A few years ago, we hired a contractor to do some repairs for our home. His balding head was concealed by a cap that allowed his back hair to emerge, a remnant of a mullet that he had displayed in the 80’s as a roadie for several rock bands. Big, brash, and boisterous-he was supremely confident in his abilities. He dictated his preferences to me over how we should do the repairs rather than listening to my opinion. Once he began the job, which only took about ten days, he managed to antagonize the guard at the gate of our development twice and insult the aide to my son. The final straw was when he presented bids from subcontractors to do some additional work. When my neighbor, who was looking at similar repairs for his own house, directly contacted one of the subcontractors to see how much of an upcharge he was applying for his services as a contractor, we were shocked to discover a doubling of the price!
At the end of the job, I paid him and informed him I would seek my own subcontractors to complete the job. My same neighbor soon texted me. “Would you hire this person again?”
This is a favorite question of employers and human resource managers when checking on the references of prospective job applicants. Without directly commenting upon one’s abilities and work habits, it allows former employers a means to discreetly disclose the truth about how they feel about their former employee or independent contractor. In this case, I tersely replied, “No.”
When one enters into a work relationship, it is with the hope and understanding that the employee or contractor will fulfil their obligations to their employer and it must be performed with a good attitude and minimal drama. Experiences like the one with this former contractor have reminded me that when asked by another to perform a job or task, I do so knowing that I am not only working for the other person, I am working for God. If I fail to do my job well, it hinders my witness as a follower of Jesus Christ.
After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth, where he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them, and since they were of the same occupation, tentmakers by trade, he stayed with them and worked.
Acts 18:1-3 (CSB)
The Apostle Paul had another occupation. In addition to being one of the greatest missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the known world of the first century, he also supported himself and others by his occupation as a tentmaker. In this passage from the Book of Acts, Dr. Luke records the meeting of Paul and the couple Aquila and Priscilla, who were also tentmakers and fellow missionaries. The Bible does not record the granular details of his tentmaking work but undoubtedly he faced the same deadline pressures and expectations of any contracted worker to their employer. One wonders if Paul was also thinking about his duties as a tentmaker when he later wrote these words in his letter to the Colossians.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 (CSB)
If Paul was a poor tentmaker and did not fulfil his obligations to his employers, it probably would have hindered his witness to the greatness of His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul had the correct attitude to always work with the intention and goal of doing everything in the Name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God.
I need to do the same with everything I do in my occupation and relationships.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.