I want to address something that has been on my heart for a couple of weeks now. I first pose the question, Is there an atmosphere of brotherhood in the workplace, or is it a place to “silence the lambs” (the lambs being the children of God)?
I posed this question to myself after an incident at work a while back. I had been working in the same small group (less than 20) for the past two and a half years. While talking to another Christian brother one day, my fellow worker informed me that one of the guys in my group, someone I had worked with directly for at least a few months, was also a member of a local church and professed to be a Christian. After a brief discussion with the guy in my group, I learned his profession to be true.
At first I was filled with joy that another fellow worker was of the Way (what Christians were known as before they were called “Christ-ians”), but then my joy turned to concern. My head and heart were filled with questions. Why didn’t I know that he was a brother in Christ earlier, and did he know, before now at least, that I also was a Christian? Of course, I asked myself why he hadn’t been more open, but without answers to my own concerns, I couldn’t even speculate on the latter.
We are all called to be witnesses in the workplace, fulfilling the Great Commission, but I want to approach this a little differently. Of course our witness, be it by lifestyle or by word of mouth (of which both should preach the same), is the light switch by which we are known. It is up to us to turn it on, and required of us to leave it on in every place we go. But once we “flip” the switch, do we allow others to be warmed or to see more clearly by the light that we provide? What I am trying to get at is the idea of brotherhood, specifically in the workplace.
“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14. We, as men and women, have no problem with having fellowship, discipleship, prayer meetings, or anything else that is involved in having a relationship with others consistent with brotherhood as long as it is in the church, i.e. in a “Christian setting”. So why is it that in the workplace our lifestyles, for lack of a better word, change? I know this may not be the case for all of us, but I don’t think I am writing this just for myself.
For some reason, be it fear, shyness, etc., some Christians go into the “You don’t ask, I won’t tell” mode from 8am to 5pm every weekday. Maybe I should spell that last word “weak-day”, because (I just love preaching to myself!!) we have a tendency to pull into ourselves when we feel weak or lack the courage to stand. As I mentioned before, we must stand for the fact that we have been called to witness, but I feel it is also a major responsibility of ours to stand and be counted for in the workplace. Christian fellowship, i.e. brotherhood, should not be confined to a “Christian setting”. How can we care for our Christian brother or sister, as we are instructed to by Christ Himself, if we don’t know WHO they are?
So today, I challenge you, as well as myself, to stand up and be known for WHOSE you are. Seek out those brothers and sisters in Christ. Strive to be the Christian support, comfort, encouragement, discipler, and love that we all need, especially in the place where we spend a majority of our days. Remember the workplace is a great place of harvest, but it is also a great place for brotherhood.
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel in this still more,…” 1 Thessalonians 4:9,10