[Editor’s note: Today’s article, by former Conejo member and TCU associate professor Johny Garner, speaks a timely word for us as we seek to integrate our Christian faith with our daily work. The article was edited for space.]
Recently, much of America watched as the moon passed between the Earth and the sun. Usually the moon reflects the sun’s light. In August, it actually blocked part of that light. Rather than reflecting the sun, the moon was an obstacle to sunlight.
As Christians, we are called to reflect Christ in our workplaces. But it occurred to me that we too can be an obstacle to Christ shining where we work. There are three ways in particular where we are either reflecting Christ or blocking him.
1. Reflect Christ in Your Thinking. What are some obstacles to reflecting Christ in our thinking? For one thing, it’s easy to worry instead of trusting God’s peace. Losing a customer, a micromanaging boss, or a backstabbing coworker—there are lots of worry triggers. Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Or, maybe you struggle with pride. Pride alienates the people around us and makes it too easy to forget our dependence on God. It’s the attitude of Babel, where the people said, “look at all we’ve accomplished.” Maybe your obstacle is being so focused on the next promotion that you lose sight of what’s really important. All of those attitudes are common in workplaces. But if you’re going to reflect Christ, you have to think uncommonly!
2. Reflect Christ in Your Talk. Our talk comes from our thinking (Luke 6:45), and how we talk can definitely reflect or block God’s work. Instead of gossip, grumbling, or any kind of talk that tears people down, if we’re to reflect Christ, we need to follow Ephesians 4:29—only say what is helpful and benefits others. The idea of limiting speech to only what is wholesome, helpful for building up and beneficial may seem almost like a vow of silence. God wants us to be different from the world around us, and how we talk is certainly one way to show the uniqueness of God’s people in workplaces where unwholesome talk may be the norm.
3. Reflect Christ in Your Connections. A final way that we can reflect Christ at work is through the connections that we form with people in our workplaces. We are created to be relational, but our society is increasingly emphasizing busy-ness over connection. The result of constantly being busy is that we feel as though we don’t have time to develop meaningful connections with others. But how can you love your neighbor as yourself if you are too busy to notice your neighbor? Part of honoring God is transforming the world around us by bringing hope to the hopeless. That requires taking the time to build connections with the people you see at work.
The moon didn’t block out the sun completely or for very long. Likewise, God’s kingdom will advance even if you are blocking it. But is that what you want to do? Ask yourself this week: Am I reflecting God in my thinking? In my talking? In my connections? How can I better reflect Christ in my workplace?
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