (Colossians 3:25 NIV)
We will never know what ultimate good God has in store for our faithfulness and obedience. There may be someone that we come in contact with that needs to know Jesus. Christianity is not something that we should turn on and off. As His lights in this dark world, we should always be ready to represent.