Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Forgotten Call - Gospel Proclamation in the Workplace

As Christians, we’re called to proclaim the gospel – the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection to secure eternal life to all who respond in faith to Him.   Yet, doing so in the workplace requires a rare blend of wisdom and courage.  In his article, Ditch the Safety Talk, Work Dangerously, David Rupert draws attention to the challenge that many Christians in the workplace face on a daily basis – the reluctance to proclaim the gospel in an increasingly secular workplace.

In my experience, Christians in the workplace will often mute or attenuate their Christian witness for fear of drawing a negative reaction from their co-workers or employer.   Yet, God has called all Christians to the holy task of gospel proclamation.   Ordinary Christians sharing the good news in both word and deed in every sphere of life is God’s appointed means to spread the good news.

So why are many Christians unable to do so effectively and what can we do to change this?    I have a few thoughts to offer (none original to me) –  

First, we must remind ourselves of the good news.   If some of us are honest, we’ll admit that we’ve functionally forgotten the essence of the gospel.  Many of us have been Christians for so long that we’ve forgotten why the gospel is good news in the first place.   Could it be that we’re reluctant to share the gospel because at some level, we’re not convinced of its essential value?   Friends, this is where we must start – to remember that sins forgiven and eternal life in the presence of God is not simply good news – it’s the best news of all.   We will have little inclination to share the gospel unless we live in the joy of it.

Second, we must pray.   In a recent Sunday sermon,  Mark Mullery, the senior pastor of my church,  made the following point  “talking to our friends about God starts with talking to God about our friends”.   I find that I become more attentive to the needs of those around me when I make a habit of praying for them.   I also become more aware of how God is at work in the lives of my co-workers to bring them to saving faith.

Finally, we need to exercise courageous wisdom.   Many of us succumb to what Proverbs calls the “fear of man” – a fear that we’ll be rejected or even reprimanded in a severe way for our faith.  Yet, we need to grapple with this reality – the call of the Christian is costly.   God will not excuse a cost/benefit analysis that finds obedience to Him wanting.   We have to take risks for the sake of the gospel and that means being willing to proclaim the good news whenever opportunity arises.  A great starting point for many of us is to simply stop censoring ourselves.   Instead of attenuating our Christian experience for the masses at work, we should simply speak honestly about our ordinary lives – how we spent Sunday, how we make parenting choices, how we cope with our fears and dreams.   If we’re living anything resembling a Christian lifestyle, it will undoubtedly provoke questions and conversations.    We need to be bold but we also need to be wise - "walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person" (Col 4:5-6).  

Simple as all this sounds, it isn’t easy. As I mentioned earlier, it takes a rare blend of courage and wisdom - the kind that you can’t muster up but thankfully, God by His grace, can supply.   

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Experience is not what happens to you.   It is what you do with what happens to you.   Don't waste your pain; use it to help others."

Dr. Rick Warren,  The Purpose Driven Life

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Without doubt, persons may very honestly and commendably be employed in following their respective callings, but yet, if they are engaged so deeply in these, as to hinder their working out their salvation with fear and trembling, they must expect  the same sentence with their predecessors in the parable, that none of them shall taste of Christ's supper: for our particular calling, as of this or that profession, must never interfere with our general and precious calling, as Christians."

George Whitefield,  Worldly Business No Plea for the Neglect of Religion (sermon)