Faith & Work: An Uneasy Alliance – Work: A Rich Mission Field – 8 of 8
One of the most fruitful mission fields is the workplace. We spend a lot of time there; we have friends there, many of whom are not Christians. Think about it…we get paid to spend time alongside men and women who are, in the words of the New Testament, “spiritually lost.” They need a Savior and we are Christ’s representatives. It is a match made in heaven! Our goal should be to conduct ourselves on the job in a way that God will be made attractive. So, how can we honorably use the workplace as a platform for sharing God’s love?
God is sovereign—it is no accident that you work where you do and with whom you do. God desires that all people be saved (1 Timothy 2:3–4), but your co-workers will perish if they refuse to place their trust in Christ as their sin-bearer (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:23). Christians are the link between a sovereign, loving God and a lost humanity. We are Christ’s ambassadors on earth (2 Corinthians 5:17–20). In this room there are homemakers, builders, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, waiters and waitresses, students, nurses, salesmen, mechanics, real estate agents, artists and musicians… I could go on and on. But that is not who you are. That is what you do. Who you are is an ambassador for Christ. Ambassadors have a responsibility to make loving, sensitive, impassioned appeals to our non-Christian friends to be reconciled to God through Christ. Being Christ’s ambassador is both a privilege and a responsibility (1 Corinthians 9:16–17).
Our sovereign God has strategically placed us in a work environment with lost, guilty people whom He desires to come to faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ’s ambassadors we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing God’s love with our co-workers. We do that by building “redemptive relationships.” A redemptive relationship is one in which you pray for that person, and ask God to sovereignly draw them to himself. Write down the names of two or three of your non-Christian co-workers who seem to be most open to you personally. Then, begin to pray. Ask God to give you a compassionate heart (Matthew 9:36-38). Pray for boldness (Ephesians 6:18-20). Pray for opportunities to speak with others about Christ (Colossians 4:2-4). We also need to pray for our co-workers. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their need for a Savior (John 16:8-11). Pray that your non-Christian friends will begin to seek God in response to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work and that they will come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 10:1-2).
In “redemptive relationships” you also demonstrate genuine love and concern for someone through active listening and tangible acts of kindness. Get to know them. Look for areas of common ground, such as where you grew up, marital status or station in life, educational background, sports, fitness, hobbies, favorite cuisine, clubs, politics, and spiritual interests. Common interests can serve as a basis for developing a relationship.
Think of relationships like the layers of an onion: as the friendship deepens and trust is gained, we should gradually move towards the deeper, more significant levels. Usually conversations begin with “general interest” questions: “So, how long have you lived in North Carolina?“ or “Where exactly do you live?” or “What sports do you enjoy?”. Then as the conversation develops we may ask more “specific interest” questions: “Why did you choose to pick up your family and move to North Carolina?” or “Why did you choose that specific neighborhood?” or “What is your favorite team?”.
As the relationship grows and greater trust is developed we can move to more “philosophical” questions: “So what do you think about the just released report about Global warming? Do you think it’s mostly man-made? Why or why not? If it is, what do you think we should do about it. Or we might say, “What do you think about America’s immigration policy? How open should our borders be? What kind of a vetting process would you like to see for those who wish to enter our country?” Then we might move to more theological questions: “What do you think about the Bible’s prediction of a future cataclysmic middle-eastern war? Do you think the Biblical authors knew something that we don’t know? Have you ever read the Book of Revelation? Have you considered Jesus’ teachings on the end times? Do you come from any kind of spiritual background? Is that an important dimension of your life? How did you come to have these convictions?”
In redemptive relationships we seek to help others take the next positive incremental step toward God—whatever that step may be. On the one hand, people are either spiritually dead or spiritually alive. They are either lost or saved. They either have a saving relationship with Jesus or they do not. But in another sense, people differ in their spiritual receptivity:
-7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0
At -7 a person has no awareness of Christianity. At -6 they are aware of the existence of the Christian faith. At -5 they have some knowledge of the gospel message. At -4 they understand the gospel fundamentals. At -3 they grasp the personal implications of the gospel. At -2 they recognize a personal need. At -1 they profess faith in Christ. And 0 equals conversion. Evangelism is a process, not an event. Our role is to discern where a person is and help them take the next positive spiritual step toward God by clearing up misconceptions and living in a way that makes God attractive. All of us can do that.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Pray for your co-workers, asking God to draw them to himself.
- Demonstrate genuine love and concern through active listening and tangible acts of kindness.
- Help them take the next positive incremental step toward God, whatever that step may be.
- Take advantage of training opportunities we offer here at TCC.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)