As working Christians, we must consider carefully how our words and actions reflect on God. Here are six mistakes we Christians often make when taking our faith to work.
6. We engage in religious activity when we should be working. Bible reading and conversations about God with coworkers are good things---in their appropriate place and time---and within the boundaries of the rules of the workplace. However, these activities are harmful to the Kingdom when they displace time and effort appropriately owed to the task at hand.
5. We often use words to represent Christ when our actions have not earned us a measure of respect. Though not a hard and fast rule, our coworkers will attach much greater credence to the testimony of someone whose work they respect, and whose work ethic is unassailable, than they will attach to the words of a newcomer. We're not suggesting temerity when starting a new job, but each of us must recognize the importance of establishing ourselves as credible and competent employees. This investment in our reputations is an important facet of stewardship in the role God calls us to in our jobs.
4. Our words of faith can sound shrill when they aren't expressed in the context of relationship. Natural discussions about our faith are most comfortably communicated, and most comfortably received, in the context of relationship. People who believe we care about them are more likely to believe God cares about them.
3. We emphasize the negatives in our discussions about God. A coworker early in my human resource career told me he had an excellent idea of what God was against by listening to me, but very little idea about what God "was for." Those words have stayed with me through the years. God must surely be disappointed to see how often we use our faith as a weapon to attack other ideas, or as a sword to defend our own thinking, instead of as a bridge to Christ.
2. We criticize other Christians in front of our coworkers. For a faith that teaches so much about loving our neighbors, it's hard to imagine it has any credibility when its ambassadors are always firing darts at each other. Satan absolutely delights in highlighting the areas where we Christians disagree, and we play right into his hands. Not only do we disagree, but we give voice to that disagreement in public venues. What could possibly be attractive to non-Christians about a faith that engenders such visible animosity between its adherents?
1. Finally, and perhaps most damaging, our knowledge of Scripture is poor. Just as we must be competent in the job, we must be equally competent in our handling of the Scriptures. It is essential we find ways to steep ourselves in the truths of the Bible. Life at work seldom offers us time to find a passage of Scripture that applies to the task before us. Rather we must work to commit the truths of the Bible to our mind so they are accessible in the heat of workplace moments.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let the love you give us so freely saturate us so completely that it changes how we treat each other, and how we treat the tasks you've give us this day. Amen.