In my previous blog post, we covered Step 1 to being a Christian at work—just be NICER™. That simple acronym reminded us of five characteristics we might develop for being an effective witness at our work:
- N = No compromises
- I = Integrity
- C = Compassionate in relationships
- E = Excellent work
- R = Responsible to others
Being NICER at our work is a great first step and an excellent way to think more proactively and more conscientiously about being a disciple of Jesus.
But as a Christian, we are not called to just be like Jesus. Like the disciples who spent time with Jesus, things changed dramatically once Jesus ascended to heaven. They had to step up to become the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around them.
In the same way, we are not called just to go to work and set a good example. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus at our workplace.
To help us do that, here is a second helpful thought built around another five-letter acronym:
Let’s take a look at each of the five letters in the word B-L-E-S-S™.
Continue reading the post or get the 3-minute summary in this video:
B: Begin with prayer
In Luke 6:12-16, we see that Jesus went away one day to pray—and when morning came, he was ready to choose his disciples. Although he was the son of God, Jesus still prayed all night about who to put on his team.
The Gospel of Mark provides another example, where Jesus goes away to pray before starting what appears to be his second day of active ministry. In this case, Jesus has just launched his ministry and he’s already disappeared from the scene—nobody even knows where to find him!
Prayer was that important to Jesus that he just had to make time for it.
Jesus prepares for big decisions and starts his day with prayer. Surely, we can benefit from doing the same—praying for our days, our projects, and even our meetings that day.
L: Listen and Look for Opportunities
In a way, prayer is like putting on a set of “spiritual glasses” so that we might better see what God has in store. It is a helpful tool to better see those “good works” already planned for us on that day, just as it says in Ephesians 2:10.
And, since these opportunities are already pre-arranged by God, our responsibility is to spot them and get busy. This is where faith moves from belief to practice.
But what is this “good” that we should do? And how do we do it?
The disappointing news is that it isn’t possible for anyone to tell us that. However, if we are praying our way through the day, seeking to glorify him through our actions, God will guide us.
E: Exercise Obedience
This is where it really gets scary.
After all, if God shows us the opportunities that we’re praying for, then we really do need to follow through. Stepping out in obedience—even at work—is what true Christ-followers are called to do.
It is not enough to be obedient in the “safe” places of church, family, or small group. Financial sacrifice to the church or time spent in church activities is important, but these are not our only callings.
Not sure about that? Then check the story of the downfall of King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:17-26 to see that obedience is better than sacrifice.
Jesus spent more time out in public (his “workplace”) where people needed him most, not in the synagogue. The workplace is also where the action is—not just the people there but also the work itself is your mission field.
S: See Others in God’s Image
In the first book of the Bible, it says: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).
We’ve heard this verse before, but let’s read it again with a small change:
- So God created my boss in his own image…
- So God created my difficult coworker in his own image…
- So God created the cleaning staff in his own image…
Those people who are frustrating to work with are not just “difficult people,” but they’re also special to God, created in his image.
When Jesus walked the earth, he especially took the time to reach out to those thought of as “less important” by society. Even when he was busy, Jesus found time for children, helping the underprivileged, spending time with outcasts, dining with tax collectors—he didn’t shy away from talking to anyone, not even prostitutes.
We need to do the same, regardless of the company structure or culture that classifies people by department, job type, education, position, and pay level. Those groupings might be useful for the company but it is by no means how we should see others at our work.
S: Serve Others
Not only did Jesus see others as loved by God and created in his image, he also viewed his own role as that of servant rather than master (Phil. 2:5-8).
In my last post, I shared a story about the Good Samaritan. No matter what our job is, our fellow employees are very much our neighbors—to love and to serve. This is true even if that “neighbor” sabotages your work, speaks ill about you behind our back, or makes your work life difficult.
Not an easy task.
Jesus was God in the flesh on earth, yet he stooped down to take on the job of a servant, even washing his disciples’ dirty, dusty and smelly feet—including those of his betrayer Judas Iscariot!
Being asked to serve others might be the most difficult of the five concepts contained in our word BLESS, but it is exactly where God wants to use us to reach others.
Editor’s note: This blog was co-authored by Roland Heersink and Dr. Szaszi Bene.
Learn more about a biblical perspective on work in How Then Should We Work?
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