Originally posted 3-13-2017
It’s easy to forget as a follower of Christ how we relate to the world. Jesus said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16 We don’t belong to the world. We belong to God but we still have to live in the world. It’s also easy to think that it’s our job to correct the world. Correction of the world will come when God sits in judgement over it. We’re called instead to be witnesses of the truth as we have contact with the world. One of the places we hit the world head-on is the workplace. It can be so hard to work among those who don’t share the same beliefs as we do.
“YEAH BUT” MY BOSS IS UNREASONABLE
We all know who this boss is. He is the one who wants everything done yesterday with a smile. He wants things done his way and only his way. He acts as if he owns you and your time. This man or woman is not someone we look forward to seeing every day. This boss is so unreasonable, others know it too, and the conversation at lunch can become a boss-bashing time without any thought at all. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” 1 Peter 2:18
These verses are a great reminder that our jobs are not about us but are about God. We are to respect even those who don’t earn it because we are God’s representative to this boss. We are to abstain from joining in on the boss-bashing at lunch by bringing up something good about the boss. We need to take some time and seek to understand our boss by watching and listening. Then we should respond with pleasantness by giving him what he does not deserve. As a follower of Christ we’re certainly familiar with receiving what we don’t deserve. If the boss isn’t a follower of Christ, you could be the witness God will use to save him.
“YEAH BUT” MY CO-WORKERS LEAVE ME OUT OF THINGS
This happens when we work in a place where the habits of this world are used as appropriate behavior for business. For instance in order to network with others in your same business, you may find yourself spending time at a bar. If you choose not to join in the drinking, you may not be asked out again. Or maybe someone wants you to take something from the workplace and sees it as no big deal. When you don’t participate in this activity, you may be talked about or left out of other things that are happening in the office. If you are left out you can be tempted to have a pity party which can lead to bitterness. If we allow bitterness to take root then the picture of Jesus Christ we should be painting at work will become a scribbled treasure of the immature. We have to be on guard against our feelings and where they will take us if we allow them.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
God has given us the power through His Spirit to stand firm in the faith in all situations. Getting to know co-workers and pray for them. Have our own party or dinner to invite others from work to attend. Be courageous by rising above the crowd and not letting their treatment of us determine our treatment of them.
“YEAH BUT” MY CO-WORKERS USE INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE
The people of this world do not live by the Word of God. They live by their feelings and their desires. We expect people to live the way we want them to live. No follower of Christ wants to hear inappropriate language or should she want to use that language. In a work environment we must remember to be who we are in Christ.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12
We are called to put these characteristics on display; therefore be kind to our co-workers even when they speak inappropriately. Instead pray for them, change the subject, or speak with positive tone and words. We must focus on the person, not their words. Have compassion for the lost using the eyes of Christ. The biggest thing to remember here is God does not need us to defend Him; He needs us to be Jesus to others.
Let’s press on in obedience to God in spite of our work circumstances. Remember that people should be interested in God because of who we are. Are you willing to die to your flesh and press on in obedience to God in the workplace so that God will be made known?