Several years ago, some co-workers dropped in without any warning at the weekly small group gathering for Christians in our company. We were pleasantly surprised, of course, and asked what prompted them to join our group. They shared about a Christian co-worker who had been their supervisor for a few months on an assignment in another province in the Philippines. They were amazed by the way this brother conducted himself — he was a person of honesty and integrity, he showed that he cared for his people and he pursued excellence in his work. They also noticed that he had been with our small group before they went together on that assignment and came to the conclusion that there must have been something in what we were doing together that influenced the life of this brother. They came to us because they wanted to be like him. They saw Jesus in and through his life.
When the subject of influencing the world for Christ comes up the first images that flash into the minds of many believers often include Christian celebrities who use their status to affect change, massive evangelism events and big churches with outreach programs. The Lord may use such highly visible means but He often works in many other invisible ways to reveal His Kingdom to a lost world.
We often judge the success of what we are doing by its visibility and size. But somehow God’s economy seems to work differently. Jesus often illustrated influence for His Kingdom using the picture of small seeds falling to the ground or being sown in a field, a lamp on a hillside or grains of salt on a plate of food (Matt. 5:13-16; 13:1-42). Perhaps Jesus is saying that it is in the small deeds of “ordinary” Christians in everyday life more than the big people, the big events and the big programs that He and His Kingdom will be revealed.
Many people today, particularly those in post-modern societies, look for truthfulness and authenticity. It is easy to be good on stage, performing before an audience, but it is in the everyday trappings of real life that the true person is revealed and Christ is seen. This seems so slow and insignificant to many Christians today but it is Jesus’ way of establishing His Kingdom. You may not be a celebrity or a gifted public speaker but as you grow in living out Christ where you are – in your office, home and community – take heart! If you are working in your present job out of a desire to serve God through that work and if you are living a life consumed by love for your co-worker, friend or client you are making Christ visible to an unbelieving world.
Robert Fraser, author of Marketplace Christianity has this to say:
The strategy of heaven has never been to take important, rich, educated, brilliant and gifted people and through them convince the world that God has a better idea. God took the poor, the uneducated, the inarticulate and the slaves. He put in them a hope and a love that surpassed anything ever seen, and within three centuries that primitive Christianity – the faith of slaves, the poor and the uneducated – conquered the greatest empire the earth has seen.1
… As a young man I preached open-air, handed out tracks, set-up booths on campus, held on-campus Bible studies, performed servant evangelism, participated in debates and concerts, hosted meals for international students and knocked on doors… But none of it was as effective as what took place years later in my business.
Within five years, dozens of people were saved and the Lord touched hundreds who drew closer to knowing him. As real friendships developed between employees and with customers, the gospel surfaced as a topic of legitimate conversation. Unlike non-relational evangelism, such as my open-air preaching and handing out tracts, this interaction was natural, comfortable and easy. Many believers, not just the bold ones, freely shared their lives and testimonies. I discovered that evangelism is totally different in the context of friendship. When a non-believer works alongside a believer and observes him or her truly “working as for the Lord” as it says in Colossians 3:23, their hearts open up. Trust develops. Personal testimonies, though rough and unpolished, carry weight when people know and respect the Christian people who speak them. Authentic faith in the context of genuine relationship never fails to deeply impact hearts.2
1. What fears do you have in being a witness for Christ where you work?
2. In what “small” ways can you be an expression of God’s love where you work? How can such “small” deeds done in the Spirit’s power help open hearts for Christ?
3. How can you develop authentic relationships with non-believers at work?
1 Fraser, Robert, Marketplace Christianity (Overland Park, KS: New Grid Publishing), p. 115.
2 Fraser, Marketplace Christianity, p. 29.