What does it really mean to bring our best to work? None of us want to be mediocre. Even on days when you’re not feeling your best, I’d venture to guess you still bring all you can to your work. But, even on the days when you’re feeling good, are you truly bringing your best to work? Is there room to raise the bar … even a bit?
As I reflect on the past year and envision what I want 2018 to look like, I want to bring more of my best to work. That means I have to become aware of the distractions that can throw me off my game so I can shift my focus to delivering my best work. Insecurity, tension with coworkers, pressure to meet deadlines, long hours, and stress are just a few of the culprits that I’ve allowed to hinder my performance at times. I say “allowed” because none of us are victims to these influences. We serve a big God. Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We are able to overcome worldly influences because we have Jesus living inside of us.
Joseph provides us with an inspiring example of what it looks like to bring your best to work no matter what. At the age of 17, knowing that God had an amazing plan for his life, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers – the people who should have protected him and cared about him the most. But Joseph didn’t become a victim in his mind or heart. In fact, Genesis 39:2-4 tells us, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.”
Even after Joseph was wrongly accused of assaulting Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, Joseph didn’t let that throw him off his game. He continued to bring his very best to the situation. Genesis 39:20-22 tells us, “… But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.”
And when the day came, ten chapters later, when the dream God had given Joseph as a child came to fruition and he was reunited with his brothers, Joseph didn’t take revenge on them for what they did to him. He told them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20)
Joseph didn’t give up on the vision God planted in his heart. He remained faithful and saved many people, including his family, from famine.
What can we learn from Joseph to help ward off the victim mindset and avoid being distracted from God’s plan for us? Here are strategies we can lean on to help empower us to bring our very best to work as we head into 2018.
- Put God first every day. Joseph always stayed close to God and sought His will. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
- Lean on God for wisdom. Joseph knew that God was with him. Thanks to Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to guide us and give us wisdom. “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.” – John 14:15-17
- Submit to God. Guard against doing what you feel like doing. Do what you know in your heart God wants you to do. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
- Have faith that God can bring good out of your faithfulness in all circumstances. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
- Remember, God will not stop working in and through you. “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
Make 2018 the year you focus on Jesus, seek his wisdom in all you do, and make him Lord of your life and your work. If we all do that, imagine how many people we can serve. Imagine what a year it will be!