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“…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15
The work/marketplace is a critical space to invade for the Lord and not a place to avoid or shy away from. This is because the scripture clearly tells us that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Just as Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, our passion must be to seek out the precious souls that are at our workplaces to the end that they may be saved.
Examples from Scripture
Jesus met more than one-third of his disciples at their places of work (Matthew, Peter, James, John and Andrew). Elijah met Elisha at his place of work and Moses was about his work when God encountered him at the burning bush. David was also at work when God sent Samuel to anoint him as King over Israel in place of Saul.
Note that in all these cases, God never waited for them to return from work or go to the temple before encountering them with His divine plan. So, what makes us think that the work or business setting is an unsuitable place for engaging people with the gospel of Christ?
Remember that God calls us the light of the world not the light of the church. We are the salt of the earth not just the salt of our church family or local assembly. Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, Boaz, the midwives in Eygpt and Obadiah (Ahab’s government official) are also examples of people who used their work and business/career platforms to brightly shine the light of God to the people they worked with. How about you?
Ministry Opportunities in the workplace
Urbanization, globalization and modern civilization have made life to be so different from what it used to be. More people are beginning to spend more time in their workplace and in work related travels/transit than they do at home or anywhere else. The possibility of engaging unsaved people with the gospel in their workplace and getting a successful outcome is now higher than the chances of waiting to engage them in church or places of worship. This is because many of such people are becoming so busy with work they do not attend church regularly, while others may never even come to church due to their different worldview or religious beliefs.
Note the following opportunities we have for Ministry in the workplace
- We meet all kinds of people at the workplace all the time. It is such a huge opportunity that we do not have to start looking for people to share our Faith with. The work environment already affords us the golden opportunity to have access to different people every day.
- We have the privilege of spending a significant part of our lives (long hours every day for many years) with colleagues and other people at work. Some, for as long as 35 years work in a single place (jobs like medical practice, military, teaching, etc. are good examples of this). This rare opportunity is potential capital for earning long term trust and friendly acceptance which can serve as a good foundation for our witnessing engagement with people in the workplace.
- People are likely to be less defensive and less critical in the workplace compared to when they are engaged at home or with their family. They are also likely to have a more neutral and open mind towards issues concerning their spiritual state.
- People in work settings are likely to be more willing to listen to a colleague share the gospel with them. This is so because there is already an expected level of professional relationship and /or friendship in most cases.
- The workplace offers a practical platform for us to prove what we believe by the quality of our lives. Our responses to the day to day challenges that people see us face are opportunities to display the light of Christ. It is not a place where we can pretend so people can see who we are (as children of God) for real.
Tips for sharing the Gospel in the workplace
- Prayer: It is best to talk to God about people before we try to talk to people about God. People are very different hence we need prayers to find the right approach and the right words to share at the right time with the right person.
- Building friendships: Good courtesy and a friendly attitude are vital for winning people. It gives the conversation a natural flow and freely opens the person up to what we have to say. This requires humility and a respectful attitude to everyone around our workspace regardless of their class, grade level, pedigree or social status. This may take some time, but it will be worth it if we remain patient and focused.
- Love: The love of God is what will keep us praying for people even when they may not deserve it. The scripture says love never fails. Love is willing to make sacrifices in giving and sharing to make people’s lives better rather than being selfish and self-centred. It is difficult for anyone to consistently resist genuine love. The love of God in us constrains us from holding back the gospel from those people who are still in darkness at our workplaces. It moves us with compassion to pray and seek ways of reaching out to them.
- Relying on the Holy Spirit: We need the Spirit’s help to discern the right time and place to speak and for the enabling empowerment to minister boldly with life changing results and testimonies.
- Trustworthiness and uprightness of character: A great example of this is the blameless attitude of Daniel among his colleagues, in Daniel 6 : 4.
- Excellence / exceptional competence in all that we do: This is a major means by which our colleagues and clients (at the marketplace or workplace) will get to know the kind of God we serve. The picture of God that is painted by our lives as captured in the quality of our work can go a long way to affect whether they will want to receive the gospel or not. Bear in mind the following scriptures concerning excellence.
You are the light of the world, A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3
In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel. Psalm 76:1
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
There is a man in thy Kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods… Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation. Dan. 5:11,12
And Pharaoh said to his servants, can we find a man like this, in whom is the spirit of God? Gen. 41:38
Things to note and avoid
To ensure our good-intentioned and well-meaning efforts to reach our colleagues/clients at the workplace are not barren of positive outcomes, it is important to watch out against the following things and avoid them.
- Critical/ judgemental attitude that condemns people and never sees anything good in them.
- Misplacing priorities by using official / work hours to engage people when busy at work.
- Giving up on the salvation of anyone.
- Giving in to fear or timidity
- Meaningless arguments.
- Lacking in confidentiality – sharing other people’s personal lives with others.
In conclusion, go ye into all the world is still the divine command to all believers. Are you playing your part in the world where God has placed you? Oftentimes, we bear a burden for the salvation of people in distant lands when those closest to us are dying and wallowing in darkness. May we arise today and be shining Lights for the Lord in our diverse places of work. AMEN