It’s Never ‘Just Business’ at Work

Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

It was time to say something. After months of abrasive communication coupled with borderline abusive negotiation tactics, I needed to have a heart-to-heart with my client. We are all adults here, but there is a point at which you cease being just a demanding client and become an antagonist.

She was a construction manager at a global corporation you’ve heard of. She managed several projects my company was building. I called her up.

Sharon, I need to talk to you about something. We really need to work on the way we communicate with one another. Your constant demands at all hours and yelling at my team are not helping us finish your jobs. It is a distraction. And we really need to get a foundation of respect between us.

Silence.

She almost fired us on the spot. She told me she didn’t know what to do with what I had told her.

Eventually, Sharon came around. We finished the jobs we were working on in a much more civil manner. She didn’t fire us. And after I’d thought about her perspective a little more, I realized she was simply the product of a cold and inhumane corporate culture. She wasn’t trying to be mean; she was just overwhelmed by the pressure. Her higher-ups didn’t care about her, and thus she didn’t care about us.

To Sharon, it was “just business.” She had stuff to get done, and she got it done. Simple as that.

I wish I could say that I never see my own work like this, and that I don’t see fellow brothers and sisters in Christ operating in this way in the business world—but I do and I do. Our work as believers is of great importance to God; and when we ignore the purpose of work, we miss an opportunity to glorify him.

As believers, we need a biblical worldview that includes work. Our lives do not consist of work, home, and church in separate categories. Our life is just our life, and the gospel speaks to every aspect.

No Ordinary People

“It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors,” C. S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory.

It is a strange thing to consider that people are immortal beings, especially when some appear in our lives for only a moment—for example, the woman serving you coffee or the man sitting behind you on the train.

Contrast that with your boss or colleague. We spend hours with the people we work with, and they will influence us just as we influence them. These immortals have the same hunger for love, acceptance, and redemption as we do. They need God’s saving grace, just like we do. And maybe—just maybe—the Lord will use us to deliver a kind word in a hard time or to share the truth of Christ at an opportune moment.

Gospel Advertisements

“We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us,” the apostle Paul wrote. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

The light of Christ in us might be the only flicker our coworkers and clients ever see. That’s scary, because we bear his image in distorted ways. But the Spirit intercedes for us and helps us in our weakness (Rom. 8:26).

The light of Christ in us might be the only flicker our coworkers and clients ever see.

Charles Spurgeon called those anointed with the oil of gladness, which comes from receiving salvation, “advertisements for the gospel.” These people, illumined by the truth of what Christ has done, walk around like grace lanterns. They glow with the light of Christ, exuding peace, love, forgiveness, and power.

As ambassadors for Christ, we must understand that our actions at work paint a picture of him. It isn’t about performance; it’s about a changed heart, which comes from abundant worship of God. When we saturate our souls with worship, we will more naturally bring Jesus into every meeting, conference call, job interview, and sales call.

Great Purpose

We like to think of life in big moments—weddings, funerals, and birthdays. But more often, life looks like a rainy Tuesday morning. And thus, many of us are bored. We feel we’re waiting for something, when really we’re living a divine adventure this very moment.

“It’s just business,” they say. But it’s not. When we’re dealing with immortal beings made in the image of a beautiful God, it’s never just business. It’s a divinely appointed opportunity to showcase him and share his love. It’s not about perfect performance. It’s about relishing our position as sinners saved by grace and being willing to offer the spiritual salve with which Christ has treated us—himself.

Editors’ note: 

Join us for our 2019 National Conference, April 1 to 3 in Indianapolis, where we will consider how “Conversations with Jesus” can spur us to gospel faithfulness and gospel proclamation. You can browse the complete list of 74 speakers and 58 talks. Register soon!

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