Ask the average Christian, “Do you know anyone in ministry?” He or she usually will mention a pastor, music director or maybe a youth worker. Even though these are good answers, they represent only a fraction of the people in ministry.
If you are a committed believer, no matter what your occupation, you are in full-time Christian service. The workplace is your mission field. The major difference between you and an employee of a church is the source of your income.
But modeling your faith in the workplace can be challenging. Jesus Christ never said the Christian life would be a popular or easy one, and much of what you say and do goes against the norm.
The workplace sometimes says, “Watch out for number one.” Christ says, “Put others first.” The workplace says, “Get even; settle the score.” Christ says, “Return good for evil.” The workplace says, “Success is measured by money.” Christ says, “Success is measured by faith.” The workplace says, “You’re here to have people serve you.” Christ says, “You’re here to serve others.”
When you live out your faith, your life becomes convicting to those around you. Your words and actions can cause a non-Christian to ask, “I wonder what it is that makes him behave the way he does. I’m impressed.”
Your witness at work includes anything and everything people may observe about you -- the integrity you exhibit by the promises you make and keep, the way you treat people you dislike or who dislike you, and even the patience you exhibit at meetings or during times of stress.
You don’t come to work at 8:15 if you’re supposed to be there at 8. You work just as hard five minutes before it is time to leave as you did in the middle of the morning. Your performance is the same when your employer’s back is turned as when he or she is facing you.
Here are some questions for reflection about your witness at work:
Are you a good worker? Your employer is God above, not a boss below. You should live and work each day with the knowledge that you are accountable to Him. This includes how you spend your time at work, even in evan¬gelism. You are paid by your employer to work, not to witness. After hours or break times can be great opportunities for that, but you need to be careful not to steal time from your employer.
Do you act and react with self-control? You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. The way you react to countless stresses and conflicts in the workplace is evident every day -- in conferences, lunchroom conversations, client negotiations, budget planning, service calls and sales meetings and on the factory line. Your reactions catch people’s attention.
Do you tell the truth? Truth needs to be seen in sales reports, endorsements, expense reports, budget analyses, client negotiations and the way you repeat what others say. And not only do you need to speak the truth, your motives should be sincere.
Do you live consistently? Does everyone get the same Christ-like treatment from you or only those who might help you climb the corporate ladder? Are your actions just as honest when the boss is not looking? Consistency should be the flavor of your life, every moment of every day.
These qualities produce opportunities to share your faith. The workplace has its limitations, but what can’t be said on the job can sometimes be said off the job – all the more reason to model Christian behavior in the workplace.