The Long Walk of Love at Work
During my Bible college years my grandfather hired me as a summer worker in the government offices where he served as County Clerk. He moved me from department to department to fill in gaps as employees took their family vacations. I registered people to vote, transferred automobiles, sorted, filed, listened, watched and learned. But the things I learned might surprise you.
Some ladies in one department had an ingenious system that allowed each of them to attend sales at downtown clothing stores during working hours. Their strategy was as impressive as the tunnel project in the movie “The Great Escape.” They met daily in the break room, cigarettes and newspaper ads in-hand, to plan their runs down Main Street.
Down the hall a couple of men in another department knew the lunch schedules of some attractive ladies who worked in the bank across the street and timed their breaks so they could watch them walk by. They possessed an extensive repertoire of off-color jokes, and loved to brag about their popularity with women.
If I have led you to think my co-workers were bad people, I must apologize because nothing could be farther from the truth. As a matter of fact, they were very good people. I chalked their behavior up to boring, repetitive work, and as far as their crudeness, I had worked maintenance at a golf course and hotel in high school, so my experience in the courthouse was nothing new. Ok, so maybe my grandfather’s employees had a poor work ethic at times, but they cared deeply about others and about one another.
What does this have to do with how we treat the church in our discussions at work? The answer lies in a common human experience. We see it in Christ’s Bride. She is the body of Christ, made of many members, each drawing their redemption from the same Lord. Since believers are bound by this common grace, they love one another deeply. The apostle Paul expressed this principle in his letter to the Ephesians: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Although our relationships with co-workers may not be forged at the cross, they are similar in their expression. I have never worked in a place where people didn’t care about each other. Maybe they didn’t always treat each other as they should, and there were always a few adversaries in the mix, but most people sincerely cared for their co-workers. Chances are, in your workplace there are people who care for you, and because they care for you they also care about the people you care about. This means if you told your co-workers about a church friend who was battling a serious disease, they would hurt with you. They might even offer to say a prayer for your friend, regardless of whether they knew Christ or not.
Of course, in order to have this kind of relationship with others in the workplace we have to care about their relationships as well. And there are always those who want to keep their distance from serious conversations that might turn religious. But in general, people care about their co-workers, regardless of their relationship with the Lord.
You may still be wondering what our love for our church family has to do with our testimony at work? I believe when we share our lives with others in the workplace, and pass along stories of faith, hope and love from our church family, we make the Lord attractive. People we work with need to know our Christians friends are valuable to us, just as their friends are valuable to them. They need to understand, while we strive to understand God’s will and obey it in the church, we also thrive in an atmosphere of grace where we cheer each other on and lift each other up. This is likely our greatest commonality, and our best platform for sharing the love of Christ.