This is the question sitting behind these two statements that we ask people to respond to in our on-line Worker Survey (if you have not participated and would like to, click here):?
- ‘I intentionally behave differently to my colleagues at work because I am a Christian’
- ‘I intentionally approach my work differently to my colleagues because I am a Christian’
In other words, does following Jesus impact on how we think?about work and the way we?do?work??Here’s the results from our first 47 participants:
In other words …
- 15% (approach) and 19% (behaviour) of the respondents strongly agree that being a Christian changes things. ?
- 55% (approach) and 47% (behaviour) mostly agree with the statements that following Jesus makes a difference.
- 23% (approach) and 25% (behavior) either disagree or strongly disagree that the 40 hours or so a week that they spend at work are impacted by their faith.?
What are we to make of these responses – admittedly a small sample but you have to start somewhere! Are our respondents expressing uncertainty about the ideal – Christian faith should impact every area of life – or are they indicating that they feel that they fall short of the ideal? ?
What are we to make of the fact that 6% (approach) and 9% (behave) of the respondents thought that the question itself was?not applicable?to their work situation? (Closer examination showed these respondents mainly worked in church and para-church organisations – what does that tell us?)
In Colossians 3:17, Paul exhorts his readers to make sure that, ‘And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ (RSV)? As John Stott said with typically British understatement, ‘Everything includes quite a lot!’
This idea that our faith should impact all of life, including the 40 hours or so we spend at work, is underlined by the way different church leaders people are talking about what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century. ?Here are two examples:
Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian, New York, speaks about how the Gospel changes everything.?
“Christianity is not simply a set of beliefs to be held ion order to save my individual soul. ?It is also an interpretation of … everything in the world. ?It brings a distinctive perspective …[that] determine how you live your daily life, and how you do and think about your work … The temptation for Christians is to simply plunge into workplaces dominated by these [other] worldviews and conduct their working lives in accordance with the reigning paradigms, rather than thinking out the implications of the gospel for how they can do their work with Christian distinctiveness.’ [Gospel in Life, p.213]
Mark Greene and the folk at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity express the same idea with their emphasis on whole-life discipleship. ?So when Mark Greene asks, ‘Is the Christian life like a peach or an orange?’, he is asking his listeners to reflect on whether it is whole-of-life (like a peach) or broken up into segments (like an orange) only some of which God is interested in.
Nothing new of course – Abraham Kuyper was saying the same thing when he wrote more than 130 years ago that,?”Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over?all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”
At Malyon Workplace, we are eager to spur one another on to considering how the Lordship of Christ impacts all areas of our life. ?We think it would be great if all our survey respondents strongly agreed that their approach and behaviour to work was impacted by following Jesus.
Whatever you do does include quite a lot, doesn’t it!
Murray Wright (7 May 2014)