Thursday, May 12, 2011

Witness at Work

I'm very lucky when it comes to my office.  The guys I work with are all very nice, and have been nothing but helpful to me since I've started.  Excluding my position, there's been virtually zero turnover amongst my dozen coworkers.  My boss is amazing, and it's a largely Christian office.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from wanting to be a good witness at work.  Though the vast majority of my office is professing Christians, I stand out as openly evangelical.  Not bringing shame on my faith through my actions is very important to me.

Plus, we've almost all had that Christian co-worker.  You know the one.  She (it's usually a woman) sends mass e-mail forwards about alleged government attacks on Christian's religious freedoms, uses prayer requests as excuses to gossip, and goes on and on about her church's bake sale when you really wish she'd just return that document you asked her to work on a month ago.

I never want to be that woman.  So I walk that fine line between being a closet Christian and just being obnoxious.  I'm not saying this will work for everyone, but here's how I've worked it out for me, at my work:

Be a good employee.  This should be obvious.  But too often people are put-off by people who claim to be Christians but who are unreliable, or lazy.  I'm normally the first one at my desk in the morning, and I work quickly and thoroughly.  This isn't only a matter of achieving career success; it's bearing good witness.  "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men." ~ Colossians 3:23

Have a good attitude.  I'm certainly guilty of failing on this count too often.  For whatever reason, when we're having a crappy time, it feels good to complain about it.  Misery shared is lighter, I suppose.  But we're supposed to be filled with the joy of Christ.  And who wants to be a Christian if we always seem miserable? 

This also covers gossipping and general politeness.  Though I hate taking any blame when I feel something isn't my fault, when mistakes are made, I have to explain myself in such a way as to not attempt to shift blame on other people.  And, even though government employees are supposed to be awful to work with, I try to always be as upbeat and friendly as possible in my dealings with the public.  If they're having to call around to state agencies for information, they're probably already having a worse day than me.

Talk about your faith...but talk about other things, too.  Being a Christian is the largest part of my identity.  But it's not all my identity.  Remember the hypothetical person we were discussing earlier?  She's also the one who will turn any conversation into a talk about Jesus, even if you're just asking whether or not anyone wants to order pizza for lunch.  Not that I don't discuss my faith at work; I certainly do.  But I don't make such an effort to work it into conversations that the discussion becomes awkward and fake.

For instance, on Monday mornings, when we talk about our weekends, I'll mention something I especially enjoyed about Sunday's church service.  Most of my co-workers know from general conversation that I meet with two other women from church for Bible Study on Wednesday nights.  And through talks with my boss I found out that his daughter also volunteers in Moores Square from time to time.  But I don't feel the need to use every conversation to remind my co-workers that I'm a Christian.  If I'm living the right way, it should be obvious.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really nice article. By the way, EVERYONE hates those "holier-than-thous"!

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