I have a friend in sales who’s pretty stressed out about work these days. He told me, “Management cut all the sales-staff commission rates and that has me on edge. I negotiated a contract about two years ago that runs through this year, but I keep stressing and worrying about what they are going to do with my pay next year because of all the cuts they made to pay this year.” This is a real-life problem; does the Bible say anything about this issue? What should I say to my friend?
I told him to trust in the Lord and to remind himself regularly that God loves him and is looking out for him, even at work. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Everyone seeks after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I shared with him that God is in charge. Remember when you were unemployed for two years and He provided for you and your family? Remember how He gave you this job nine years ago? I pointed out to him that I had been unemployed for 18 months, but God provided and gave me a new job. The preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes, that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens, that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence, the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.”
Finally, I quoted what Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I don’t mean to be trite and sing the Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t worry, be happy,” but when you walk with Christ there is a sense of peace and joy in the Lord and learning to be content in all situations. If your pay gets cut or you get a raise, if you get laid off or get a promotion, if you slip on the soap in the shower and can’t get to work, you can bless His name. The farmer Habakkuk fell on hard times yet prayed, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” You should be more like Habakkuk.
Be a good steward over what God has given you. Make smart choices and have a plan. Maybe save a little extra, dust off your resume, or be prepared to take a part-time job. I don’t know what will happen, but I know God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. His mercy is more than you can imagine. Work hard, do the best job you can, and take things day-by-day. Take every thought captive and choose not to live in fear, stress, or worry. Get with brothers and sisters in Christ who can help walk with you through these trials. Finally, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for today is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).” And we’ll see what tomorrow brings.