Who knew writing a blog post could be so hard? Every time I researched a topic I hit the same walls. How could I say it any better? Do I actually have enough knowledge to speak to this? Instead of tackling some theological debate or major life issue, I have chosen to share something I’ve been facing in my own life.
Until recently, my employment had only involved interaction with believers, which I am very thankful for. Being immersed into the realm of retail last fall was a new experience. My exposure to the world and unbelievers reached a new level as I entered that environment as a minority, my faith being what set me apart. I’ve had to wrestle through what being a Christian looks like in a new way. For the first time I’ve had to come to terms with the possibility of my belief having a negative effect on my job.
Honestly, for being in a worldly environment, it’s less hostile than many workplaces. But naturally, when your boss doesn’t serve the same Master, it’s not going to be perfect. I’m constantly given opportunities to take the high road. For example, there are times when I have the opportunity to speak truth in a personal conversation with my boss, a decision to be made when a coworker suggests we take the easy way when nobody’s looking, a loneliness in choosing to obey a rule that nobody else does. Doing the right thing in these situations could have a negative result, whether in my relationships with my coworkers or my standing with my boss. The hard part isn’t knowing what the right course of action is, it’s taking the action itself. For these moments, I have created three statements of truth that I repeat to myself (Psalm 15:2).
- “I may be the only Bible these people ever read.” According to Christianity Today, one in five North Americans don’t know a believer. Many of the people I pass on any given day don’t even know who Jesus is. When I interact with coworkers and customers, my life may well be the only testimony to Christ they encounter. Am I living up to that? The way we live shows people who we are serving as our Master (Matthew 5:16).
- “Will my silence speak truth?” When those around me are speaking untruth about life or morality, are having conversations that are not honorable, or verbally contemplate doing something that defies their Creator, how do I react? Even though I may not participate, I can do more. They won’t know the truth if I sit there passively. Though not every situation requires the same measure of boldness, it’s often needed more than our fear of man tells us it is. Ephesians 5:16 reminds us to be “making the most of every opportunity” in our lives here on earth. What are we here for? To bring God glory, and spreading truth is a vital way of doing that (Ephesians 4:29, Acts22:15).
- “Who actually gave me this job?” This last one has been the most impactful for me. It’s easy to fear my boss. She herself has advised us to remember that we owe her our jobs. It’s easy to pour my energy into a task to receive her approval. Though we are commanded to submit to authority and to perform our work to the best of our ability, what is the reason? The answer to this can produce joy and a sense of accomplishment in our work, regardless of who our boss is. Why do we submit? God has placed those people in authority. Even when I don’t think my boss deserves my respect, my responsibility doesn’t change. God has placed me under her authority, so in honoring her I am honoring Him. Romans 13:1-7 says “Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” When my boss gives me a task, I have two options. I can do just enough to suffice, or I can go the extra mile. Of course, the second choice is the right one, but there are two different possible motives behind it. If pleasing and getting praise is the motive, then pride is really the reason. But if doing my work “unto the Lord” and pleasing Him is the motive, that is honorable (Colossians 3:23). The result of the first motive is unreliable. A boss may not give praise or even notice. The result of the second is sure: the Lord always notices. But even if I bring glory to Him in my work, that doesn’t mean my job will always be secure. Even though my boss holds the power to fire me if she feels like it, nothing is outside of God’s control. He gave me this job, and if it is taken away, He can provide another. The only reason I am able to work is because of the ability He gave me. So I respect and obey my boss, but in the end I know God is in control of the situation.
I still fail in these every day, but repeating the truth to myself is great encouragement and motivation. Though I’ve applied these truths toward my workplace, they are applicable to any position, role, or stage of life. No matter what we’re doing or where we are, our identity as a Christian doesn’t change. Whether it’s our interaction with a family member, another mom at the Y, or a fellow classmate – we are Christ’s representatives here on Earth. We may be met with opposition now, but our reward is in the life to come.
Haven Bush, a member of FCC for the past ten years, serves in Awana, children’s Sunday school, and nursery. She is part of the Kevin Bush family and is engaged to Jonathan Minner.