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I have a Christian friend who works in human resources for a large financial services institution. She recently shared with me that, for the sake of diversity and inclusion, employees are now strictly prohibited from discussing matters of religion in the office. “If I’m not allowed to speak about Jesus Christ or share the gospel with my coworkers,” she asked, “then how am I to be a Christian in such a place at all?” Perhaps you too have faced similar challenges. What would you say in reply to my friend?

Before answering too quickly, we must remember several biblical principles. First, the Bible does not explicitly tell us what to do in every single circumstance. The moral law reveals a general framework of the obedience that God requires. But each Christian needs to apply God’s Word to his own individual situation discerningly and prayerfully. The way of wisdom typically isn’t black and white but rather is a matter of navigating the gray. If we’re going to find ways of being faithful witnesses for Christ in this strange new world, then we’re going to need to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” as the Lord Jesus taught us (Matt. 10:16).

Second, work itself glorifies God. This principle is enshrined in creation. God’s pattern of work during the first six days was intended to teach us creatures how to work for His glory. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). As Adam woke up each morning and went out to cultivate the earth, protecting that pristine temple, he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do. Likewise, the primary way that we glorify God at work is by using the talents and abilities that He has given to us in order to fulfill the work He has placed in our hands (1 Cor. 10:31).

Third, we shouldn’t discount the evangelistic power of Christian character. If I want my coworkers to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, then what in my life will demonstrate to them that He is my Lord and Savior? Apart from explicit witness, does my overall way of speaking and interacting with others reveal a heart that has been made new by Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:34; Luke 6:45)? Do I exemplify a core humility (Ps. 34:2; 1 Peter 5:5)? Do I exhibit self-control, especially with regard to my professional strengths, keeping myself from overwork by protecting time for family, church, and neighbors (Phil. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:7)? Do my colleagues sense that I genuinely care for them and their well-being (Titus 2:14; 1 John 3:16)? All these behavioral patterns silently bear “loud” witness to others about what matters the most in our lives.

Take courage, Christian employee, and let your light shine before others. It can’t be hidden.

By this particular approach, we are considering ways to fulfill the Great Commission by obeying the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37–39; Gal. 5:14). Actually, it’s impossible to do one without the other. If I truly love my neighbor, then I also earnestly long for his salvation. If the Lord Jesus is going to use me as a means of calling someone else to saving faith, then He will undoubtedly begin that work by moving me toward that person in genuine love. Someone recently said to me, “It’s hard to resist being loved.” That’s true. It’s also still true, at least to my knowledge, that there is no civil law against loving our neighbors as ourselves (Gal. 5:22–23).

Of course, if we love our coworkers, then we will pray for them. That’s the fourth reminder. Is our public zeal superseded by our private pleading to the Lord? When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave a two-part answer. We’re familiar with the first. The Lord’s Prayer provides an outline of what we are to pray. The second part, beginning in Luke 11:5, tells us how we are to pray. We are to pray with persistence, as if knocking on the door of heaven repeatedly day after day. What if we were to make a little list with the names of all our work associates and tuck it into our Bible? Then we could pull it out every day and remember these men and women before the Lord in prayer.

Fifth, we need to learn how to ask open-ended questions. Do you remember how Philip approached the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:30? Philip simply said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” That one sincere question opened up a much larger conversation about the Lord Jesus Christ and how He offered Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice against sin (Acts 8:32–35; see Isa. 53:7–8). I wonder how we could ask unexpected questions that fly below the radar but land in the minds of others in such a way that provokes their curiosity. Never underestimate the evangelistic power of questions. You never know when one unplanned and unrestricted question may lead to an invitation for lunch together.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened to another friend of mine. One day he was contacted by a former employee who had fallen into dire straits. This younger man not only felt disillusioned in the workplace but also felt hopeless about life in general. He said to my friend, “The whole time I worked for you, I knew that you were a Christian even though we never talked about what you believe.” He went on: “I was never curious before, but I am now. Could we have breakfast together tomorrow morning?” They’ve been meeting for breakfast before work every two weeks for the past year, reading the Bible together and talking about Jesus Christ.

Take courage, Christian employee, and let your light shine before others. It can’t be hidden (Matt. 5:14–16).

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From the December 2023 Issue
Dec 2023 Issue