1 Peter 3:15 — But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …
Randy Kilgore is an executive with Marketplace Network, an association of people interested in the integration of faith and work. Randy has often asked non-Christians this intriguing question: “What are the main things you want from co-workers who claim to be Christians?” Here are the top responses:
1. Answers To Faith Questions. First: “I wish my Christian co-workers … knew more about their faith—what they believe and why.” When an unbeliever asks a believing co-worker some faith questions, they are looking for a thoughtful, substantive answer rather than an embarrassed or hurried response. They really want to know what we believe and why.
2. Hope In Hard Times. Here’s the second one: “I wish my Christian co-workers … had more hope in hard times.” When unsettling things happen in the world and when unsettling things happen in our personal worlds, people look to Christians to be brokers of hope, strength and courage.
3. Honorable Behavior. “I wish my Christian co-workers … behaved more honorably.” No one expects perfection, but if we claim to be Christians people do expect a distinction. In other words, don’t let the office flirt, the office gossip, the office hothead or the office slacker be you.
Randy lists the types of honorable behavior that make a difference:
* Tell the truth. Always.
* Say “we” more than “I”.
* When a coworker’s being unjustly criticized by a manager, speak up.
* When you lose your temper with somebody, apologize.
* Go out of your way to make the newcomer feel welcome.
* Don’t cover up your mistakes. Admit them.
* Never sell them more than they need.
* Admire and praise good work by others.
* Ask people questions.
* Listen when people talk to you.
* When you have a right to lose your cool, don’t.
* Do your job better than yesterday.
* Be loyal to your workers even when they don’t deserve it.
* Be loyal to your managers even when they don’t deserve it.
* Never see “how little” you can hire a worker for.
4. Exemplary Compassion. “I wish my Christian co-workers … were more compassionate.” And especially is this noticed when dealing with co-workers who do not share the Christian faith or the Christian moral ethic. I think the apostle Peter’s encouragement was to be “gentle and respectful.” Be passionate about your faith, but be passionate and compassionate towards those who are not where you are just yet.
Don’t these four points make for an interesting list? I think so. They didn’t say, “I wish Christians would keep their faith to themselves.” They didn’t say, “I wish Christians would bend the rules a bit to close a deal.”
So, what would unbelievers, generally speaking, like to see from believers in the workplace? That we would respond with depth when asked about our faith, that we would bring a measure of hope and positive energy to trying situations, that we would shine through our character & work ethic, and that we would be respectful of those who see things differently than we do.
We can do this. With God’s help, we can do this.
Philippians 2:15 — Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.