For this season of my life the workplace I am in (and as Christians are in) is my ministry and mission field. I firmly believe God has placed me in this position to be a witness for Him and this is a task I want to excel in.
My whole life is a work in progress and therefore I can’t admit to being the perfect employee or ambassador for our Lord but I am striving to show who Jesus is through what I do and say (or don’t do and say).
In this article I am including some helpful tips and ideas to connect better with the people God has placed in your life for 40 hours a week (depending on your work environment).
I challenge myself along with my readers to also pray and ask God to give opportunities, courage and wisdom in the relationships you have with people in your work place so we might glorify Him.
What to do
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him... Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (Col 3:17,24)
In order to effectively live out this principle I believe I need to be very hard working (if not the hardest worker) during work hours. This does not mean being a workaholic, because there needs to be a balance between life and work, but for the time I am getting paid I should concentrate on the task at hand. With the mentality mentioned in the verses above it will not matter who is watching you, who you are accountable too or what type of work it is because your primary accountability is that you are working to glorify God.
This can be challenging when you are required to do something you don’t like doing or find it easy to slip personal matters into your work hours but if you keep these verses as a reminder of your focus and ask God for help you will notice a difference.
One situation I encountered recently that brought my attention back to this passage was the discussion of my performance contract. This contract is based around the productivity of my job and after a bit of stress I felt prompted by God to remember these verses and not worry about the contract, because when I work for God the rest should fall into place.
A good attitude at all times is also essential and it’s rare to find in people. This may be a point that separates you from others in your work. Attitudes, both good and bad are contagious and also hard to cover up, so when you are struggling to have a positive attitude about something remember the passage from Colossians and ask God to help you through the day. I do not intend for us to wear a mask but through an attitude of thankfulness and the fruit of joy in our life we should generally be able to overcome a bad attitude.
This was a point I felt slammed in my face when a fellow employee one day asked what was wrong. I realised in that moment that my body language (facial expressions and the way I carried myself) was indicating my bad mood, so I quickly took this to God and allowed Him to refocus me with a proper perspective on the task I was doing.
Some other ways Christians should be examples in their workplace through their actions is by living out strong morals and ethics, being fair in making decisions and responsible with their work.
What to say
“Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6
“The tongue has the power of life and death… “Proverbs 18:21
What people say has great impact on those who hear it, whether it be positive or negative. As Christians we are called to a high standard with our words and this will often separate us from others. This means we should avoid swear words and gossip and be very careful in our use of sarcasm.
If any of these are a struggle for you I would suggest repenting before God for your poor use of words (and possibly those you have hurt) and seek His help in the future when you say or are tempted to say something that is not uplifting.
A good goal to aim for in your use of words may be to say something encouraging to a co-worker once a day. This is a good way to start or continue using your words positively and as you follow through with this it will become natural to speak encouragement.
Another great way to use words is by asking questions. This shows you care about the person, especially as you develop a friendship and can begin asking deeper questions other people don’t usually stop to talk about. Be sensitive in the questions you do ask and after talking with the person you may like to jot down notes somewhere so you can continue the conversation in the future or follow up on a topic you discussed. Following up with a conversation based off a previous discussion may shock the person but they are likely to remember it and recognise you care about them.
Be on the alert for opportunities to share your faith. This might be as simple as sharing that you went to Church on the weekend or it could be a religious discussion people are having in the lunch break. There will be chances for you to speak about your faith and then it will be your responsibility to daily live out your relationship with Jesus. An achievable goal for you in this may be to tell one person a week you are a Christian (through direct conversation or a little side word you can slip in).
One answer I have given several times when people ask me where I live is to say “I am house-sitting for some friends I know from Church.” It would be easy to skip the last couple of words but adding them naturally like this presents the person with the knowledge I go to Church. I pray God will then use this seed I have sown to bring further discussion up in the future or give the person an understanding of why I may be different than others.
As Christians we are called to be His Children and this needs to be transferred into our working life. We have a great opportunity in our workplace to be a witness for Christ and through words, actions and the help of God we can make a difference to those around us. So let us focus on our representation of Jesus at work and take every opportunity that comes our way to share our faith, because you may be the only minister of the gospel to your work colleagues.
Tim Wilson is married with two children who served with YWAM for five years in Brisbane and now serving in mission in Canada.
Tim Wilson's archive of articles may be viewed at /www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-wilson.html