Archive for September, 2016

Working Remotely


Productivity in Pajamas

For 10 of the past 11 years I’ve worked remotely for several employers, something commonly called telecommuting. In one instance, I worked for over five years for a global corporation with more than 120 thousand employees, while only setting foot in a company building twice. I’ve enjoyed great success as a telecommuter.  

Telecommuting requires a specific set of skills and equipment.  Telecommuters require a home office with multiple effective means of communicating, usually a computer, phone and fax machine at a minimum.

It also requires self-discipline—the ability to concentrate and stay on task. There are many distractions to working from home, so an undisciplined person can easily veer down the wrong pathway. It’s very easy to waste time when distracted.

Employees who telecommute are expected to be honest.  They must log their work hours accurately, even though they lack the direct oversight of a supervisor.

Successful telecommuting requires considerable knowledge of the employer and a degree of loyalty and belief in the employer’s business practices, policies and procedures.   If you don’t understand your employer and believe in what they do you can’t be totally effective.  This is why we have conscientious objectors opposed to serving in the military, for example.  

Finally, being a telecommuter requires professional competence. A telecommuter’s quality of work reflects upon the entire company. 

Flourishing Christianity

It struck me recently that being a successful telecommuter is, in many ways, like being an effective servant of Christ. Communication with God is an important part of being a Christian. We see numerous instances of Jesus praying throughout the Gospels.  Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer. We’re even told that the Holy Spirit prays for us when we lack the words.  Prayer is about communing with God and feeding the Spirit of God that resides within us. We should strive to make prayer an integral part of our daily lives.

Being an effective disciple of Christ requires self-discipline.  The popular Christian writer Mitch Kruse has pointed out that disciple and discipline share the same root, discipulus, the Latin word for pupil. Kruse writes:

“The concept is that we surrender ourselves to something or someone, similar to an athlete surrendering his will to a coach…. Solomon said that we should love discipline (Prov. 12:1).”

Just as an employee must surrender to his/her employer’s desires, disciples of Christ must surrender their self-will in order to do His will. Prayer, faith and surrender of self are all hard work, but they come with great rewards. It is easy to lose focus and stray off the path. Scottish theologian Oswald Chambers said:

“Never discard a conviction. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to have brought it to your mind, it is that thing He is detecting. You were looking for a great thing to give up. God is telling you of some tiny thing; but at the back of it there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: “I will not give up my right to myself” — the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” (ODB 9/24)

Similar to how a telecommuter needs to be honest with his/her employer, Christians must be honest with the Creator.  Isaiah 55 tells us God is slow to anger and quick to forgive those who repent of their sins and earnestly seek His forgiveness.  1st John 1:9 says if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of unrighteousness. Repentance is an ongoing process that’s essential for Christians.

Just as a telecommuter must learn and know about his employer, so must Christians learn about and know the Savior. We learn through reading and studying the scriptures.  We know through prayer and the instruction of the Holy Spirit. This is why every Christian needs to set aside a time of quiet devotion each day. Proverbs 2:1-5 says”

 “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (ESV)

Finally, Christians need to be professionally competent like a good telecommuter. A Christian’s competence is on display every day.  It is shown not so much by what they say, but how they live.

 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

 Christians truly are remote workers for Christ!