The Meaning of Wholeheartedly at Work

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Ephesians 6:7-8a

When you manage people, your worst traits come out. Decades ago I heard someone say, “Whatever behaviors you don’t like in other people are usually traits you have yourself.” Even unknowingly to you, you’ll reveal some nasty habits that your subordinates will pick up on; Those things you think no one notices, but they do. 

That happened to me recently. Someone on the team flat out asked me about boundaries, “How are you doing since you are working overtime?” I knew I hadn’t kept to work hours recently, often sending emails late at night or early in the morning for “really important stuff.” (The other “less important stuff” were emails sent using “delay send.” Don’t tell!) At the same time, I tried to honor my staff’s time and not ask for more beyond their workday. I wondered why I kept getting responses late at night…and then realized the responses came because I sent emails late at night.

My colleague told me about how she admired another staff member who had a family, and prioritized that family above work. She saw that because he didn’t work after hours. Reachable for emergencies, but otherwise focused on his wife and kids. If leading well means setting the best example, I wasn’t doing my job. 

In Ephesians, Paul says to go full throttle in serving others. For some, it’s hard not to read that the offer is to work hard all the time with no time off. The key to serving wholeheartedly is heart, as in whole-heart-edly. If two extra hours means two hours of results, but two less hours with a servant heart, the time was not well spent. A friend of mine once mentioned that it’s not getting to the finish line (ie, inbox zero), but who you are as you go. When I read Ephesians 6:7-8, I’m reminded that it’s my heart of service that counts, not the counting of the hours. I can now say I’ve turned a corner by working with heart…and then going home to enjoy my time away from the office wholeheartedly.

Serving wholeheartedly means serving with the right heart. Doing what God has asked of you, and nothing more produces a journey of character even if you don’t race to the finish. In other words, overtime is not the answer. Serving and loving in truth is the will of God. 

Order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles. And, if you are avoiding the book title on your statement, order a signed copy through PayPal here.

© 2022, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

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