Jesus and Your Job

by Mar 26, 2007

fpi703260312v2_b_thumbnail.jpgThe Honolulu Advertiser carried this story about Christians who refuse to leave their beliefs behind when they go to work:

Individual business owners are often the ones who take the lead in incorporating their faith. At Bob Nelson’s Mazda dealerships, for example, faith is both an overt expression and a way of doing business.

Tuesday mornings at the lot in Antioch, Tenn., salesmen and women gather for a weekly prayer and Bible study.

Nelson doesn’t require his workers to attend or be Christian. But he does counsel his sales force to be honest, a core spiritual value that spans religions.

But it’s not just the bosses who are bringing Jesus to their jobs:

Individual employees, such as SunTrust banker Hank Miles, are trying on their own to walk their faith in their workday lives.

“I try for it not to be a switch. I’ve got one life. I’m not Hank Miles, the Christian, on Sundays and Hank Miles, a banker divorced from his Christian beliefs, on Monday.”

But it’s not always easy.

“I’ve had lunch with some co-workers and shared my faith, and it was really awkward for them. I’ve tried not to make people uncomfortable, but the word of Jesus either repels or attracts. It’s not neutral,” he said.

One side of me twinges when I read this. I’m a big believer in patient evangelism: it’s the Holy Spirit who draws people to Jesus, not us, so most times it pays to wait until we see evidence of God’s work in a person’s heart before we start talking about propitiation and substitutionary atonement.

Still, Hank has a point. Jesus never hid his true intentions and demands from people. As we’ve seen in our Sunday studies of John’s gospel, Jesus sometimes actively offended and even repelled people with crazy ramblings about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in order to be saved. But other times he fed them dinner (along with 5,000 of their closest friends) and told them nothing about the gospel.

Somewhere there’s a balance between pounding people over the head with a King James Pulpit Edition Bible, and living mouselike lives as nice, polite Christians, hoping that coworkers will oneday notice something different about us and suddenly ask us how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

I like how Paul balanced humility and audacity when he brought Jesus along to his job as adjunct professor of philosophy at the Areopagus university in Athens:

Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17)