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Christians in “post,” post-modern America face challenges in the workplace unique to our time. Today’s polarized political environment, a slow-growing economy, and the continuing moral decay in our culture often complicate decisions on career choice and the path to success along the way.
The fact that Christianity is on the decline in America, down by eight percent from 2007-2014 according to the Pew Research Center, compounds the matter facing Christians in the workplace. If Christians are feeling less acceptance, increased tension, and even discrimination, it may be more than perception. It is understandable that many Christians have concerns about how living out their faith in the workplace might have a negative impact their careers. While others may cut corners and use unethical practices to climb the ladder of success, Christians are called to a higher purpose.
The question of how Christians can thrive in their careers in an environment that is increasingly “out of step,” or at times, hostile to their faith can be answered through looking to Scripture and adhering to three practical principles.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus states, “You are the light of the world.” This calling is followed by the imperative in verse 16, “… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”
The Bible is clear on expectations for Christians as we live out our lives and careers.
Let’s consider following these three principles to support us on this journey:
- The Christian’s work should be characterized by respect.
Ephesians 6:5 states, “…obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Christians should work to please their “ultimate boss.” Focusing on being a productive, dedicated, and trustworthy employee is foundational to representing our faith in any workplace or career.
- Christians should take part in community.
Our Christian “walk” should be alongside those with whom we work and live. Christians should live out their faith in a way that easily integrates with the workplace culture. It is how we walk with others that should stand out as different from “non-believers.” It is through relating to and working with others that we have the opportunity to display evidence of a transformed heart.
- Keep it simple and be transparent.
As Christians, we know that God can use small things in mighty ways. In fact, in his power and sovereignty, he doesn’t need us at all! With this in mind, focus on simple things like being an empathetic listener, showing compassion to others, and being a faithful friend. Rather than force people into conversation about faith, be open to relate how God has worked in your life in plain and simple language, avoiding the use of Christian jargon. Strive to respond with grace and kindness in challenging situations when most others would do otherwise.
The Christian life offers rewards far greater than career success, advancement, or fulfillment. Psalm 37 tells us:
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:1-4 (NIV)
We give thanks that God’s Word offers this encouragement as a reminder for those who face the challenges of handling matters of faith in a cut-throat culture.