By Ashish Raichur, Pastor
All Peoples Church & World Outreach
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WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE
Printed and Distributed by All Peoples Church & World Outreach, Bangalore, INDIA
First Edition Printed September 2007
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
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When I first intended to speak on the subject of “Women in the Workplace,” my wife Amy asked me, “What makes you think you are qualified to talk on this subject?” I replied, “My approach is simple! I am going to study the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, find out what the Bible says on the subject and present it to the audience.” So what I share here is obviously not from my own experience but purely from my study of the Word. Taking a biblical approach to the subject, let us learn to apply it in our lives!
Is it right for women to be in the workplace? People have differing opinions on this. Some say ‘Yes’ while others say, “No! Women should stay at home and not step outside.” People may even quote Scripture to substantiate their opinions. But let us get a biblical perspective on this.
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Why was woman created? God created woman for two simple reasons—to be a companion and an aid to man. She was to be his “help meet.” In Hebrew this means, “opposite part or counterpart.” So the woman was not created to be man’s subordinate part but to be his counterpart—a coequal part. Man and woman were thus created coequal. Therefore the relationship between man and woman was intended to be reciprocal in nature. They were to be “aid and companion” to each other. But at the time of the Fall, all this changed.
[* To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” *]
God initially designed man and woman to be counterparts, but from the day of the Fall the woman became subordinate to man, her desire and longing had become toward her husband, and he ruled over her. Thus as a result of the Fall, today we have fallen world where man dominates. This is the fallen state and not God’s intended state. But the good news is that in redemption, Christ restored the woman back as coequal to man. There is neither male nor female in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you areal one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Both man and woman are now coheirs (Gr. = “participants together”) of the grace of life.
1 Peter 3:7
Man must understand now that the woman is the coequal part in the things of God. However in the unredeemed fallen world, we still see predominantly that man dominates. The world has not been redeemed completely and hence this structure continues.
In our study of God’s Word, we find that God has used women indifferent capacities throughout history, outside their homes. A quick list of examples:
[* Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances *]
Jael was a homemaker who gave Israel a mighty victory by nailing a man on the head.
And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the districtof Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.
Esther was a queen who brought deliverance to God’s people.
In the New Testament, we read about women who ministered to Jesus.
Who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
[* Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. *]
Lydia, a businesswoman at Philippi was a trader in purple cloth. God used her to open her house to bring about the church at Philippi. “So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed” (Acts 16:40).
[* After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. *]
Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers—a business couple who were Paul’s ministry partners. At least in three other places, Paul refers to them as his coworkers (Romans 16:3, 1 Corinthians16:19, 2 Timothy 4:19).
[* I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. Greet Mary, who labored much for us. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. *]
Phoebe, a deaconess was in charge of some business of the church. Junia, a woman apostle was a coworker with Paul. There were other women too who partnered with Paul, who he referred to as “women who labored with me in the gospel” (Philippians 4:3).
This is an overview of how God involved women in His work by using them outside the context of the traditional home setting.
The Bible is very clear that a woman’s primary calling is to be a wife to her husband, a mother to her children and a keeper of the house.
1 Timothy 5:14
“Guide the house” “oikodespoteo” (Gr.) = to be the head of (i.e., rule) a family, guide the house.
“Keepers at home” ‘oikouros’ (Gr.) from ‘oikos’ (a dwelling, a family, a house) and ‘uros’ (a guard).
Therefore ‘oikouros’ (Gr.) = a stayer at home, i.e., domestically inclined (a “good housekeeper”), keeper at home.
The woman has to manage her household affairs and be leader at home. How does she strike the right balance here? Is it right then for a woman to be involved outside, in a workplace? The answer is ‘Yes.’
For example, God said, “I am the Lord your Healer,” but He did not tell us not to take medicines or not to go to the doctor. But some have misinterpreted that. We need to look to God for healing but it is not wrong to take medicines or visit the doctor when we are ill. In the same way, God did say a woman’s primary calling was to be a wife to her husband, a mother to her children and a keeper of the house. But He did not say a woman is not to be involved in business. So do not misinterpret Scripture.
[* Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. *]
There will be women who will have gifts of leadership, administration, teaching, prophesying and great financial ability. These gifts have not been given on the basis of gender. One of the obvious places where these gifts may have to operate will be in situations outside the home, at a workplace.
In Proverbs 31, the description of the woman is not only about her skills at home but she is shown to be involved inactivity outside her home, some of which are clearly indicative of her involvement in business. This is because she has been gifted and graced by God to do it.
[* She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.*]
This is with regard to the absentee father or the missing husband. In such cases, if the woman has children to look after, she has the liberty to take the lead, go out and earn, guide and manage the house. We cannot quote to her Paul’s instruction of, “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully (1 Timothy 5:14) and expect her to stay at home and be fed by the ravens!
If the husband is at home and not working or if what he is earning is not sufficient for the home, then the woman will need to go out and work to contribute financially and also manage the home.
Balancing family, work and their own spirituality is a bigger challenge for working women than it is for men. Men return home from work and expect to be served. But the working woman not only goes out and works, but also returns home and works again to serve her husband and children.
Women must remember that God values them as individuals, independent of gender. According to Genesis 3:16, one of the curses of the Fall is that the woman’s desire will be toward her husband. As a result of that, every woman looks to her husband as the source of her identity. She even carries his last name, by default. Her whole world, including her self-worth seems to come from him.
Women, you need to take your eyes off your husband and focus your eyes on God, for He values you as a person. Your desire needs to be toward God. Look to Him for your worth and identity.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
There is no gender bias in God’s Kingdom. Women and men are coequal as redeemed beings and also in receiving blessings, anointing, gifting, callings and ministry offices given by God.
1 Corinthians 11:3,11,12
[* But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. *]
In the same sense that a man willingly brings himself under the headship of Christ, or just as Christ, though being coequal with the Father, willingly brought Himself into obedience to the Father’s will when on earth, so also a woman can willingly bring herself under the headship of man. This does not in any way diminish who she is nor does it make her inferior to man. Man and woman are interdependent in the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:11). And both man and woman derive their life, identity and everything else from the Lord!
Women, your first love is not your husband! Your primary focus is to build an intimate relationship with God.
[* Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. *]
In this passage, Martha is symbolic of a typical housewife, doing all the cooking and focusing on serving Jesus. But Jesus tells her to relax and sit near His feet and do what Mary is doing. Women, your priority is to be a ‘Mary’ before you become a ‘Martha.’ Of course it does not mean that you can be a Mary and make your husband a Martha to do the work at home while you sit at Jesus’ feet! That would be failing in your responsibility. You have to be both.
For many working women this can be a big challenge. At the office, women get paid at the end of every month for their work and receive some rewards, recognition or promotion, which gives them a sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, at home, women do not get any of these. But if women fail in this primary calling, success in workplace will amount to nothing.
Note: Obviously, if you are not married, this does not apply to you as yet. Or if you are well advanced in years, this is something you may have already fulfilled.
Women, before you embrace your calling in the workplace, you must remember that every woman has a place in the Body of Christ. Women tend to neglect or forget that and rush off to work. There are many missing mothers in the Body of Christ today. Women who are supposed to be godly role models to younger women are missing in the house of God because they are busy working outside. Everywoman has a God-appointed ministry in the Body of Christ. Discover and fulfill your function in the Body of Christ!
Women who are called to the workplace can make a significant contribution to the Kingdom of God by accepting, embracing and fulfilling their calling to the workplace.
If you are called to work then do not feel guilty, for God has gifted you and graced you, which means He wants you at your workplace. So use that opportunity. If called to be a homemaker, do not feel inferior because you do not have a title as ‘Manager’ or ‘CEO,’ but only that of wife and mother. If you embrace your first love—God, and embrace your primary calling, your reward will be great. For that is all He is asking of you. Just remember, each one of you has to fulfill God’s individual call and His will for your life.
This section applies to both men and women. All of us experience stress, since we have responsibilities both at home and at the workplace. Looking at my life, where I have to manage home, business and church, two things that have helped me in relieving stress and coping with pressure are:
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Without denying that “problem situations” exist—instead of dwelling on them—we must dwell on the Lord who is bigger than them. He is the King who is above the storms, and so instead of dwelling on the waves and storms, when we choose to look up to the King who is above them, He will keep us in perfect peace. Sometimes I lose my cool and get tensed too, but I do not stay too long in that state. I pull myself back and keep my mind focused on the Lord who is above the storms.
Meditating in God’s Word is a great stress-reliever. If a certain area is causing you great stress and pressure, meditate in the Word of God over that situation and as you do that, it fills you with faith instead of fear. Fear produces stress. Faith produces confidence, helps you relax and be at peace.
When you run a 100 m race, even if you are a bornagain, spirit-filled, tongue-talking, devil-chasing Christian, you cannot expect to run the race holding hands with other competitors in the race! You need to give your best, right from the start to the finish line. Healthy competition brings out the best. In the same way, it is all right to be competitive in the workplace. But do it the right way and look to God for your reward.
[* Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not tome, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.*]
Many organizations have an unwritten law that they only promote men. Many women may experience this bias. Also, women may not be paid as well as men of the same position. If you are in such a situation, do not fight. Just look up to the Lord and remember that promotion comes from Him and that God is able to prosper the work of your hands. He knows how to make someone move out of your way so that you can be promoted.
[* For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. *]
Do you find yourself in situations where unless you do sexual favors for your boss, you stand no chance of being promoted? When there is a pressure to yield in those areas, stand your ground and say ‘No!’ Do not yield or compromise. Stay pure. Stay clean. Those who are married, stay faithful to your husband, no matter what.
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Some women are involved in occupations like events management, entertainment, fashion designing and the like. You do not have to run away from such occupations just because there is sin around. Whether you like it or not, evil exists in almost all industries and corporations! Jesus asked us to be in the world, not run away from it. Apply this principle to your occupation.
[* I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. *]
If your occupation forces you to compromise on your faith, conduct, character, virtue and integrity, then you may have to remove yourself from that position and move to another position within that industry. Stand up for Jesus and your convictions. Make difference. Become an agent of change in your organization.
God needs you where people are, because He needs your voice to speak to them, your hands to touch them and your life to demonstrate love to them. So stick around and make a difference even if the environment is morally challenging. However, ensure that you are spiritually strong to influence such an environment without becoming influenced by it.
There are some dangers or pitfalls when both husband and wife are engaged in the workplace:
Independence and self-reliance instead of mutual dependence
When spouses have their individual bank accounts, cars, credit cards and so on, they become more independent instead of building togetherness.
Competition between the spouses
Qualified spouses who work in the same industry may begin to compare and start competing with each other, in terms of salaries and positions held.
Becoming married to the workplace
Some spouses say, “I do” at the altar and go to the workplace the next day and say, “I do too.” They spend all their time at work and become married to their workplaces!
More money but less time
Do you want more money or more time to do important things together? At this point, spouses must make a choice. There are some things that money can never buy. Money cannot buy us a wonderful spouse or good children. A good marriage is built by spending time together. Good children are taught, raised and trained.
In a dual-income family, it is quite possible that the woman ends up working both inside and outside the home, eventually leading to overwork and burnout. It is important that when both the husband and wife are engaged in the workplace, the husband also should carry a significant load of household responsibilities so that his wife is not overworked.
Understand true value
If you gain the whole world and lose your home, family and children, you have missed true value. Some of the most admired industrialists of our day are people with divorces, second and third marriages. They may have transformed industries, built great corporations and be world renowned, but they have broken families. One then tends to wonder why they could not manage just one ‘organization’ called marriage which had just one wife! It is sad that they could not manage their own homes. We need to choose what is more valuable—a wonderful marriage and godly children, instead of being admired by the world.
Make a conscious effort to balance time
Although the challenges and pressures are great, we need to make a conscious and sustained effort to distribute our time and energy appropriately—time with God, time at home, time in the house of God and time at work. Amy reminds me of this constantly and I try to always keep this in check.
Develop the power of two
[* Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. *]
When there is the power of two, there is double strength and we are able to accomplish twice as much. If spouses can come together in all areas, together they can accomplish much more and push harder, further and higher than if each one tried to go at it alone. Husbands too must learn to fulfill their roles at home, especially when the wives are also employed outside.
In our own lives, although Amy is trained as a medical doctor and was pursuing her Master’s degree, she made a deliberate choice to place her professional career on hold until our children were old enough. It was not easy, in fact sometimes very painful. However, now that both kids are in full-day school, Amy has been able to gradually step back into the workplace being fully assured that she has done her part and sacrificed for her children, when they needed her most.
All Peoples Church ministers beyond its own borders as a local church by reaching out all across India, especially North India, with a special focus on (A) Strengthening leaders, (B) Equipping young people for ministry and © Building up the Body of Christ. Several training seminars for young people and Christian Leaders conferences are held throughout the year. In addition, several thousands of copies of publications are distributed free of cost in English and several other Indian languages with the purpose of building up believers in the Word and in the Spirit.
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Thank You and God Bless!
Free Publications & Resources from All Peoples Church
A Church in Revival
A Real Place Called Heaven
A Time for Every Purpose
Being Spiritually Minded and Earthly Wise
Biblical Attitude Towards Work
Breaking Personal and Generational Bondages
Code of Honor
Divine Order in the Citywide Church
Don’t Compromise Your Calling
Don’t Lose Hope
Equipping the Saints
Foundations (Track 1)
Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life
Giving Birth to the Purposes of God
God Is a Good God
How to Help Your Pastor Integrity
Kingdom Builders (2nd Edition)
Laying the Axe to the Root
Living Life Without Strife
Ministering Healing and Deliverance
Revivals, Visitations and Moves of God
Shhh! No Gossip!
The Conquest of the Mind
The House of God
The Kingdom of God
The Night Seasons of Life
The Power of Commitment
The Presence of God
The Refiner’s Fire
The Redemptive Heart of God
The Spirit of Wisdom, Revelation and Power The Wonderful Benefits of speaking in Tongues
Timeless Principles for the Workplace
Understanding the Prophetic
We Are Different
Who We Are in Christ
Women in the Workplace
Work—Its Original Design
Marriage and Family
PDF versions of all the above publications are available for free download from our church website at www.apcwo.org/publications. Many of these publications are also available in other languages. To request your free printed copy of these publications, please contact us via email or post.
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Do visit our website for free MP3 audio and Video recordings of Sunday sermons, conferences and of our God TV Program ‘Living Strong.’
[_ All Peoples Church – Bible College & Ministry Training Center (APC-BC&MTC) was launched in August 2005 to equip, train and release faithful and able men and women into the nation of India and other nations ] [_—] _ to impact villages, towns, cities and nations for Jesus Christ._
APC-BC & MTC offers 2 programs:
At All Peoples Church (APC), our vision is to be salt and light in the city of Bangalore and a voice to the nation of India and to the nations of the world.
At APC, we are committed to presenting the complete, un-compromised Word of God in the anointing and demonstration of His Holy Spirit. We believe that good music, creative presentations, brilliant apologetics, contemporary ministry techniques, latest technology and so on, can never substitute the God-ordained approach of proclaiming the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit with signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4,5; Hebrews 2:3,4). Our theme is Jesus, our content is the Word, our method is Holy Spirit power, our passion is people, and our goal is Christ-like maturity.
With our main base in Bangalore, All Peoples Church has several other church locations in India. To get a current listing and contact information of All Peoples Church locations, please visit our website at www.apcwo.org/locations or send an email to [email protected]
About 2000 years ago, God came into this world as a man. His name is Jesus. He lived a perfectly sinless life. Since Jesus was God in flesh, everything He said and did revealed God to us. The words He spoke were the very words of God. The things He did were the actions of God. Jesus did many miracles on the Earth. He healed the sick and suffering. He opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, made the lame to walk and healed every kind of sickness and disease. He fed the hungry by miraculously multiplying a few loaves of bread, calmed the storm and did many other wonderful things.
All of these actions reveal to us that God is a good God who wants people to be well, whole, healthy and happy. God wants to meet the needs of people.
So why then would God decide to become a man and step in to our world? Why did Jesus come?
All of us have sinned and done things that are unacceptable before the God who created us. Sin has its consequences. Sin is like a great unsurpassable wall between God and us. Sin separates us from God. It prevents us from knowing and having a meaningful relationship with the One who created us. Therefore, many of us try to fill this void with other things.
Another consequence of our sins is eternal separation from God. In God’s court, the penalty for sin is death. Death is eternal separation from God in hell.
But, the good news is that we can be free from sin and be restored to God. The Bible says, “For the wages [payment] of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world when He died on the cross. Then, three days later He rose again, showed Himself alive to many and then went back into heaven.
God is a God of love and mercy. He does not wish that any person be lost in hell. And so He came, to provide a way for the entire human race to be free from sin and its lasting consequences. He came to save sinners—to rescue people like you and me from sin and eternal death.
To receive this free forgiveness of sins, the Bible tells us that we have to do just one thing—accept what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross and to believe in Him whole-heartedly.
“… through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins” .
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” .
You too can receive forgiveness and cleansing for your sins if you will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The following is a simple prayer to help you make a decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you on the cross. This prayer will help you express your acceptance of what Jesus has done for you and receive forgiveness and cleansing for your sins. This prayer is only a guideline. You can also pray in your own words.
_ Dear Lord Jesus, today I have understood what You did for me on the cross. You died for me, You shed Your precious blood and paid the penalty for my sins, so that I could be forgiven. The Bible tells me that whoever believes in You will receive forgiveness for their sins. _
_ Today, I make a decision to believe in You and to accept what You did for me, by dying for me on the cross and rising again from the dead. I know I cannot save myself by my own good works, neither can any other human save me. I cannot earn forgiveness for my sins. _
_ Today, I believe in my heart and say with my mouth that You died for me, You paid the penalty for my sins, You rose again from the dead, and by faith in You, I receive forgiveness and cleansing for my sins.. _
Thank You Jesus. Help me to love You, to know You more and to be faithful to You. Amen.
Is it right for women to be in the workplace? People have differing opinions on this. Some say ‘Yes’ while others say, “No! Women should stay at home and not step outside.” People may even quote Scripture to substantiate their opinions.
God did say a woman’s primary calling is to be a wife to her husband, a mother to her children and a keeper of the house. But He did not say a woman is not to be involved in business. In our study of God’s Word, we find that God has used women in different capacities throughout history, outside their homes. The Bible does not categorically state anywhere that women should not be in the workplace. In Biblical interpretation, if the Bible does not oppose something, then it means that God allows us to make the right decision within the boundaries set by other related Scriptures.
Women, God needs you where people are, because He needs your voices to speak to them and your lives to demonstrate love to them. So make a difference in your workplace, where God has placed you!
Is it right for women to be in the workplace? People have differing opinions on this. Some say ‘Yes’ while others say, “No! Women should stay at home and not step outside.” People may even quote Scripture to substantiate their opinions. God did say a woman’s primary calling is to be a wife to her husband, a mother to her children and a keeper of the house. But He did not say a woman is not to be involved in business. In our study of God’s Word, we find that God has used women in different capacities throughout history, outside their homes. The Bible does not categorically state anywhere that women should not be in the workplace. In Biblical interpretation, if the Bible does not oppose something, then it means that God allows us to make the right decision within the boundaries set by other related Scriptures. Women, God needs you where people are, because He needs your voices to speak to them and your lives to demonstrate love to them. So make a difference in your workplace, where God has placed you! Ashish Raichur