The average American today works at least 50 hours every single week. There are 168 total hours in a week. If you assume an average of 8 hours per day is spent sleeping, you now have 112 hours a week you are awake. That means you and I spend nearly half our time at work!
That also means that for most of us, the job is also our mission field.
The question now becomes; “How do we live on mission while on the job?”
As we all know, the answer has become more complex than simply; “Preach the gospel to your coworkers.” These days there are all sorts of laws and company polices forbidding employees to actively evangelize and disciple their coworkers. The issue becomes even more complex if you are in some sort of management position.
So what can we do? Basically, being on mission in the workplace can be summarized in two steps:
Step 1: Identify yourself as a follower of Christ.
I’m not talking about wearing a cross necklace or putting a fish symbol in your cubicle. I mean don’t be afraid to let people know that you are a Christian when you have a legitimate opportunity to do so.
A coworker came to me for some personal advice concerning an issue he was having at home. I said;
I’d be happy to let you know what I think about this, but I want you to know that I’m a Christian and that means that my relationship with Christ governs how I view the world and how I conduct my life. That also means that any advice I give you is going to come from that worldview. Is that okay?
My coworker was a little surprised at first but he said he appreciated my honesty and that it was fine with him if I talked to him about what the Bible said about his circumstances. That conversation opened up the door for many others where my friend would ask me about what the Bible said about various issues. Through those conversations I was able to share the Gospel with him.
Step 2: Back it up with your life.
If I identify myself with Christ, it had better show up in the way I talk, act, and do my work because once I have made it known that I am a disciple of Christ, people will be watching me. If I am no different than someone who does not follow Christ, then I ruin any opportunity to share the Gospel.
That means we should…
- Do our work with excellence: Christians should be the absolute best employees a company ever had. If you are in business for yourself, then you should be the best vendor your clients ever hired. (Eph. 6:5-9)
- Be servant-hearted: We must conduct our affairs at work as if our clients and coworkers are more important than we are. We need to be more concerned about the careers of others than we are about our own. We need to be willing to do the jobs no one else wants and do them without complaint and without recognition. (Phil. 2:3)
- Make sure our speech is God-honoring: We must categorically refuse to engage in any workplace gossip. We must also refuse to speak badly about anyone we work with or for. That means no complaining about our bosses, our company, our clients, or our coworkers. It means every time we open our mouths, people hear words of encouragement and compassion. (Jas. 3:1-10)
- Act with the utmost integrity: Christians should NEVER massage numbers to make themselves look better or cheat on expense reports, or fail to perform as instructed or miss deadlines, or be regularly late for work. As followers of Christ we should have the reputation of being people of our word, people that can be relied on to do the right thing in the right way at the right time. (Col. 3:22-23)
- Be filled with joy: When we find ourselves in the middle of a hard time on the job, we should still be joyful. we are joyful because we know that God is sovereign and that He is good. We are joyful because we know that regardless of the current circumstances, there is a greater joy to come. This will be VERY attractive to people who do not know that joy. (Phil. 4:4-7)
What about you? What do you do in your life as a missionary on the job?