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Working from home is an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate Christ-like integrity.
Telecommuting for work is nothing new. But for many, this past year has led to temporary or even permanent work-from-home situations. And while remote work presents many benefits to both workers and employers, it also comes with its own unique challenges. And there’s one challenge every Christian worker needs to face head-on: Integrity.
I’m talking about doing what’s right when nobody is watching.
Easier to Fake
Of course, this concern over remote worker integrity is shared by employers as well. Your boss is wondering, “If I can’t see them, how do I know if they are really working?” And as frustrating as that attitude might be to workers, if we’re being honest, it’s a fair thing for them to ask.
Because if we’re being really honest, at times we’ve all taken advantage of the remote work arrangement in a way that felt less than honest. The problem, however, isn’t that remote work makes us lazy workers. It just makes it easier to get away with.
In real life, you can’t fake an “online” status in team chat so you can disappear to the golf course for the day. But anyone who has ever watched Seinfeld knows in real life there are ways of pretending to work hard even when you’re not.
Jerry: “I thought that new promotion was supposed to be a lot more work.” George: “Yeah, when the season starts. Right now, I sit around pretending that I’m busy.” Jerry: “How do you pull that off?” George: “I always look annoyed. Yeah, when you look annoyed all the time, people think that you’re busy. Think about it,” Elaine: “Yeah, you do! He looks very busy!” (Source)
A virtual workplace just simplifies vocational subterfuge.
But God has called us to faithfulness in our employment. “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” (1 Peter 2:18). If we are going to be the light of Christ in our workplace, our work must be marked by integrity.
But how can we be sure we’re actually working hard when no one is watching?
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Working from the Heart
If work-from-home integrity is something you find yourself struggling with, think of it this way: Remote work may have providentially presented you with a helpful heart-check.
Perhaps it has revealed that even when you were in the office, you weren’t actually working in a way that was pleasing to God. Maybe remote work has simply exposed your bad motives that were already there.
What I mean is if you only work hard when people are watching, it evidences a heart that is not seeking primarily to work for God.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.Colossians 3:23–24
A Better Reason for Integrity
There are plenty of secular business teachers who will emphasize the importance of integrity. But for them, the purpose of having integrity is so you don’t accidentally get caught. But for us, integrity in the workplace is about recognizing that God is always watching, eager to reward faithfulness. It’s about doing our work in a manner that is pleasing to the only One whose opinion ultimately matters.
It’s only this view of integrity that will allow you to truly work from the heart, even when no one is around. It’s also this eternal perspective on integrity that allows us not to get frustrated when we see those who lack it getting ahead.
Remember, God does not see as the world sees.
You may be able to fake results for a while, you may even fool your employer, but God is never deceived for even a moment. Those who work from the heart don’t take shortcuts because they know God has an unblinking birdseye view of the racetrack.
When it comes to remote work integrity, get the heart right, and then the how will follow.
Read part 2, How to Bless Your Employer While Working Remotely.
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