Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is Your Work Worship?

I think I may have written about this in the past but it was really on my mind yesterday as I stained my deck. First, if you are not a Christian, this may not apply to you. I would love for you to read it and even comment, just understand I am approaching this topic from a scriptural standpoint.

The question is, "Is your work worship?" Do you view your JOB as a form of worship and/or ministry? Most of you will immediately default to some kind of answer revolving around missionaries in the work place and being salt and light for your coworkers, clients, etc. That's fine and is certainly a part of my question but the bigger question is do you view your actual job, whether it is cooking hamburgers at McDonalds or it is digging ditches or it is helping people buy a house or writing for the newspaper, do you view that as worship and ministry? I think we should view the job itself, the labor we do to earn a paycheck, as ministry, as the opportunity to share God.

  • Colossians 3:23-24 says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
  • Ephesians 6:5-7 says "Slaves, obey your earthly master with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly  as if you were serving the Lord, not people..."
  • Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, "...That each of them may eat or drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God"

When someone hires us to work, we are essentially trading them our time and expertise for their money. They expect to get a certain value for that money. They expect us to sell something for them, help people accomplish some task, accommodate some need, etc. It is our obligation, as Christians to be thankful for that opportunity to serve. I frequently hear brothers and sisters get this just a little bit wrong. They will thank God in prayer for their job and their ability to provide for their family but then turn around and complain incessantly about how horrible their boss is or how rude their customers are or how awful the conditions are, etc.

If we view our work as worship, this complaining no longer has a place. We are, instead, grateful for the opportunity and respectful of the people that provide that opportunity. We work harder than we ever have because we are working to please Christ, not the people here on Earth. We are joyful in our toils. When bumps in the road happen (and they still will of course), we are thankful for the learning experience or the character building moment. We also recognize that Satan is real and plays a part in our day to day lives and can throw those bumps in to try to derail our faith. Finally, we realize that if we work this way, our dealings with coworkers, clients, etc. produce numerous opportunities for evangelism and counseling. People see we are different and want to know how we find joy amidst struggle. It completely changes everything.

Now, I know this concept is tough. I have a tough time with it. I have delivered pizzas, worked in gas stations, worked at the cafeteria on MTSU campus, worked in the heat doing construction, worked in a warehouse. I have done all this before and if someone told me to be "joyful" about it, I would think they had lost their mind. That work is difficult, sometimes gross and definitely not somewhere it is easy to wake up every morning and praise God for the job. I get that. Just think though how your perspective will change if you make an effort to view work as ministry. I'm not good at it myself yet but I am working on it. When a deal falls through, I have a hard time being joyful. When a prospect looks at houses with me and then buys through another Realtor, I don't always think nice things. But I should.

My challenge to you is to first recognize that the work you have to do is a blessing from God. It is an opportunity to praise and an opportunity serve. You have a chance to provide value to the employer and to show Christ to them in an act of service. That will always speak louder than spouting off scriptures or wearing a WWJD bracelet. Further, God wants us to work hard. He expects us to toil. We are his ambassadors in a broken world. If someone were representing you, wouldn't you want them to be the hardest workers?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


We all make mistakes. Very few are inclined to admit it. Even fewer are inclined to admit it when we make a mistake in our professional capacities that will inconvenience our clients. Instead we make excuses, blame technology, blame other people, create adversaries where there really are none or, in some cases, just flat out lie. Why do we do this?

Why is it so hard for us to tell our clients, "sorry about the inconvenience but I messed this up and have to redo it." We are all human, right? We know that everyone makes mistakes. I am no immune here. I sometimes hesitate when I know I've made a mistake and will cause an inconvenience to my clients in order to repair the mistake. A few weeks ago I had just bought a new iPad. I shot some video on it at a clients house (my listing). I made a mistake in the information I said during the video. It was a big enough mistake that it would be very noticeable. I tried everything from dubbing over my voice to cutting out the little section of voice to putting in a caption with a correction on it. At the end of the day I finally, after wasting several hours, just called and told them I was not happy with the clip and I wanted to re-shoot it. They said, "no problem" and I went out the next day and re-shot it.

I started thinking about this. Perhaps my admission and subsequent willingness to fix it instead of cover it up is a good thing. It communicates to my clients that when I mess up (not "if I mess up"), I will do what it takes to make it right. Thats actually an admirable trait, right? I would rather have a professional that fixes stuff than one that sweeps it under the rug.

What do you think? Does it lower your opinion of a professional when they don't admit their mistakes? Does it raise your opinion of them when they do admit it and then tell you how they will fix it? Do you believe that "true professionals" shouldn't make mistakes within their profession?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Asking for Referrals

So I am doing this job coaching thing. I have a guy that I speak with every other week coaching me to be better, basically, at life. We are talking about being better at making family time, better at being involved in stuff, better at my job, better at prospecting, etc. This past weeks conversation centered on referrals. As you know, I am a Realtor. A key component of my job is building relationships. Combine relationships with a job well done, you get happy clients. Happy clients should lead to referral business.

Unfortunately its not that simple. I do a good job for my clients, they are happy and they never send me referrals. Its not because they don't think I did a good job. Usually, its because they don't think about referring business my way. They are talking to a friend and the friend says, "We are having another baby! I think our house is getting too small!" My former client doesn't connect the dots and say, "you should call Jonathan." It's not anyone's fault and I am not mad about it. I am aware of it. So how do I get people to not only be happy with the service I provide but to also send their friends my way? Good service isn't enough. Happy clients aren't enough. My coach thinks I should ask for the referral. I should call all my former clients and ask for it. I should ask for it at closing. ("did I do a great job", "Yes", "Awesome, who else do you know that might be buying or selling soon.") I don't do that. I told him I feel weird doing it, almost too much like a salesman. If I don't ask for it though, I might not get it. Not that they would necessarily send someone somewhere else, they just might not send their friend anywhere--including to me.

What are your thoughts? How should I ask for the referral? How do I get more referrals without being "that guy."