Nov 23, 2007

Set Apart in the Workplace

Most Christians know the Ten Commandments. Some of us could recite them in our sleep. But often, we forget the refrain.

Throughout the Ten Commandments in Leviticus 19:11-18, God repeats a key phrase: "I am the LORD."

Now, the Israelites weren't stupid. God didn't need to keep reminding them who was thundering on Mount Sinai—they probably remembered that fact on their own.

In our daily lives, it's easy to gloss over the Ten Commandments because God doesn't mention things like crashing computers, road rage, or abortions. We know being mad at our coworkers is bad, but we're not about to set up a gold idol on the oak dresser.

Still, we need the kind of attitude the Israelites had at the foot of that mountain, with the cloud thundering, the wind roaring, and the LORD's power and holiness emanating from the very ground.

He sums it up in verse one: "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."

We are a people set apart.

We are not like our non-Christian coworkers, whether they're nice or nasty. We're not like our non-Christian bosses, whether they're fair or petty.

We are not to be like them. We are to be holy.

We are set apart by a God so awesome and awful that the entire crowd of Israelites feared for their lives. We need that kind of healthy fear of our Lord as we go about our regular work.

"Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God."

Do you tithe? Do you volunteer at your church? Would you go out of your way to help a coworker or get coffee for an admin? You are set apart by the Lord.

"Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord."

Do you confess if you've done wrong or do you blame others? Do you omit or spin information so you look better in your report? Remember: You are set apart by the Lord.

"Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord."

Do you make fun of people you dislike? Do you dismiss a less able coworker as not being competent enough? Remember: You are set apart by the Lord.

"Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord."

Do you gossip? Do you tell on your coworker to get them in trouble? Remember: You are set apart by the Lord.

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

Do you dream of sticking it to that two-faced coworker who sabotages others? Do you long to trap your manager in a lie? You are set apart by the Lord your God (and remember the verse about God being the one to enact vengeance).

Revisit the Ten Commandments. Read them slowly, with a heart open to what God points out to you. Read them, remembering that you are set apart by a holy God.

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