Motives Matter in the Workplace
- Friday, June 20, 2008
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the director of a local women’s networking group. Very poised and polite, this woman gently let me know straightaway that her group’s philosophy is to give first and then receive, a concept that seems natural to many women but not always in line with the stark reality of workplace cultures.
Her words caused me to pause and check my motives.
Did I trust God to do what He said He would do on my behalf—to prosper me and bring fruit from this meeting? Did I even really care about this woman sitting across the table from me? Or did I just want to get what I needed and get going? After all, I had deadlines.
“Motives are weighed by the Lord,” according to Proverbs 16:2.
What lurks in our hearts can either position us for promotion or prevent us from receiving God’s finest (Ja. 4:3). The choice is ours. And God will use the most creative ways (and people) to reveal the truth of our hearts (I Cor. 4:5).
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” But are our plans godly?
Many years ago, my mother said to me, “When you learn to put God first in every area of your life, you will become very, very successful.” Mom was right. In my young adulthood, I had bought into the world’s system of achieving success.
Likewise, in I Chronicles 28:9 we see King David advising his son Solomon, “acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”
Every now and then, we need to ask ourselves a few bottom line questions: Are we operating with selfish ambition? Is fear our God? How about worry? Do we trust God enough to bring forth exactly what He promised in His time and in His way? Deep down, who are we really trying to please, and what are we trying to gain?
Purity of heart in relationships is truly cyclical. And relationships require time and effort. We reap what we sow. If we make it all about us, in the end we’ll end up with exactly what we chose—us.
What's more, investing in the success of others is paramount to our own success, according to author and business advisor Dondi Scumaci. In her new book, Designed for Success: The 10 Commandments for Women in the Workplace, Dondi says, “An amazing transformation occurs when we lead others to the next level of performance or assist them in achieving their goals. They grow, we grow, and we create an amazing legacy.
”I’m convinced God is still into blessing relationships despite our fast-paced, just-get-it-done agendas. And although one of my most prevalent prayers is “Lord, I surrender my agenda to you. Have your way in my day,” sometimes, I have to pause and consider the potential impact of that invitation.
Do I sincerely welcome God’s interruption in my plan to accomplish His purpose? Is my heart really all about Him every moment of each day? Whose time clock am I really on? Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
As I silently confessed the strain of wanting to get on with my day, I began to relax in this divine opportunity to brunch with the important leader who sat across the table from me. We found ourselves exploring God’s purposes over warm muffins and coffee. And we realized we had much in common. In the end, I made a new friend.
And about the business part of it . . . We arrived at a couple of mutually beneficial agreements that turned out better than I had hoped, ones that involved a balance of giving and receiving.
Success really does begin with a wholehearted relationship based on pure motives and fueled by the love of God. God knew just how to enable us to receive His full measure of blessing. And I am forever awed at His love for us, even at the breakfast table.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the founder of God’s Love At Work, a workplace outreach dedicated to cultivating the heart of Jesus Christ in women so they may, in turn, share God’s love in the marketplace. Check out her 2008 God’s Love at Work Conference & Expo at www.GodsLoveAtWork.com/2008WomensExpo.
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