Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve worked really hard for something, set a goal for yourself or wanted to achieve a milestone, and missed the mark? Maybe it was an honor or a designation you were seeking, possibly even a promotion or a bonus. As a stay-at-home Mom, I often seek recognition for a job well done by my family, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I also don’t think I’m alone when I don’t get the recognition I feel I deserve and recoil by wanting to throw in the towel, feeling unappreciated (but then, I ask myself, “Who would wash the towel?”).
In the workplace, if we’ve been passed by for something we felt we deserved, we may seek out opportunities to make things right in our own eyes. I read an article about a woman who was working very hard to attain a bonus at work. She came in early and stayed late, convinced that her boss would notice her effort and award her the bonus associated with the project. However, when the project was finished and it was time to award the bonus, she was passed over and the bonus was given to someone else. Dejected, she left the company, taking a laptop computer that had been issued to her as “payback” for the bonus she didn’t get, justifying it to herself since the cost of the laptop was approximately that of the bonus she felt she should have been awarded.
How many stories do we hear like this on a daily basis? Some are even more extreme situations about disgruntled employees who return to the workplace and do more damage than stealing a computer. While we often feel justified by our entitlements, our emotions can get the best of us and we act upon these feelings in inappropriate ways.
We need to come back to God and allow him to heal our hurt egos and help us understand why things happened differently than we had hoped. When we put our focus back on God and return to our roots in Biblical stewardship, we know all our work on Earth, all our effort in this life, needs to be for his glory, not our own. We are storing up our treasures in Heaven now in order to spend eternity with him. Conversely, the things we do here on Earth can also damage those chances of spending eternity in Heaven. When we put things in perspective, while it may not ease the pain immediately, it might help soften the blow and allow us to move forward.
Incidentally, the woman I read about felt immensely guilty for what she had done and called her former boss to return the laptop. This is a clear example of what happens after the dust settles and we are able to step back from the emotions of the situation for a bit. We revert to what we know in our hearts to be the right thing and come to God in repentance. It might feel good initially to take matters into our own hands and deal with the situation on our own terms, but when it’s all said and done, we come back to God for healing and forgiveness. When we keep our eyes toward heaven, it helps us to handle some of the pain of our earthly lives with a little more grace.
“Whatever you do, work from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.” ~Colossians 3:23-25