After nearly six months off work, I found myself back in the familiar settings of my staffroom. Whilst the fixtures looked the same, everything else had become so different. It was arranged and organised to be ‘COVID-19 compliant’ and staff members danced around each other, keeping two metres apart like awkward teenagers on their first date. It took a few days to adjust seeing everyone again and actually having conversations that did not require us to ‘unmute’ or turn the camera on, and I have to say, I thanked God daily that I was able to work at work, see my class students again and be able to have some normality in the most abnormal year yet.
However, after a few weeks of getting back to our ‘new normal’, I noticed an uncomfortable feeling, and it definitely wasn’t due to the rushed lunches whilst simultaneously replying emails I realised; it was conviction. I kept asking myself, ‘how am I sharing the light of God at work?’ I remember, pre-lockdown, being ‘salt and light’ was a prayer I regularly prayed. But working from home, that prayer was being prayed less and less. And now I had found myself, feeling uncomfortable. Had I blended in too well with the culture and language of my work environment? Had I been using the world’s vocabulary instead of the Word to describe our current state of affairs? I soon felt very uncomfortable and immediately, I asked the Lord, “how does my life, speech and conduct look different to those who don’t believe?” I was led to Romans 12, a chapter that convicts, corrects and teaches me often about comparison and my mind. And as always, the living Word came alive in a different way.
Show them the Gospel
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”Romans 12:9-16
When pondering over sharing the Gospel at work, Romans 12:9-16 really spoke to me, and I hope it does for you as you read it. Verse 9 tells us to love others, to really love others. As with all relationships, it takes effort and care to love. We can all share common courtesy and be polite, but to love our colleagues, even the challenging ones, requires us to go above and beyond. Not just sending an email about the deadline due, but also checking in with them, taking note of the things they mention and being bold to ask about the things they don’t mention. Being thoughtful, like making a note of the birthdays in your team for example. These things cannot be grown out of a stale and cold existence, it comes out of a relationship. It means taking time, staying a little longer in the office to have that chat, or sending that text after working hours. How else can we rejoice and weep with others, if we don’t know what is even going on with them? Perhaps, through the connections we are intentional to make, the Holy Spirit can minister directly to that person through us.
Preach to them the Gospel
As believers, we are called to verbally share our belief in Christ Jesus (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19). Romans 10:9-10, tells us that, “faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God”. Yes, the Bible is clear that our conduct needs to speak of Christ, however, we must not use that as a way to absolve ourselves of the responsibility to preach the Gospel to them.
In being faithful to live out what the Bible says, I believe we are sowing seeds, watering the ground to make the gospel easier to receive. But that doesn’t always mean that it will be. At the end of the day, being the nicest person in the world isn’t going to convict someone of their sin. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. And the gospel is offensive and being a ‘nice’ person doesn’t soften the message of the gospel. but our hope and prayer is that, by us being in their environment, physically and spiritually, God will cause their hearts to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and perhaps even use us to lead them to repentance.
- Pray and challenge yourself to connect with one new person in your workplace, remotely or face to face and establish some common ground
- Write their name down and commit to praying for them weekly, you can even add your whole work place too.
- Challenge yourself to speak about Jesus to your colleagues.
I hope these tips are challenging, they are supposed to be, to keep us dependent on the Holy Spirit. I will be right there with you, trying to complete them also. It is essential we do the job we are paid for and do it well, that in itself is part of our witness. But even at work, let us not forgot about our Kingdom work.