Being a Christian at work
What about when you feel isolated
because of the values you hold?
A dog is not just for Christmas, and a Christian is not just for Sunday.
Christians are called not just to go to church, but to live a life that reflects Jesus—and this includes the workplace!
But everyone takes home whitener and Post-it notes from the supplies cupboard... don’t they? And office politics can be cruel and unfair, but you’ve got to play the game… haven’t you? It’s easier to just to pretend you're out, and avoid that phone call… isn’t it? When you’re putting in that expenses claim… everyone creams a little off the top, so why lose out? And when there’s no holiday left to take but you need a day off, it’s easier to call in sick, isn’t it…?
Yes, it is easier. But that doesn’t make it right! What about the fact that it involves stealing, lying, cheating and hurting people? It’s easy to explain things away by saying no one gets hurt—but everyone involved does get hurt. Profits are lost; the government doesn’t get the taxes it should; people lose their self-confidence, or their job. You also get hurt, because the presence of sin in your life is painful. And you also hurt God, because he hates sin (mostly because sin leads to hurting his children).
Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve had to exaggerate the company’s success—to the press, to new clients, to potential recruits. It was uncomfortable, yet something I had to live with. But as time went by I started to get asked to do bigger stuff. Would I claim that a certain trade journal had said this about our company? No, I wouldn’t. Would I enter a major industry awards competition with work that wasn't our own? No, I wouldn’t. Would I bump up my timesheet so that the company could charge more for some work? No, I wouldn’t.
I knew I was an irritant: that people were frustrated that I wouldn’t ‘play the game’. But, because I’d always been quite open about my Christian faith, they knew where I was coming from. Some people gritted their teeth and worked round me; others respected me for it. I did leave, eventually—but entirely of my own volition.
So don’t be afraid of reflecting God at work. If he really matters to you, you’ll want to do it. It won’t always be easy, I can promise you that, but you will be blessed for it. You may find that you have an amazingly positive influence on the work culture. But if your colleagues and bosses make life impossible for you, ask yourself if this is really the place for you? Pray for your workplace, pray for yourself—but don’t be afraid of leaving on principle. God will put you somewhere even more rewarding!
Remember also that life’s not just about work. Jesus said he came that we should have life, and have it abundantly: so make sure you strike a good work/life balance. Get plenty of leisure time, rest, and family time. Your company doesn’t own you. And your work doesn’t define you—God does!
Pray: God, I reckon that work is the probably hardest place I could ever try to be a Christian. I worry what people will think of me, and if it will affect my prospects. Yet I know you’re God, and if I’m going to believe in you, I need to have that integrity. Help me to do what’s right. Please bless me at work, and the people around me. And if this isn’t the right place for me, please bless me with the right place.
Look up the ‘10 Commandments of the Workplace’
Check out Sacred Space – how to make room for spirituality at work
Visit The London Institute of Contemporary Christianity’s website section all about work
Read articles on the Christians at Work website
Watch a video clip about one man’s experience of needing to have integrity at work
Read the book 90, 000 Hours: Managing the World of Work by Rodney Green
Read the book Forgotten Agenda?: Money, Work and Discipleship by Neil Hood
Read the book How to Succeed as a Working Parent by Steve Chalke
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