I left corporate America 6 years ago to be home and educate my children. I also started a home based business which is what lead me to Christ in 2005. Working this business with other believers has made it easy to discuss our faith or give glory to God at any time, without hesitation.
My work life in corporate was not like that. I didn't know who the believers were (outside of one friend who had a Pastor father) because faith and God were rarely brought up. I'm wondering what other believers do in the workplace to avoid problems with potential company policy when we are called to be disciples, everywhere.
The way that I have always handled it, was to just be myself. I am a Christian, and I don't push it, but if the chance comes up that I can say something I will. Like, I will be praying for you, I prayed about the situation, and now it is in the Lord's hands. I beleive that God always gives us a chance to say something. Sometimes it is in a bold way, sometimes it is very suttel (spelling?). I think that people can sense, by your actions and attiude, that you are a Christian, and that leads into questions. If the other person is a Christian, it will lead to conversation, if not, they probably will not want to talk to you. Keep praying about it, and the Lord will lead you to speak or not to speak.
Welcome, and thanks for posting.
I struggle with sharing my faith at work in part because I don't want to get into trouble by "crossing the line", if you know what I mean. I experienced an incident with a bad tempered co-worker one time where I tried to overcome evil with good by sending him an e-mail where at the end I told him that God loves him. I found out from my supervisor that the guy printed the e-mail and took it to the department manager in order to get me in trouble I assume. The department manager never confronted me about it, but that incident has left me afraid of crossing the line. But, as a disciple of Christ, I need to obey God rather than men. When Peter and John were before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4, they were "commanded not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, 'Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.' "
I can also say though that I certainly don't hide my faith and most of the people I work with have some degree of respect for it. It depends on whose around and who they're talking to, but if it's one-on-one, they typically won't swear or talk to me about vulgar things. Some people are intimidated by it I think. I am a field representative for a civil engineering company, (aka: a construction site inspector), so I work with construction contractors. A few weeks ago, I was looking at an upcoming project with a contractor I have worked with in the past. This guy is one of the most vulgar, woman degrading men that I know. When it was just he and I looking at the job-site, he told me that he wanted to run an idea for a movie that he was writing a script for by me because he didn't want to offend anyone with the movie. He told me that he wanted to run it by me because he knew that I was "religious" and that he had a lot of respect for me. That really encouraged me by knowing that even though I'm not preaching the Word every day, people see Christ in me.
The Holy Spirit has also convicted me personally of the way I perform my day-to-day tasks at work. Doing what I do for a living, I'm not very much liked by the contractors that I work with everyday, so it's very easy to let things slide on the job (usually workmanship and quality) in order to be liked. I never let anything slide that would be a safety concern or cause a building or road to collapse or anything like that, but I would let some little things go, usually if the specifications call for it but I know it's over-designed and will work just fine without it. But the Holy Spirit convicted me to uphold all of the standards, even if it's an over design, for several reasons. 1) If I can't uphold the standards of my job, how will I uphold the standards of God's Word and His way of living? God's way goes against the grain of the culture so living boldly and courageously in day to day life is a requirement. 2) The way I do my job and live my day to life is about lifting up God's name and showing unchurched people who God really is. A guy told me last night in the jail ministry I'm involved with that he doesn't trust church people because they're hypocrites. He's been to church with his aunt and uncle and heard them telling people at church that they don't do certain things like drink, but he has seen them doing those same things. We were talking about people we can trust when he made that comment. 3) The way I do my job and live my life is about having integrity and maintaining a good name for myself. I don't want to have a bad reputation or be considered a hypocrite. I'm not lifting myself up here, but I've been told by a brother in Christ at my office that people have commented to him about the major changes in my life since coming to Christ, in contrast to another Christian co-worker who uses profanity as much as any non- believer, has a reputation of exagerating his hunting ad fishing stories and doesn't usually have a very Christ-like attitude. This type of behavior is hurting the Church and tarnishing Jesus' reputation in a big way, so we really need to be careful of the way in which we as Christians live our lives at work and in day-to-day life. 4) I don't need to please other people. I am a child of God and really He is all that I need. As long as I am obedient to Him, God will provide people in my life who will like me for who I really am. David was hated by King Saul, but King Saul's son and one of his daughters loved David, as well as many other people. God made David a leader over a group of 400 men described as "in distress, in debt and discontented." The Bible also says that David also, when serving under King Saul, became more successful than any of Saul's officers and his name became well known. David was blessed as a mighty, well liked leader, eventually the king of Judah and then Israel and his name was associated with integrity all because of his faithfulness and obedience to God.
What about you, Carolyn? Could there have been other believers at your workplace that just weren't living it out? Before coming to Christ yourself, what did you think of Christians and how they lived out their faith in day-to-day life? How do you live it out now?
Great perspective Jason! Thanks for sharing. Before I knew Christ I grew up in a hypocritical Catholic household in a family of 9 kids. We were "good Catholics" because we went to church neatly dressed every Sunday, and we spent about 13 years in catechism too. Yet, we didn't learn anything about the Bible or having a relationship with Christ, or salvation. I knew something was wrong but it took me a lot of years to find the motivation to seek out the people who could share the truth and answer my questions.
I know there were believers at the office that weren't living a Christian life and there were probably plenty of Christians who just didn't take the opportunity to share with me, even though I expressed an interest and frustration over the lies I had been taught or the lack of truths I had been taught.
Now my kids are growing up with a very different perspective. The Bible is part of our every day life and they learn so fast I'm always on my toes trying to keep up with them. God is the center of our life and we seek Him for help in everything. And my kids know why they are going to church and why we are highly involved in various ministries for both our local and our church community. Its amazing to see them excited about God and all we can learn from His Word.
Since this has been our life the last 6 years, I feel like I might need to put the brakes on when I start a new job. I'm currently reading the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from The American Dream and it got me thinking a lot about how little discipleship we do here in America as compared to other countries who are hungry to learn about and share God. Our company policies and "political correctness" do a lot of damage in this area.