Monday, November 5, 2007

Balancing Work and Witnessing

I don't think that any of us are free from repercussions when we speak on behalf of Christ; however, I don't believe that should stop us, either. In my experience, policies set forth by employers give them legal rights to keep individuals from evangelizing during working hours, but not during breaks, lunch periods, or before and after any given shifts. This has not stopped me, but I have had some problems with supervisors on the issue. As an example, one former employer had attempted to stop me from speaking about religious issues, but had allowed other employees to discuss reincarnation, karma, etc. I brought this information to her attention, but the response was that these are not religious topics. Apparently, she had never heard of hinduism. Anyway, the issue was never pressed, except in circumstances when the conversation did in fact interrupt the workflow. As an example on the issue, take a look at Romans 13:1-5 (NASB), "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake." So, looking at these verses, we see that God has established authorities to govern us. This is true even in employer-employee relationships. The only time I see a deviation from this norm in Scripture is when the authority is in direct opposition to God's Word. We have a responsibility as Christians to share the Gospel, but employers have the authority to ensure that they get what they paid for (your time for their money). Considering most in this world are secular, they don't want you wasting the time they are paying for in preaching the Gospel. If we prioritize continual preaching over completing our work as assigned by an authority given over us by God, we may be hurting the Gospel by looking like a lazy employee. If we prioritize our work assignments over concern for the salvation of our lost coworkers, we may be hurting our witness by not being willing to share the Gospel. All these things in consideration, the key is balance. Share your faith in word and deed at work, but do not allow it to counter fulfilling your obligation to your employer. Understand that interrupting the workflow of yourself and your coworkers may be viewed as stealing from the company (again, their money for your time), but do not let it compromise your sincerely held religious beliefs which are protected by law. These are all questions that put us between a rock and a hard place when having to live a Christian life in a secular world. How important it is to submit to God not only by preaching the Gospel, but also by being obedient to the authorities He has established over us, without compromising our faith.

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