For today’s blog post I’d like to tell you about a woman who used to work for our wealth management firm and how her work ethic and attitude in her job was truly a testament to her love and reverence for God. Today’s blog post is about our dear friend, Ruth.
All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their owners as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.
1 Timothy 6: 1-2
Ruth’s tireless and submissive service to our company for over 23 years brought glory to the living God. Seeing her car when I rolled into the parking lot in the morning brought me a sense of well-being. “Ruth’s here. We’re all good for today. We’ll be able to handle whatever comes up.” Many times through the years my thought would be “What would I do if Ruth wasn’t here to help us?” I knew the day would eventually come, but I didn’t want to think about it.
As her employer, I’m sure she had ample reason to be frustrated with me at times. But what showed through in her behavior was respect and faithful service. I can distinctly remember the regular comforting feeling I experienced at the beginning of the day, realizing that Ruth was available to help with whatever anyone in the office needed. No exaggeration. She was the go-to person. We all needed her. She was knowledgeable. She was dependable. She was diligent. She was faithful. And most importantly, her work was quietly honoring to God.
Upon arriving at the office in the morning, I would step into Ruth’s office, and she would already be hard at work. Her speech was always faith-filled, even during the trying life circumstances we all encounter. She was an energy giver, not an energy taker. It was normal for us to talk for a few minutes about what we both were learning from Scripture, or about some aspect of the Christian life. The result was an uplifting and encouraging beginning to a day that would surely be filled with surprises. Every now and then there were trying clients or administrative bottlenecks to deal with. Ruth always responded with predictable grace.
There is something wonderfully refreshing about working with someone that loves and honors God. Ruth served as our office manager for over two decades. She gave everyone honor through her respectful, diligent and faithful labor. Her work ethic and million-dollar attitude was a consistent positive testimony to the name of God and the message of salvation. She stuck with me as our office manager over two decades despite my flaws and weaknesses. Doesn’t it honor God when someone consistently, day in day out, week in week out, year in year out, patiently drops what they’re doing to serve you?
At times, I feel smothered by the government regulations involved in running a small wealth management firm. I complain sometimes when I shouldn’t. Ruth always patiently listened, but I know she got tired of hearing me ramble on. And I’m sure it was not easy for Ruth to patiently listen to me grumble and murmur about ever-increasing government regulations that just seem like Chinese water torture.
You know what? After 40 years in business, I realize now that my murmuring and complaining about government rules really never helped me a bit. In fact, not only was my grumbling a sin before God (Phil 2:14-15), but after the complaining, I always felt worse. And furthermore, those listening weren’t edified. I have often asked myself why it takes me so long to learn simple lessons. I wonder if you’re like me. I wonder if you’re like Ruth, patiently enduring your employer’s blind spots and spiritual immaturity.
Ruth would sit and listen to me complain about time robbing compliance regulations and paperwork. Of course, the biblical thing for me to do was keep my mouth shut. In Ecclesiastes 3:7 Solomon says there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” I’m sure this wasn’t easy for her, but in her heart, she was not doing it to please me. With sincerity of heart, and out of a fear of God, she was patiently attending to me and doing her work heartily for the Lord. With sincerity in her heart, she was serving her savior, and her attitude was like the Jesus she loved.
Her devotion was not external service only while I was watching. She believed that God credits and rewards employees based on heart attitudes and actions during work. There was no lazy pilfering of company time. She had faith that there was a heavenly reward coming and that nothing good done for His glory would go unrewarded. (Col. 3:22-25)
Our clients got this same kind of patient and loving service from Ruth. She loved and served them to the glory of God. They would even give her gifts over the Christmas holiday. Wow, isn’t that the kind of employee every employer wants? But good things sometimes do come to an end.
Did you ever see a grown man cry? I wondered about this day for years. What would I do? Who could possibly replace her? How would it end? In the weeks preceding the conversation, I knew it was coming. There were real tears. Not Ruth’s tears, but mine.
I will always remember the time that Ruth and I sat at my office conference table, and she told me that it was time for her to retire. I remember the grief that came over me as we sat there talking. I jokingly said to her “You’re only 71, why would you want to retire?”
The thought that this Godly Christian lady would no longer be with us was an indescribably empty emotional feeling. Everyone else in the office felt the same way. The tears flowed from everyone’s eyes, including Ruth’s, on her last day.
I expressed to Ruth as best I could my profound gratitude for her years of service. But there really were no words that could adequately express the way I was feeling. Hopefully, the tears that were flowing communicated my gratefulness.
I’m quite sure there were many times that Ruth was respectfully submitting to me when I was unreasonable. We all have annoying tendencies, don’t we? She put up with mine. She knew, I’m sure, that for the sake of conscience toward God, she would find favor with God by patiently enduring my blind spots (1 Peter 2:19).
Ruth’s life as an employee was a wonderful example of 1 Timothy 6:1. Her diligent and faithful labor for me and others in the office stemmed from her love for Jesus Christ. Her heart was deeply committed to Christ, and her love for God flowed out of her life through her behavior.
The way believers act while under the authority of another affects how people view the gospel. Ruth’s behavior, stemming from her strong and mature commitment to Christ, gave no room for anyone to speak against the teaching of the message of the cross.
Questions for Reflection
How are you doing with your heart attitude toward your employer?
Are you displaying the proper attitude of submission and respect, performing quality work, and putting in a full day’s work? Does your behavior at work make the gospel more believable? Share your thoughts on Facebook in the comments or through email!
Thanks for reading!