One of the things that makes the corporate world different than many other work environments (and so spiritually challenging) is that there’s a great deal of focus placed on recognition. While there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for a job well done, often recognition becomes a driving force in our work lives. In my career, I’d admit that some of the moments when I’ve felt most satisfied are when I’ve been visibly recognized for my work, despite the fact that there are other more impactful achievements that went unnoticed.The Bible provides a great deal of insight into this issue, specifically the writings of Solomon, who authored the books Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. As the son of King David, Solomon achieved tremendous worldly success as well as a much personal loss.
He tells us in Proverbs 15:23 that praise is a good thing – “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” But in Ecclesiastes 4:4, as he’s reflecting on all of his own achievements, he shares this thought – “I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” So recognition is a tricky thing. It’s great to recieve it, but chasing it can be an empty endeavor.
Instead of recognition, the Bible encourages us to pursue something more important – a good reputation. Recognition is earned through perceived successes, and the more you raise the bar for yourself, the tougher receiving recognition becomes. Reputation is different. It’s built on character and it’s built over time. Proverbs 22:1 says, “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” While recognition is temporary, reputation endures. It’s built every day from the choices we make, our attitudes during challenging times, and most importantly, the manner in which we treat others. Let’s let our character as Christians speak more loudly than our yearning for accolades.
Filed under: Spiritual Priorities