Darlene G. Snyder asked:
Do you believe there is ever a time when we should not witness? What do you think about witnessing in the workplace, is it ethical? As Christians, should we consider the employer before taking their time to witness? When is it ok to share Christ at work?
Some might say regardless of where we work, Christians should give employer’s a fair day’s work. We should not cheat by taking away from their time to witness. While I would agree, we need to be honest in all our dealings, including in the workplace, I believe it is erroneous to think Christians should not share at work.
It is the calling of a Christian to represent Christ to people, even those in the workplace. We need only to look at Matthew 28:19-20 – the commission to all Christians to be witnesses. In addition, God has placed us where we are with definite gifts and the potential to proclaim His truth in our world, which includes our workplace.
As Christians, we should be aware of company rules and guidelines. Even then, I believe opportunities abound and we can share in other ways. Sometimes, it just takes awareness on our part and taking advantage of opportunities to share when they arise.
I’ve worked for thirty-five years, most jobs I held were office related. I did, however work in a factory for a few years, and I understand when we are on a timeline to complete a project, witnessing may be the last thing on our minds. After all, in some instances, the wrong approach could cause us to lose our job.
For the last twenty years, I’ve worked as Supervisor in a busy office. I must confess, in all of my years working, I allowed many witnessing opportunities pass me by. I stumbled making many mistakes along my way.
It is difficult enough to witness, but with the actions of some Christians in the workplace, it serves only to make witnessing harder for those of us who are trying to share the gospel.
I’ve seen Christians who whine, fuss, and even curse when things don’t go their way. In addition, the way they conduct themselves in their personal life is appalling to those of us who are trying to win others to Christ. This type behavior has turned many people away from Christ.
Ephesians 6:5-8 describes the way we are to approach our jobs. Some of the behaviors represented are, obedience, the right attitude, commitment and diligence. If our behavior is anything less, we send a message to those who are lost that our heart is set on earthly things. We are not showing Christ to them. If we work using these verses as guidelines, our workplace will become our mission field.
In some work settings, showing Christ is the only way to share Him. If we fail in this area, no one is going to listen to us when we do find opportunities to witness verbally.
Another way we can show Christ is to do our work well. Whatever we do in word or deed, we must do in the name of Jesus (Col. 3:17). Our actions should reflect Christ. Whatever we do or say in our workplace is a way of sharing Christ.
How many hours do you spend in the workplace each week? Like many others, you likely spend most of your waking hours there. We build relationships with co-workers, customers and others in our work setting. Some of us are employed in more of a relaxed work atmosphere, talking freely to one another. Yet, sharing Christ seems a little scary. Fear keeps us from witnessing.
I’ve found no matter where I’ve worked, people are looking for answers. Mostly they are looking for spiritual answers. It’s not an accident we find ourselves where we are. God has placed us there to share and He gives us opportunities to share our faith at work.
I love the promise found in Philippians 4:19 that says God shall supply my needs according to his riches in glory. This promise came alive to me one day recently.
My mind on the tasks of the day before me, I was approached by two employees who asked to speak to me privately. This was not something out of the ordinary. Many times employees approach me, in need of a listening ear, seeking advice or in need of instruction or clarification regarding their jobs.
When the door shut behind us, I was somewhat caught off guard. The non-Christian employee had approached her Christian co-worker in tears, wanting to talk about spiritual matters. They wanted my help and asked if I had a Bible.
If the Christian employee and I had not developed a relationship with this non-Christian, she may have never found her way to Christ. We were able to share with her that day and eventually she received Christ as her personal Savior.
Jesus, Our Example
It is the workplace where Jesus spent most of his time and ministry. His first four disciples were working when he called them. They were not expecting to meet Jesus. Their mind was on their jobs, fishing and mending nets. Then there are the vineyard workers, tax collectors, centurions, carpenters, scribes, and more; all busy at work when they met Jesus.
Jesus was fully human, experiencing what we experience in our lives and work. He knows our feelings, our insecurities and our hardships. Yet, He continued witnessing, even when others were against Him.
There is so much darkness in the world. We are to be the light that eliminates the darkness from our workplace.
How then are we to be that light? We first recognize that Jesus the Light, gives us the strength and that He is always with us, even when we face the darkness. Where can a Christian go that His presence is not there? Psalms 139 reminds us that there isn’t anywhere we can go that He isn’t there.
1st Peter 4:14 (NKJV) says If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you for the Spirit of glory rests upon you… We must realize that not everyone will be open to our sharing. We must show respect to these people, even when we are reproached by them. The only thing you can do is to live your life as an example. Allow the Holy Spirit to work. Pray daily for them and you will be blessed.
Tips for Sharing
· Get to know the people with whom you work. It is easier to witness if you know their background, beliefs and personalities.
· Look for common interest. If one likes basketball, talk to them about your favorite team.
· Show them you are interested in their life by listening. Ask questions. You can’t expect them to listen to you if you aren’t interested in what they have to say.
· Attend events and functions with them. This shows you are involved in other things outside the church.
· Your actions, attitude and behavior in the workplace can influence others. Be sure to think before acting or reacting. Others are watching.
· Integrate your faith into your work. Bow your head, asking the blessing over your food before eating. Read your Bible during breaks. Let Co-workers know you are praying for them when difficulties arise in their lives.
· Invite people to church. Don’t harass them but if the opportunity arises during conversations, don’t be afraid to invite them to attend a worship service. Volunteer to pick them up on your way.
· Handle difficulties in a Christ like manner. Perfection is not expected nor required. Even Christians face difficult times. The manner in which you respond to the complexities of your world, speaks more than any words you have to say.
· Your work is important to God. When you have a bad day, turn to Christ for solace and encouragement.
· Share your story. Your experiences might be just what a co-worker needs to hear.
For Christians, sharing Christ should come as natural as breathing. Some of us go a lifetime without witnessing to those lost around us. It is shameful for us not to try reach them for Christ. Remember He opened the door to salvation for you when you were not part of the original family of God.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13 (NKJV)
Life for Christians has one goal: accomplish God’s mission. According to Acts 1:8, our mission is to be His witnesses. Once we understand the importance and the urgency, then our mindset, views and life will change.
Recalling what Christ did for us at Calvary, we should strive to live our faith in every part of our lives. If we do, sharing will become as ordinary as breathing.