Luke 19:8 (KJV): “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”
COMMENTARY: Here in New England, the past ten years have been brutal to our forests. Between freaky ice storms, excessively heavy snowfalls, droughts, gypsy moths, rare tornadoes, tropical storms and various blights, sections of previously serene forests and streams now look like battle zones. For example, I recently hiked on a trail that led down a steep ravine with a bubbling brook and moss-covered rocky waterfalls. However, the enormous natural beauty of the scene was completely overshadowed by fallen trees and branches everywhere. “Someone,” I thought to myself, “should clean this up and restore the area to its original beauty.”
That got me thinking about wreckage we cause at work, that we never bother to clean up. Instead, we move on, leaving the debris and damage control for others to cope and struggle with.
For example, think of the financial wreckage that people and organizations cause when they don’t pay their bills. You could flippantly say, “Oh, it’s no big deal; they can write it off.” Wrong! You have a moral obligation to pay your bills, period. That’s called integrity. Whether someone can write off an unpaid debt isn’t the core issue; besides, many businesses can’t write off losses. The monies you were supposed to pay them have a direct and immediate impact on their sustainability, cash flow, profitability, ability to meet their payroll and honor their commitments to suppliers, banks, landlords, tax authorities, owners and investors.
Wreckage at work comes in more forms than just money. It comes in the form of bullying, foul speech, bad attitudes, laziness, lying and deception. It comes from a lack of attention to detail and quality. It comes from broken or tarnished relationships with owners, managers, employees, customers, suppliers. It comes in the form of a tarnished public reputation. It comes in the form of workplace violence, theft and destruction of company property. The list goes on and on.
APPLICATION: When I hear someone say, “Sorry, that’s business,” I cringe. That phrase is indicative of the internal guilt that someone feels for doing (and justifying) something they know is intrinsically wrong. If you have caused workplace wreckage, be sensitive to the convicting inner voice of the Holy Spirit. Be eager to apologize, seek forgiveness, repair, restore and make restitution for the damage that you have caused.
If you really love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself, you cannot carelessly leave a mess for others to deal with. Be a mature Christ-follower and take personal responsibility for the wreckage that you have caused. Maybe you can’t make complete amends, but you should sincerely try. Even if the wreckage happened years ago. If you obey Him, you will glorify Him through your change of heart–like Zacchaeus did in today’s Scripture passage.
For Further Exploration
For further exploration about 2 Corinthians 7:1-3 (KJV), read The Encouragement of Praise (2 Corinthians 7) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.