Recently, I read David Goetsch’s book Christians on the Job: Winning at Work without Compromising Your Faith. This is a good book that I would recommend to Christians on how to integrate their faith with their work.
One comment in the book stood out as I read it. The author writes: “Have you ever worked with someone and been surprised to learn he or she is a believer? How did this make you feel about the individual in question?” Immediately my mind went back to a time early in my career. There was a co-worker who seemed to go out of his way to give me a hard time. He was an “old school” supervisor who had come up through the ranks, and I was a relatively young superintendent with a college degree. I had heard that he did small repair projects on the side, and I asked if he might be able to come to our home to help with a plumbing problem we had. As he was working, he mentioned that he did quite a bit of work on the side. I joked about what he did with all of that extra money he made, and was stunned with his response. He mentioned that he gave all of the money to missions. Turns out that this guy was a faithful church member. You could have knocked me over with a feather. The message is something I remember all these years later – people should not be surprised when they find out you are a Christian. You should be the same person in the workplace, in school, etc. that you are in church on Sunday morning.
For several years, I did the opening announcements for our church worship service. I never wanted someone who knew me from the workplace and was visiting our church to see me as a hypocrite – a jerk at work and a “holy Joe” at church on Sunday morning. I wanted to represent Christ well wherever I was. As a believer, the fruit of the Spirit should be evident – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Some people want to claim that Jesus is their Savior, but they refuse to let him be the Lord of their life. But you can’t have Jesus as your Savior without him reigning as King on the throne of your life.
I was once surprised by a longtime friend in the workplace who displayed no evidence of being a Christian, claim that he had walked the aisle at 14 and accepted Christ. In his mind, that settled it, he was a Christian. Sadly, there was no evidence of a Christian walk in his life. His life had not been impacted by his “decision”. He had made a profession of faith, but he didn’t have possession of faith. We might say that he was not “born again”.
As Christians, we need to be consistent in how we live our life, or what you might call your walk. We could go to many places in the Bible to read about attributes of a believer. As a start, the Apostle Paul gives us several good thoughts about this in the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians. Here are 12 things he charges us with:
- Be imitators of God (v. 1)
- Walk in love (v. 2)
- Don’t let sexual immorality, impurity or covetousness be named among you. (v. 3)
- Let there be no filthiness, foolish talk or crude joking but instead let there be thanksgiving. (v. 4)
- Walk as children of light (v. 8)
- Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (v. 10)
- Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (v. 11)
- Walk as the wise, not the unwise (v. 15)
- Don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (v. 17)
- Don’t get drunk on wine, but be filled with the Spirit (v. 18)
- Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 20)
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (v. 21).
Have you ever been surprised when someone you knew claimed to be a Christian, because their life didn’t show any evidence of being a believer? How did that make you feel? I pray that others are never surprised that we are believers, but that we walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:9). May you 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)