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Attributes of a Workplace Witness, Part I

  • Os Hillman In the Workplace
  • 2009 30 Nov
Attributes of a Workplace Witness, Part I

If I were to ask you to describe the core attributes of a person who exemplifies God's ideal for a Biblical worker, what might you say? Over the last several years I have observed individuals in whom God is doing a special work and using them to impact their sphere of influence. I have discovered four key attributes that are consistent in this person. And, I believe these attributes are God's ideal for the Spirit-led worker today.

So, let's take a look at four qualities exhibited by workplace leaders who are transforming their workplaces for Christ.

1. Called to Excellence - It Makes a Difference

…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts (Exodus 31:2).

Several years ago I published a magazine devoted to Christians in the workplace.

When I gave a copy of the magazine to a friend he looked at it and said, "This doesn't even look like a Christian magazine." What was this man saying? He was saying that products many Christians produce tend to be less than the world's quality. It was an indictment on the work ethic of a group of people - Christians.  

One of the four core ways we can impact the workplace for Christ is by doing our work with excellence. A follower of Jesus should be a worker that exemplifies excellence in how they perform their work. Bezalel was a man hand-picked by God to perform an important work - to design and build the Ark of the Covenant. In fact, Bezalel was the first man in the Old Testament described as being filled with the Spirit of God.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship (Ex 31:1-6).  

I can only imagine the type of carpentry that Jesus produced in his carpentry shop. I can imagine people in Nazareth saying that their table was made by Jesus of Nazareth and that craftsmanship was exceptional and would last a lifetime. I cannot conceive that Jesus would produce anything less.  

Daniel, the Model Worker  

" It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom." (Dan 6:1-3).

Notice in this passage that Daniel was an administrator over 120 satraps in the Persian government of King Darius. Daniel was the model civic worker. He did his job well and that is why he was respected by his boss and became the source of jealousy by the other workers.

One of the easiest ways to discredit Christ in the workplace is for us to do our work with less than excellence. In order to gain the right kind of attention and reputation our work should stand apart because we do our work unto the Lord. "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" (Col 3:17).

Doing quality work will not be the primary means of winning others to Christ, but it can disqualify us very quickly from ever having the opportunity to present Christ in a positive light. Go the extra mile when necessary. Make the effort to serve those around you. So, when you do your work, do it with excellence.  

2.  Ethics and Integrity - It's Your Foundation  

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom (Ps 51:6).

In December 1983, The Princeton Religion Research Center published a landmark survey conducted for The Wall Street Journal by the Gallup Organization. The researchers measured a wide range of moral and ethical behaviors, such as calling in sick when not sick, cheating on income tax, and pilfering company supplies for personal use. The results were disappointing, to say the least.

But what the researchers found most startling was that there was no significant difference between the churched and the unchurched in their ethics and values on the job. In other words, despite the fact that more and more people attend churches, churches seem to be having less and less of an impact on the moral fiber of their people, at least in the workplace. To quote the researchers:

"These findings...will come as a shock to the religious leaders and underscore the need for religious leaders to channel the new religious interest in America not simply into religious involvement but in deep spiritual commitment."

Thomas Linacre, Henry VIII's doctor and Renaissance thinker, after given the four gospels in Greek made the following statement: "Either these are not the gospels, or we're not Christians." Five years later Martin Luther hammered some church theses to a church door, and the Protestant Reformation began. St. Francis Assisi once said, "Preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words."

I believe Satan's number one strategy is to defeat Christians in the workplace, make them ineffective in their workplace witness and divide Christians by keeping them apart. His goal is to create disunity and division within the body of Christ. This is why many cite they would rather not do business with a Christian. Satan is winning this battle. We need a paradigm shift within the body of Christ among workplace believers.

I believe this trend will change as we become better equipped to see our work as a ministry and calling. We have so segmented our work lives from our faith lives that we have allowed the culture to encourage us that ethics and integrity are not important when compared to the bottom line. That is why we got into the problem with the Enron's and Worldcom's of the world. Remember, integrity is defined by what you do when no one is looking. 

Originally posted September 2008.

Next week: Attributes of a Workplace Witness, Part II 

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