There are a lot of folks today discussing how their work and their workplace can be more meaningful. I am a strong advocate for the fact that wherever we work ought to be a platform for us to do ministry. That doesn’t mean that we break laws in “evangelizing” – it does mean that we live out the Christian faith in our workplace.
We must fulfill our responsibility to give 100% effort to produce excellent work. But in that framework, we must remember a greater opportunity. Jesus said, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27). That recognizes the real purpose for our work.
God is as present in the workplace as He is in the church building. Instead of bringing your work to church, try bringing church to your work. The workplace is the test for living out what we do in worship.
An important part of improving our work environment is first getting to know the people with whom we work. A lot of organizations have people working who don’t know the person who works two or three cubicles away. Some supervisors don’t know the names of people for whom they are responsible. Relationships form a great opportunity for ministry.
Everybody comes to work each day with a different agenda. Sometimes people are up, and sometimes they are down. Real ministry occurs when we can be sensitive to know when we need to rejoice with a person or stand beside them through a tough time.
I read a sad account reported by the BBC on January 19, 2004. A Finnish tax office official died at his desk. He worked with 30 colleagues and no one noticed that he was dead for two days!
The story said, “The man in his 60s died last Tuesday while checking tax returns, but no one realized he was dead until Thursday. Co –workers had assumed the dead man – a tax auditor – was simply poring over returns.”
It is hard to conceive that somebody you work with could die and nobody know it. That could never happen where vital relationships are formed and nurtured. The article did say that new office procedures would be put into place.
We should not need office procedures. We should “do for others what we would want them to do for us.” We should treat every person as a true child of God. Since we spend more time at work than anywhere else, it is the place where we are most intentional about practicing our faith.
We receive a paycheck from the company for which we work. The best paycheck comes from the One who owns it all when He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25:23).
The big question: How big is your real paycheck?