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AUTHOR: Larry Locke

“Preach the gospel always, and if necessary use words.”*

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2:14-16a

Sometimes the workplace is filled with difficult people.  You have customers that can’t be pleased, a boss that doesn’t seem to care about you, co-workers who won’t pull their weight.  Your list may be much longer.  A lot of times we can’t do much to change those things, either.  The work situation is what it is.  There’s not a lot you can do about it.

One thing we can do, however, is talk about them.  You can tell your spouse, your car pool, your prayer group, the guy next to you on the bus.  Any listening ear will do.  Of course, none of those people can change our job situation either.  We just like to say it hoping they’ll agree with our sense of indignation.

And then sometimes we wonder what it means to be a Christian in a place like that.  How do you serve the Lord while you’re selling product, crunching numbers and going to meetings, particularly with all those difficult people around you.  You’re not really sure.  You just hope it doesn’t mean you are supposed to come in and preach to them every day.

Well, someday it may mean exactly that but every day it will mean this – stop complaining.  If we accept the idea of God’s providence we have to believe that He brought those difficult people into your life for a reason, probably so you could be a blessing to them.  One of the surest ways you can minister to the difficult people in your shop will be to maintain a positive attitude.  Don’t grumble, don’t argue.  Dare we say it?  Smile!  Will they notice?  You would.  Will they wonder how you are able to maintain your personal peace in the midst of such a difficult job?  You know they will.  And suddenly right there, in the middle of selling product, crunching numbers and going to meetings, you are proclaiming the power of Christ, without saying a word.

* Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

 


Can I Get a Witness?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

Many of us are OK with witnessing to the farthest parts of the earth.  What we are afraid of is witnessing at work.  We’re uncomfortable with sharing personal things anyway and when you move into the area of faith it makes us all the more nervous.  What if we are ridiculed for our beliefs?  What if we get branded the “religious nut” in the shop?  We’re not even sure if witnessing is appropriate in a business setting.

Part of our discomfort may stem from not understanding what it means to be a witness.  We tend to think we have to present the Four Spiritual Laws or the Roman Road, respond to any objections from the person to whom we’re witnessing, and then lead them in a prayer of salvation.  Well, you may indeed be called on to do that someday, but that’s not what it always means to witness. 

Maybe it would help if we thought of being a witness for Christ the same way we think of being a witness in court.  The courtroom witness is never called on to summarize the facts, argue the case or respond to objections.  That’s the lawyer’s job.

Your Heavenly Father doesn’t call you to be His lawyer.  (He already has a “Counselor” and it’s not you. – See John 14:16.)  He just wants you to be His witness.  What do they do in court?  All we want a witness to do is tell what they’ve seen and heard, and then get off the stand.  You don’t have to explain whether dinosaurs were killed in the great flood.  You don’t have to be able to quote vast sections of scripture.  You just have to be willing to tell what God has done for you – in your own life, in your own words.

And remember, you have the Counselor with you to help you know what to say and when. 

Perhaps the most important thing a witness has to do is show up when they are called.  Imagine a courtroom with everyone staring at the empty chair in the witness stand – your chair.  Let’s get over our discomfort and answer God’s call.  There’s a big world out there that needs to be reached.

I Need a Favor

But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6.

Some of us think of ourselves as devout Christians and truly believe that it should impact every area of our lives.  But sometimes the workplace just seems unrelated to our faith.  It’s not that we are steeped in some depraved condition at work.  We just don’t see the chance to apply our faith to our work, or, maybe we just don’t feel the need.

Those of us who have been around for a while tend to develop a sense of self confidence.  We know how to run a meeting.  We know how to motivate our employees.  We know how to make a decision.  Most of the problems we encounter at work are problems we’ve seen before.  We rarely confront situations where we feel completely dependent on God.  We are pretty self-sufficient.

But are we really?  The Lord wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives and has structured the universe in such a way that we are going to need Him.  When we try to do things on our own it can be an expression of our pride.  When that happens, God doesn’t just wait on the sidelines for us to call on Him.  He is never neutral in our lives.  When we are proud, He actively opposes us.

Which of your daily work tasks would you like to take on with God set against you?  Would you like to run a meeting, motivate your employees or make a decision with the Lord of the Universe actively opposing you?  Absolutely not!  But what do we do when we just don’t feel the need to involve God in our work?

Our text for this week indicates that the answer is found in humility.  When we humble ourselves before God and admit that whatever sense of self sufficiency we have accumulated is misplaced, we avoid God’s opposition.  More than that, God never being neutral, when we embrace our rightful humility God actively works on our behalf.  When we humble ourselves we receive His grace – the unmerited favor of God.

Welcome

Welcome to the Crucial Connections website!  This site is anticipated to launch on May 22, 2012.  It will provide a weekly devotional for business people written by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor College of Business Faculty.  Our goal is to help business men and women follow Christ in the workplace, with all its challenges, blessings and temptations.  You may subscribe to the site now by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the top of the page.  Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to check back with us on May 22nd.