The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
We know that stealing is a sin. If you went into a store and took $100 of merchandise, you’d be arrested for shoplifting. Steal $300 and it’s a felony, you could go to prison for that.
Sadly, in today’s world of electronic media, many people are guilty of stealing thousands of dollars from their employers, and they may not even consider it stealing because they aren’t stealing merchandise. They are stealing time. If you spend six minutes of an hour on your phone, Facebooking or texting, or surfing the internet, that’s ten percent of your working time that is being stolen from your boss. If you made $10 an hour and worked 40 hours a week, and you stole 6 minutes of every hour on social media, that would be the equivalent of stealing $2,000 per year from your boss. If you make more than $10 per hour, the amount would be even higher.
To be faithful to one’s job means to stay present, focused, and engaged while at work. It means to put in the time that your boss has paid you to put in.
Are you faithful in conversations? Many people multitask in seemingly every conversation. They can talk and use their smartphone at the same time. If you are talking to me and instead of being engaged in conversation fully with you, I’m giving half of my attention to my phone or computer, or I am texting at the same time, I am not being faithful to you. I am not being attentive to our conversation.
If being faithful means being checked in, with God and with one another, being present while working or talking is part of being faithful. And it is a part of being faithful that we all struggle with in this age of electronic media. And as if our social media and phones are not enough, if you don’t have something in your hand, we now have fidget spinners and fidget cubes to keep us occupied. Who knows what is coming next? However, we keep getting less focused and less faithful to jobs, to one another, and to God.
Being unfaithful at work has other consequences. If we don’t finish our jobs because we are distracted, we might have to stay later to get the work done that wasn’t finished. Or we might have to take it home. Or we might go home with guilt over not finishing a task. This affects our ability to rest and to be faithful to our families, in the sense of being present with them.
Being unfaithful in conversations has other consequences. We misinterpret things that are said, miss them, or fail to follow instructions because we didn’t hear them. We might get a reputation for not being a good listener or not being trustworthy.
The cycle of all of this is broken by being faithful to the present, and staying focused on the task at hand, be it your job, or be it a conversation. Staying faithful to the present is becoming increasingly difficult. Yet faithfulness remains the key to trust, which remains the key to love. We can’t really be proficient in certain Fruit while deficient in others, as they are all related. So don’t fall down on faithfulness. It is a key to keeping all of the other Fruit blossoming.
Lord, thank You for the gift of this day and the opportunities and the challenges it will bring. Help me to be present in whatever I’m doing today. Help me stay faithful to my work and to stay faithful and engaged with those with whom I will speak today. Help me to put in a good and honest day of work in, so that when the day is over, I may take joy in rest and in time with family. Amen.
Be present today!
Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website!
Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
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