In Genesis 24:1-27 we read the story of how Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. The servant traveled to Abraham’s childhood home to find a godly wife for Isaac. He took ten camels loaded with gifts and as he arrived he prayed that God would grant him favor and lead him to the woman that God chose. He prayed that God would give him a sign by allowing the woman to offer him a drink of water and also offer to water his camels. God answered that prayer by bringing Rebekah to him. She just happened to be a woman of faith and a distant relative from Abraham’s extended family. She watered his camels and invited him to her father’s house. After dining with her family, Abraham’s servant made the proposal for Isaac and Rebekah accepted. She married Isaac and became incredibly blessed. She was part of the ancestry of King David and, eventually, Jesus Christ.
This beautiful story shows us the grace and sovereignty of God. But the principle that applies to how you can be successful at work and in life is this: she went the extra mile. She did more than was expected. She went above and beyond. She did not complain or say that it was not her job to water the camels. Camels drink up to 50 gallons at a time! She probably had to draw up to 500 gallons of water with the jug she was carrying, which most likely held five gallons or less. She may have had to fill the jug as many as 100 times! The principle is career changing. When we do more than is expected, we position ourselves for a blessing. We must go above and beyond at work.
Many people want to do the bare minimum. Doing enough to get by is not enough to be successful. Successful people do more than others. They work hard. They show up early. They stay as long as necessary. They have a good attitude and serve those above them and below them on the organizational chart. They prepare and focus on the mission of the organization.
You can position yourself to advance at work, to receive promotions and commendations, to receive better pay, and to become an indispensible employee by following her example. In our culture there are many people who feel entitled. You can set yourself apart from the crowd by rejecting an entitlement mentality and committing to do more than expected. We find this principle throughout the teachings of Jesus. We get the phrase “go the extra mile” from what Jesus said. In his day a Roman soldier had the right to demand that you help carry his armament and equipment for up to a mile. Jesus said that we should go above and beyond what is demanded by offering to carry it for two miles. This principle deals with our attitude and shows us that, as Christ followers, we should live a life defined by willingness to serve rather than demanding to be served. It is a powerful and life-changing principle.
How can you live out this principle and go above and beyond at work? If you will adopt the attitude that Rebekah had and the attitude that Jesus taught us to have, then you will find that your opportunities for blessing, praise, and advancement will increase exponentially. Not only will it bring a greater blessing to your work, it will also help people see Jesus through your life.
I believe this principle is important no matter where you work. You may be in college and the job you currently have is not what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. Or maybe you were the victim of corporate downsizing and you have a job that you consider temporary until you can find a better one. Start where you are and do your best anyway. Being faithful in a smaller job will open doors for a greater job later. Don’t wait until you get your dream job to do this. Do it now! Living out this principle will empower your present situation and increase your future opportunities. Practice it now and be blessed later!