What does it mean to live out your faith at work?
There are all sorts of cultural and practical hurdles wrapped up in this subject. Yet, we know that one of our core responses as believers is to share our hope with others. In fact, Jesus has commissioned us to do that (Acts 1:8, 2 Cor. 5:18-20).
At WorkMatters, we believe that our work is one of our primary mission fields. It is possibly our biggest venue for sharing our faith.
So how do we share our faith at work? This post will explore what it looks like to share your faith at work in two ways: with actions and with words.
Sharing your Faith with Your Actions: Distinctiveness
In Christ we are literally new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), positioned and capable of doing the good works that God has prepared for us (Eph. 2:10). We are being changed from the inside out, as God creates in us new character qualities in line with his character (Gal. 5:23-24), character qualities that are not natural in the hardscrabble world of work.
In other words, our faith should help us become distinct in our work. This distinctiveness is how we “share our faith” with our actions at work. It creates a platform for our words to be heard.
Depending on where you work, your distinctiveness might be immediately apparent or it might take a while to be revealed. For example, there is a world of difference between the party-hard culture of Wall Street and the more conservative corporate culture of Walmart. But whether readily apparent or not, our faith will make us distinct.
We are discussing this in the WorkMatters Institute, drawing wisdom from Tim Keller and his book, Every Good Endeavor. He suggests four broad ways that Christians can work with distinctiveness in the business world:
- Christians should be known not to be ruthless
- Christians should be known to be generous
- Christians should be calm and poised in the face of difficulty
- Christians should not be sectarian
The stories of one of our speakers in the WorkMatters Institute Executive Speaker Series helped flesh this out. She is a high-powered female executive in the international world of advertising and public relations – not an easy place to be a Christian. How did this look for her?
Christians should be known not to be ruthless:
“Bless people…treat them with grace and kindness. Do not be ugly with people. This is especially true when you have to let people go.”
Christians should be known to be generous:
“Whenever you have the opportunity to do good for others, you must do it.”
For this executive, her experience of giving led to a program within her firm that has created a culture of giving.
Christians should be calm and poised in the face of difficulty:
This executive had to weather the same storm that has shaped this generation of business – the financial crisis of 2008. She was able to get past the anxiety and uncertainty of the time and rally her team. The way that that she and her team navigated this time defined them as a company, and defined her as a leader.
Christians should not be partial:
This is core to our identity in Christ, and in the world of work there is ample opportunity to tear down the social or political boundaries that poison our workplace.
Most people would look at this list of qualities and agree that they are good business and people practices. They all benefit others and will benefit the organization. But the reality is that they are rarely consistent in the workplace. And when they are consistent in a person, that person becomes distinct.
How about you? What does it look like for your faith at work actions to look distinctive in your workplace?
Closing the gap,