There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!” — Abraham Kuyper 1
I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.” Making the claim can quickly change the dynamics of one’s workplace. People may see you differently and not always positively. Saying you are a Christian may subject you to other people’s labels, prejudices,
Knowing that reality and knowing Christ’s claim as Sovereign over all, I have asked and wanted to understand what it means to be a Christian in the workplace. I suspect that many believers ask that question as Sunday turns to Monday. Yet everyone’s workplace is different and dynamics are never static, even for individuals working similar jobs for the same company. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
For most of my professional life, I have worked in large office settings. Currently I am operating my own small business. In each workplace, however, I have asked, what does it mean to be a follower of Christ here in this place? How do I represent Jesus in the office? For me, Paul’s comment to the Corinthians about being “ambassadors for Christ” has been helpful in considering these questions and learning how to implement answers.
Creating a Place
When one country establishes an embassy in another, the embassy grounds are considered the soil of the home country, not that of the host country. The ambassador posted to the embassy represents the sovereign of his home country to the citizens of the host country. As Christians, we are told that “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” so that others may “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).2 With this in mind I’ve chosen to view my office as an embassy of the kingdom of God. How does this work?
To establish that outpost or embassy, I first began thanking God for the physical place where I worked, for the work that I had to do, and for the people, colleagues, and clients with whom I worked. I also prayed that when people walked into my office they would experience a tangible difference, that when they came through my door they would sense a peace and calmness even in the busyness of our work. I wanted stepping into my office to be like stepping onto the soil of God’s kingdom. I knew there was nothing I myself could do to make that happen, but I believed God could do it and that people would notice the difference.
I also made a very conscious decision not to hang religious pictures, have a Bible out on my desk, or speak using “Christian” jargon. In Washington, DC, where I work, such things can be seen as off-putting political statements. Too often, what we say using Christian jargon creates barriers. Though we may intend blessing, the language may prompt others to throw up their defenses. I do not want that. And, as I observe Jesus through Scripture, He did not intend that either. Like an ambassador, I want to be able to speak of my homeland and its King while using the language of the country where my embassy is located. In being Christ’s ambassador, I want to speak plainly and draw people to His kingdom and not suggest it is a foreign place where they are not welcome.
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