THE CHRISTIAN WORK ETHIC NEWSLETTER
School bells are already ringing and our children have returned to their studies and so our newsletter for this month is a special one for Christian educators!
As a teacher or school administrator, you have the choice of being a part-time Christian or one who is truly a laboring ambassador for Jesus Christ. God has given you that choice.
During the last presidential election, we heard alot about values. It is a subject which should be of special concern to Christian educators. For the TRUE Christian, your textbook for values will be the Holy Word of God which clearly spells out the Christian work ethic that should be ingrained into the life of every Christian educator.
An educator's values on the job can be defined in terms of his or her work ethic and whether or not you are truly displaying behavior defined by our role model Jesus Christ! This is important for you as well as young people who are being taught not only through subject material but by the teacher's personal work performance!
For young people, this can make a difference in their own work ethic because many parents consider w-o-r-k to be a four-letter dirty word. Because of their own attitudes toward this subject, mom and dad often send bad messages to their offspring by what they say about their own problems on the job. In addition, the child's parents may not set the right work examples in the presence of their offspring children. It is no wonder that we may be raising another generation of what the Bible refers to as "lazy sluggards".
Christian educators must beware of the devil who is ready to devour you! After all, he is just smart enough to recognize the awesome responsibility which has been given to be the best you can be for God, for your students, and for yourself in that order!
To appraise your own work ethic, I suggest you take what I call the "mirror test". At the beginning of a work day, stand in front of the bathroom mirror and ask the person on the other side of the mirror some critical questions.
Is my word my bond? In my book, A Worker Need Not Be Ashamed, I state that one of the most frequent lies uttered in the secular world: "Give me your number and I'll call you back". Over the years, I have studied the results of this statement and can report that less than half who made this promise ever called back!
The intention may be to call but in the eyes of your Creator, actions speak louder than good intentions! This statement often becomes a convenient way to avoid the other party but the devil uses it so you will bear false witness against your neighbor! And, everyone is your neighbor including those whom you should be serving!
Do I ever mislead others? For example, some educators are developing a bad habit of using statistics or other information to hide the real truth especially when under public scrutinity. In recent years, state educators in North Carolina have been praising improvement in student test scores. What they don't say is the content of tests have also been made much easier. In effect, this becomes a sin of omission! And, when discovered, the real truth immediately diminishes the credibility of the educators because they can no longer be trusted!
Do I ever cheat my employer? There are many many teachers who provide more than a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. Thank God for them! On the other hand, some are known to arrive for work late or leave early or commit other unethical acts which may not be known to the employer.
I am reminded of a vocational teacher who taught classes in the morning in a cooperative work program. During the afternoon, he was suppose to follow up on the progress of students who had been placed with local employers who trained them in specific occupations in which a college degree was not a requirement. However, this educator also had the desire to become a real estate broker. So, he decided to take some of his afternoon school work time to engage in real estate activities.
The Bible teaches that the employee is the servant and the boss is the master and we are to obey the master including those times when the master is not looking!
These and any other acts of cheating are known as stealing which is in direct oppostion to one of God's ten commandments! If you elect to work in this manner, why should you expect your students to behave better than you unless, of course, you decide to excuse yourself from the sin of hipocracy?
Do I hold myself and my students to high work standards? There is a cancer which has engulfed America called mediocrity. It often starts in the school and later spreads into the workplace as students graduate into the workforce. When a student is not held to a high standards in the education process, why should he or she strive to reach such a level when building my next automobile or treating my serious illness?
Do I discriminate against others? I still recall my tenth grade English teacher who played favorites. I was not too young to understand what was taking place and since I honestly had not done anything to cause her to discriminate against me, it hurt when she ignored me!
She never knew that her actions reinforced a message which had been given to me by a relative in my family: "You'll never amount to nothing!" That is an example of how discrimination can have a devestating effect on young people!
Discrimination is a sin because each one of us has been made in the image of God and God does not play favorites with His people! Yet we humans often separate from others based on race, looks, wealth, age, or other such factors which are of no value to our Creator!
What is the condition of my heart? Attitude is a photograph of the heart. A cold calous heart will produce an ugly picture of behavior which is seen by others including young people.
Pastor Charles Swindoll says, "I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it." No, attitude is not a result of my genes or the behavior of my parents or spouse! It is a choice!
To determine the right attitude, Christian educators need to look at the photograph of Jesus' heart. It is a beautiful one on which the following words are inscribed: "Do onto others as you would have them do unto you!"
Is the quality of my work acceptable to my ultimate boss God Almighty? While good works will not get us into Heaven, once we are there, our creator will conduct a final performance appraisal. We will not argue with His results and His conclusions about what we have done with what He has given us will be final and will ultimately determine our eternal reward! Our prayer should be the same as that given by the Apostle Paul when he said that his desire was for God to say, "Well done good and faithful servant!"
Thank God for Mrs. Martha Garbee, my eighth grade teacher, who taught me all of the English grammar I would ever need to know! At the time, I did not realize that I would use her instruction throughout my life during my work as a broadcaster, teacher, and Corporate Training Director! Yes, Mrs. Garbee is a light on a hill who is still shining on my life!
Living and working for Jesus should be the rule of the Christian educator's life - not the exception. In effect, you have the choice to enhance or damage the very reputation of Jesus Christ based on how you witness to others through your work.
When you set the right example for future workers, you are exercising the power to leave this world a little better than when you found it. Do we choose to pass along a spark of the Divine? Or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process.
When this life has ended, can you say what Jesus said to his Heavenly Father?
"I have brought you glory on earth
by completing the work you gave me to do."
My prayer for you is that with God's help, you can be a special kind of Christian educator - a worker who need not be ashamed!
Very truly yours,
Jim Hogsett, President/Founder; Worker Ministries and Writer for Guideposts Magazine