DO YOU LEAVE GOD AT HOME?
It has been said that there are two things we should never talk about at work: religion and politics. Since we're never going to agree with everyone, they're better left alone.
If you've been in the workforce, you know this is nearly impossible. For the Christian, it's not even an option—we are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We live from a Christ-centered perspective and carry a distinctly biblical worldview. Whether it's in the break room, at a restaurant after work, or just casual conversation throughout the day, you can make an impact for God's kingdom at work.
God's People At Work
When God gave His laws to the Israelites, He commanded that they teach them to their children and talk of them at home, on the road, in the bed at night, and when they wake up (Deuteronomy 6 and 11). Like the Israelites, we take the Word of God everywhere we go. As those who have seen the mystery of the gospel revealed, we have the best news in the universe. How are people to believe in the Savior they've never heard of (Romans 10:14)? This is why we have been called to go and make disciples of all nations. The Hebrew Israelites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the world work hard to make disciples of their kingdoms—we have to outwork them.
As William Boekestein writes, "Vocation is taking your skills and applying them to the plot of life God has given you." This means that if you're a plumber before you get saved, you can now be a plumber to the glory of God. In His wisdom and Providence God has placed you right where you need to be. You don’t have to be a pastor to have a God-ordained calling. This not only gives us confidence and joy in our work, but it keeps us from pursuing work that directly works against the Kingdom of Heaven. We don’t just work to grab that paycheck.
As Christians, we do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17). God gave Adam dominion and called him to work and keep the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). From creation, we have been called to use God's gifts and God's creation to bring Him glory. Whether you're a musician, a mechanic, or a forklift driver, you're called to steward God's gifts. You don't merely work to build a resume, gain a following, build wealth, or leave a legacy. These may come, but they are all meaningless if you do it for yourself. As Flame said, “It’s all gon’ pass”.
God At Work in His People
What does it look like be Christians in the workforce? How can you work without leaving God at home?
First, work hard. I'll say it again for those in the back. We need to work hard (Colossians 3:23). For me, this is often an overlooked aspect of being a Christian in the workplace. David Murray, pastor, and Puritan scholar, reminds us that if we are paid to work, then we should work. Working hard at work won't save souls, but it will bear witness to the Scriptures we confess and obey. God has placed a call on all of our lives, and hard work shows that we value His wisdom.
Second, we have to realize that the world will likely view us as corny, weird, lame, etc. because of our worldview. Christians have not and will not appeal to the world. Jesus clearly stated, "you will be hated by all for my name’s sake" (Matthew 10:22), though this doesn't promise we will always be persecuted at work. It does mean that we will look strange when we don't participate in the "locker room talk" or when we speak about Christ's work in our lives. Jesus, urging believers not shrink back in shame, says "whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26)
Third, we need to guard our witness. If we're always in the midst of strife, gossip, and conflict with our co-workers, we aren’t going to exemplify the call to "live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18). Avoid conflict as much as you can. There is no good in it, and it could actually undermine all the effort you've expended trying to point people to Jesus. It will also undermine the hard work you do each day. It's better to fall under the radar than always be in the midst of unnecessary turmoil. Pick your battles bear spiritual fruit at work (Galatians 5:22-23).
Fourth, we need to glorify God in our successes. We've already seen that we work for God, but our work is also from God. It's easy to accept that pat on the back and swell up with pride, but we know something they may not know—God establishes the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17). On the days that we pray, "give us this day our daily bread", we are immediately reminded that the God feeds the birds and clothes the grass also provides the strength I need to make my salary (Matthew 6:11,16-28). When people question our success, we have a perfect opportunity to speak these truths in authentic ways.
Lastly, we need to point to Christ in our failures. As fallen humans, work is toil (Genesis 3:17-19). Sometimes in that toil, we get tired, lazy, or lose sight of the goal. We make mistakes that are sometimes very costly. In those moments, we can play the blame game as Adam and Eve did in the garden, or we can admit our mistakes. We bounce back in the face of failure because we have a Savior who died for our sins. We don't have to pretend to have it all together because everybody already knows we don't. When our failures are front and center, unbelievers can get a glimpse of our Savior and His sanctifying work in our lives.
I ask again, “Do you leave God at home?” Are there people or ways you can start to weave in gospel conversations? What can you do on your next day at work?