A Christian in the workplace, whether working a beginner’s part-time or summer job or in a career should reflect the glories of Christ in His life. When your employer and co-workers know you are a Christian (and they should!), they will also judge you by how you work.
The judgments they make are a reflection on other Christians and Christ. Some people have a low view of Christianity, or a particular church, because they have seen Christians cheating their employers in many ways. However, some Christians have been able to advance their professional careers because the principles taught by Jesus have led them to make decisions that demonstrated responsibility, accountability, and trust.
Beware lest you harm your example by cheating your employer in these ways:
- Stealing Time Most people record the hours they work and are paid a certain amount per hour. While you are being paid, you should be a diligent worker. You were not hired to spend time texting, talking to your friends on the phone or at the workplace, or playing games. While you are at work you should be focused on the work you were hired to do. If you finish your work, ask your employer if there are other things you can do. If there is no work you can spend time cleaning and organizing the workplace. This demonstrates your willingness to work and a desire to learn new things which makes you more valuable as an employee. If your employer sees you often playing games or talking with others, he may decide that he does not need you and save himself the cost of keeping you employed. I worked for a man who said that when he came upon a group of employees talking when they should be working, he felt like they were “picking his pocket.”
- Embezzling The most obvious way to do this is to take money for yourself if you have access to money. If the company gives you a credit card to make purchases on its behalf, they are trusting that you will not use the credit card to purchase personal items.
- Unauthorized Loan Someone might take money from the company or purchase personal items on a company credit card saying “but I’m going to pay it back.” As a business manager, I can promise that this is not acceptable to your employer and they will consider it stealing. . In fact some fraud begins this way where the person is taking a small amount of money and promises to pay it back. They then take more money and eventually owe the company a lot of money with no way to pay it back. If you need money before you are paid, some companies will give you some of your pay ahead of time (called an advance). But this is money given with the approval of the employer and they take the payment out of your paycheck.
- Pilfering You can also steal money by taking office products or company property for your own. Although taking these small things, called “pilfering,” may not seem great, the scriptures explicitly forbid it. (Titus 2:9-10 address the master-slave relationship but the principle is valid)
- Lying About Expenses Some employees are repaid for personal money they spend for business (called “reimbursement”). It is common to turn in receipts to show how much was spent for what. Sometimes a company will reimburse the employee for some expenses without the receipt if the employee claims it was lost or not given. If this is the case we must be diligent to report exactly what was spent. Sometimes people “pad their expenses” by turning in receipts for personal items that are not supposed to be paid for or will report more than what was spent for expenses without a receipt. This is a basic trust issue. Is your soul so valuable that you’d sell it for an extra $5 or $10? Yet some will lie and cheat for such small amounts.