Tabletalk Subscription
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining.You've accessed all your free articles.
Unlock the Archives for Free

Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.

Try Tabletalk Now

Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?

Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.

{{ error }}Need help?

The majority of adults in the United States spend roughly half their waking hours at work. But many Christians don’t know how to live out their faith at work. What does it mean to be salt and light in the midst of a busy job?

The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:10–12 provides three clear exhortations about how we should go about our work, followed by two reasons why we should do this:

We urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

“Aspire to live quietly.” This initial exhortation seems more urgent than ever before. The world around us has turned into an ever-louder place. Polite civil conversation has frequently been replaced by loud shouting matches. Thoughtful reasoning has given way to Twitter-like sound bites—and Christians are far too often right in the middle of it. Some are eager to argue about whatever the topic of the day is. Yet when it comes to sharing the gospel, many are shy and quiet. Thankfully, some Christians are bold evangelists at their workplaces and are quick to share the one message that this dying world needs to hear. Still, even some workplace evangelists need to learn to be quiet at times.

This was something I had to learn back in the days when I used to work in business and sought to evangelize my colleagues with many words. Often, I was persistent and extended my lunch break just to give a few more arguments for why my colleagues should follow my example and trust in Jesus. What I didn’t realize was that my example at work wasn’t very impressive. I was quick to speak but at times neglected my work responsibilities.

Sometimes a few words about our faith are enough, and then we should go back and faithfully do our work. The words that the Apostle Peter wrote to Christian wives regarding their husbands might be pretty good advice for those who are neglecting their work to evangelize. We should strive to win others without words; it should make an impression “when they see [our] respectful and pure conduct” (1 Peter 3:2). We should “aspire to live quietly.” If we are marked by such general restraint, the gospel will sound forth much more powerfully once we open our mouths to speak about our Lord and Savior.

Furthermore, we should “mind [our] own affairs” (1 Thess. 4:11). Christians shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of others. We should not gossip and try to know everything better. We should be single-minded about what God has given us to do. Obviously, it is fine to be distracted by seeing people in need and then to come alongside them. This is not what Paul is talking about. Yet we all know how easy it is to get pulled into things that shouldn’t be our concern.

Christians shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of others. We should not gossip and try to know everything better.

Finally, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians “to work with your hands.” This is a call to diligence at work. The Thessalonians expected the immediate return of Christ. In their excitement and eager anticipation, they neglected their work. But such idleness isn’t pleasing to God. While very few Christians today will go so far, some might be tempted to think that it might be pleasing to God if they do the bare minimum at work in order to have more time to do what they consider to be more significant things for God. This is probably well intentioned, but it is not what God’s Word teaches us. Think about the instruction Paul gives to servants:

Obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (Col. 3:22–23)

Our job at work is to be quiet, to mind our own business, and to work diligently and faithfully.

We should do all this so that we “may walk properly before outsiders”—in other words, so that we will be salt and light at our workplaces. After all, most of us will work surrounded by non-Christians. The way we go about our work will be an important aspect of our witness. God will use our diligent work to provide for us so that we may “be dependent on no one.” Instead, we will be able to make up for what may be lacking in the diligence of others, and we will be able to help those who are in need. All this will strengthen our Christian witness and might well be used by God to draw others to Himself.

The Salt of Seasoned Speech

Above Reproach: Inside and Out

Keep Reading Salt and Light

From the July 2022 Issue
Jul 2022 Issue