Something bothers me when people discuss the subject of Christians and their work. You see, I frequently hear about Christians who are poor workers. Some employers have even told me that they prefer not to hire Christians. That’s quite an indictment. As I probe for reasons, I hear the following:
Attitude. Christian employees are negative, critical, presumptuous, and resistant to change. And they tend to take advantage of Christian bosses. Competence. The last few I’ve hired were incompetent—they couldn’t do the job. Focus. They’re preoccupied with other things, including witnessing and church activities and relationships unrelated to the workplace. Character. The last one I hired was just plain dishonest.
Hopefully these represent only a small minority of workers who profess Christ. But show me a lazy, negative Christian on the job, and I’ll show you an office or store or shop that’s uninterested in the message of Christ. Like it or not, the world scrutinizes us with the watchfulness of a seagull peering at shrimp in shallow water. A believer at work is under constant surveillance. That’s our number one occupational hazard. And when we speak of our Savior and the life He offers, others filter our words through what they have already observed in our work.
The best platform on which to build a case for Christianity in the workplace rests on seven massive pillars: integrity, faithfulness, punctuality, competence, attitude, diligence, and enthusiasm. Hire a person committed to these, and before long business will improve, people will be impressed, and Christianity will begin to seem important. Scripture for that? How about 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.“
Or Colossians 3:17:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Or Matthew 5:16:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Or numerous verses in James’s letter that say, in effect, solid works validate genuine faith. Right belief and right behavior are joined at the hip.
Each one of us will do a better job if we live out our belief that the Scriptures make no distinction between sacred and secular. Titus 1:15 says, “To the pure all things are pure.” That means one’s Monday-through-Friday employment is pure. It’s sacred—just as sacred as Sunday activities. To the Christian all of life is sacred. Paul wasn’t writing only to preachers when he expressed these immortal words: “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Eph. 4:1).
I once heard a man introduce himself as “an ordained plumber.” He correctly understood that his work was his calling. So is yours. Matter of fact, it’s your ordained responsibility . . . your pulpit. Say, how’s your Monday-morning ministry coming along?
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now Chancellor Emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.