The first of December I took a new position in a workplace that I am loving very much. Ironically, there is nothing church-related about it unless you keep in mind that Jesus ministered in the midst of people doing their daily business. He moved in and out of the places where women drew water, boys ate fish for lunch, and men tended to fields and flock. Here He used metaphor and mercy to teach people about Himself and the Kingdom to come. Though there are no verses that say, “Jesus smiled”, I am convinced His personality was winsome, His eyes kind, and doggone it – people liked Him.
This is the part where I make a confession. Almost 3 years ago when I joined the traditional workforce it felt like the death to some dreams. In my naivete I believed real ministry was over and that I had joined the masses of Workplace Believers that lived predictable, robotic lives without opportunity to see God do the amazing things that He could only perform through those who sat at their dining room table blogging and teaching women’s events.
I was wrong.
I have earned a gigantic respect for the workplace faithful because it is among the common where the work of ministry is being done. I’ve personally gathered with my own co-workers to intercede for our company and for one another in times of heartache, illness, and tragedy. I can just imagine those of you who do the same either through something as overt as corporate prayer or as inconspicuous as encouraging your sister with a troubled marriage to give it one more chance because you did and saw your own relationship restored. This is the Kingdom Come.
I have also learned it was somewhat easy to display a gentle spirit when I spent the majority of the day with either a) myself or b) people who stopped by the church when I spent time there working with Luke. But, get yourself into an office or a hospital or a school where stress runs high and tempers flare and you will quickly find out that not only are there people who can really push your well-disguised buttons but that somewhere along the way you have become one gigantic button. Work is the hardest place in the world not necessarily to be nice but to stay that way. I’ve destroyed my credibility to witness in situations because I decided it was more important to be right than righteous. Believer, it matters if people like you. How can they believe God is love if His people are jerks? That doesn’t mean we are mealy-mouthed doormats but one of the purpose statements of my new company says it best this way, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”
I say these things to you because of the value of the experience of these past few years and how I have grown to cherish what I thought was me giving up. May I encourage you as well? Your work is worthwhile, your presence needful, your place is on purpose. If seeking other employment ask yourself, “Is it the environment that needs to change or is it me?” Don’t shortcut the lessons God would teach about ourselves if we only walked the thing to it’s completion. I know this because I’ve done this. I did end up making a move but He didn’t create the opportunity until I was content to remain.
Let those who encounter you at the hallowed ground about the water cooler find refreshment because they did. This is the place where God will do the miraculous one conversation at a time through you…. the Work Place Believer.