Do the Values of the Company I Work for Matter?

Does it matter what kind of company I work for and what kind of values it seems to have?

The Reformed tradition teaches that all work is valuable: the work of an engineer is as beautiful in God’s eyes as that of a waitress, and a doctor’s work is as valuable as that of a chaplain or a business manager. Through using our gifts and skills in different jobs, we honor God and are part of God’s work on earth in all areas of life.

Yet we still need to discern how well our jobs, as well as the companies for which we work, allow us to do work that glorifies God and helps us love our neighbors. This means we should be hesitant about working for companies that manipulate or exploit people or create things that may harm others.

Discerning a company’s potential harm can be difficult. A company’s vision can sound very Christian: “promoting justice and truth,” or “fostering meaning and well-being.” Yet the same company can treat minorities poorly, bully or silence people, or unfairly dismiss some people and their work. If companies do not care about justice and love for their employees, how can we expect them to promote justice elsewhere?

We are influenced by what is happening at a company even if we don’t feel as if we have much influence on the company itself. We can learn to ignore people being treated unjustly, come to believe that jobs are primarily about money or advancement, and even forget the place of work in our calling to serve God in our whole life. It takes wisdom and insight from others to determine what situations and places are lifegiving and honoring to God. As you wonder about which companies you should (continue to) work for, I challenge you to talk with others about your concerns and evaluate how these companies help you to participate in “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Phil. 4:8).

About the Author

Brenda Kronemeijer-Heyink is the CRC chaplain at the University of Toronto. She attends Willowdale CRC in Toronto, Ont.

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