Work Well | Live a Distinctive Christian Life
Does your office seem like the last place you expect to meet God?
Sometimes it can be a place of despair, futility and worldly values. Even when we enjoy our work environment things are not always as good they could be. But, however Godless a workplace may appear, it is not beyond his reach. It is not a no-God area.
This Christmas season we celebrate our God coming to earth ‘the word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood’ (John 1: MSG). When Jesus came to earth, he proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. The language of kingdoms can sound strange to us, we could describe it as ‘the sphere of God’s goodness’ in the world.
We are called to advance God’s kingdom, sharing this ‘sphere of goodness’ as we demonstrate God’s values. Our actions at work have the potential to advance the kingdom of God or to hinder it. Each time we tell the truth, make decisions fairly, act with respect for others and act with integrity, we are advancing this sphere.
What will you choose? A life with your head down and getting by, or the life of adventure lived in relationship with God where you can offer others that same freedom?
Our actions at work have the potential to advance the kingdom of God or to hinder it.
If we choose the life of adventure, how do we go about spreading the Kingdom in our workplace? Here are some thoughts:
We seek to honour God in everything that we do in our workplace. Modelling the character of Jesus brings honour to God because we are showcasing his attributes.
We are challenged by the Apostle Paul: ‘whatever you do, work at it with all your hearts, for it is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ (Col 3:23) .
God is more interested in how we work more than where we work! He is interested in our attitudes, the way we approach our work. He wants us to leave work a much better person than when we started.
Love your colleagues
People matter to God and therefore, to us. We constantly want to give them more than they expect from us, not less.
We must prefer our colleagues to ourselves. We should find the good things that we can say about them, rather than joining in with the negative and gossip. In a competitive world this is a difficult thing to achieve and yet Jesus calls us to ‘love our neighbours’.
An important aspect of loving those we work with is to pray for them.
Celebrate all you have been given
It can be easy to feel guilty about celebrating the rewards of work. But more than simply money, wealth is the whole of life; it is good relationships, good friends, good purpose, good ways. And we can be an example to those around us by being those who celebrate the good and celebrate this gift of life, all that God has given us.
Be Ready to tell others
Always be ready to ask, to pray, to lend a listening ear, to extend an invitation...
Finally and crucially, we can be ready to take opportunities and to answer questions when asked about our faith, clearly and without embarrassment. Our primary task at work is not be evangelists, that is not what we are employed to do. Remember what Peter tells us, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)
You may have an opportunity today, even this week at an office party. Enjoy yourself! But always be ready to ask, to pray, to lend a listening ear, to extend an invitation, perhaps to a carol service, or an Alpha course starting in the New Year.
Nonetheless remember, this work is not about us. It is ultimately, all about the One who paid the ultimate sacrifice of love upon the Cross. I used the word crucial in the subtitle quite deliberately; the word comes from the latin route, crux (cross) which has come to mean the centre, core. The Cross is the centre of it all and this way of life is costly, it involves sacrifice. But we can do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, knowing that the Spirit is powerfully at work in and through us. As Jesus said; ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20)
Watch the God at Work Conversation on Transforming Work Culture where I set out this vision for work in more detail.