Many of my posts on this blog are directed at Christian business owners or leaders who can choose how they share their Christian faith at work. Normally, they are not prohibited from doing so. But what about others of you? How are you to accomplish the same results when you are limited in how you share? I think the answer is in becoming a relationship bridge builder.
Limited In Sharing Christian Faith?
What I am about to share applies to all Christians, not just those in jobs where their Christian faith is unwelcome. The strategy works in virtually every situation. However, for the purposes of this post, I am going to direct my comments to those who ARE limited in sharing their Christian faith at work.
Daniel – Slave In Babylon
I want to start by looking at Daniel 1. In this chapter, we find out that Daniel is one of the exiles from Israel that was brought to Babylon to serve in the king’s court. Can you think of a more worldly job than to serve on the court of the king that just conquered Israel? Me either!
As we read on, we learn that Daniel was faced with defiling himself with the king’s food. Instead of compromise, Daniel persuaded the king’s chief official to allow he and his friends to eat vegetables instead of the offensive food.
This strategy worked. As a result, Daniel and his friends proved to be healthier than the other exiles. In fact, as servants in the court, they were found to be ten times better than any of the others.
While there is much to be learned from the entire book of Daniel about living out your Christian faith in a secular environment, I want to focus on just this one example. I encourage you to read the rest of the book of Daniel on your own for more learning.
Daniel – Bridge Builder
The point I want to make here is that Daniel was a bridge builder.
Daniel was not seen walking around the king’s palace with a bull horn, screaming about the injustices of having to eat something that conflicted with his Christian faith. He did not raise a stink by filing a petition with the king.
Neither was he seen silently sulking about his predicament. He did not whine about it or make excuses about why he could not be intentional or proactive about his faith!
Instead, he pulled the king’s chief official off to the side and made a deal with him. Daniel knew the chief’s motivation was to look good in front of the king. Daniel played to this and built a relationship with this official that served to meet both of their needs.
Notice a couple of points here. Daniel and his friends were rewarded by God for their faithfulness. He gave them favor with the chief official. He gave them knowledge and wisdom and He gave them favor with the king in future chapters when Daniel was able to interpret dreams for him.
At the same time, it is clear that Daniel continued to operate as a servant in the king’s court. He did so by doing his job and doing it well, better than any around him. As a result, he was able to establish relationships that would later result in the king actually saying the following:
Your God is indeed God of gods, Lord of kings!
Relationships In The Workplace
What we need to understand is how to take this example and replicate it in our workplaces. If we can do this, there are some amazing possibilities. People you think would be the last to acknowledge God will shock you with their turn-around!
If you want to see the results Daniel saw, then you need to do what he did.
1.) Trust God.
Rather than fretting over his circumstances (his home country was ransacked and he was carried into slavery), Daniel trusted God for His will to be done. Daniel remained faithful to God, but did so in a way that allowed him to build relationships where he was. He put his full faith in God and relied on Him for the results.
We need to do the same thing in our jobs. Even when it looks like there is no way we can influence others toward God, we need to trust God that He knows a way. Keep your eyes open and be on the lookout for the relationships He will use.
2.) Do your job better than anyone else!
Rather than throwing a pity party at the limits he faced in his new surroundings, Daniel threw himself into his job and did it better than anyone around him. He did not just get by, but excelled. This excellence helped with his bridge-building, at first with the court official and later with the king himself!
Take this same approach with your job. It doesn’t matter that your boss or owner is not a Christian. Work harder and smarter than anyone around you and set yourself apart. The reward will come – probably in a way you least expect it. And it may be more than you could hope for!
3.) Reach out.
Daniel did not allow his circumstances to dictate how he would exercise his faith. He was bold and reached out to those around him. I am sure Daniel had no idea that his plan to do so would eventually put him in front of the king. He simply knew that God had placed him there for a purpose and he knew that relationships could help with that purpose.
You and I need to think the same way. The relationships we build may be the ones that allow us to share our faith right there OR they may lead to other relationships that will. Either way, we must be bold and reach out to build them. God will use them!
Have you seen the evangelistic benefit of building relationships?
Can you look back and see missed relationship opportunities?
Who do you know right now that you need to reach out to?