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.   


David Rupert said...

One of the most marked things about the book of Acts is their boldness. If we have the answer, why are we so timid?

Wonderful post ESQ!

Halfmom said...

It is a wonderful post. I actually took a chance to tell someone about Jesus this past week - one of those crazy circumstances that you know is God engineered - young and quite bright postdoc sitting next to me on a bus coming back from a late dinner at a winery, you know Susan, the future is scary" - me, just thinking "are you kidding, God - now??" So - hopefully I answered well and some seeds were planted - but in hindsight, I sure wish I hadn't had a second glass of wine!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yeah, I agree. Great post.I think we have to learn to see everything in terms of the gospel. Our lives, spiritual formation/transformation. Etc. Everything. Because the gospel of God's kingdom and grace in Jesus indeed touches and in the end will transform the world.

But more down to earth: as you say to share our lives with people. And tell the story of Jesus. And of course of his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and new life. And seeking to do good works for others. By which they'll hopefully reach out in faith and receive from God (like the Roman centurion did).

I work at a Christian ministry, and do miss being in contact with nonChristians, though I try to reach out to the few who are there for whatever reason. We need to befriend them, and let them of the hope hopefully they'll see in us!

Yes, this is along the lines of what I was sharing with Deb on our walk. We must think in terms of mission, because in Jesus that is actually what we're all about.

Every Square Inch said...

David - thanks. I drew inspiration from your article.

Halfmom/Susan - what a great testimony of an open door for the gospel. No matter how you answered, the main thing is that you walked through it.

Ted - although a blessing, in some ways must be challenging working for a Christian ministry and having limited opportunities to share gospel at work.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, Yes, a great blessing indeed, and I appreciate that ministry more the longer I work there. But yes. You're not around nonChristians as a rule. Of course only Christians can work for the ministry.

But at the nursing home today I shared the gospel in word and song and at least one who was there doesn't know the Lord, as far as I know. And we live in a world of people all around us who don't know the Lord. So that hopefully I'm open to the Spirit and can be used by God to help them wherever they are in their spiritual journey.

Sam Van Eman said...

Seems that the word "winsome" is needed here too. There are people I never talk politics with and others with whom I do. I may disagree with both, but the one shoves while the other invites. A winsome sharer offers potentially controversial content while showing an equal amount of hospitality. I like this and it allow all of us to share the specifics of the Gospel without losing our jobs.