What is Workplace Faith?

Jun 28, 2018

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.—Colossians 3:23-24  

Three myths continue to persist among Christians who go to work in places other than churches every weekday morning.

The first myth, and probably the most damaging one, is that workplace Christian faith is about ethics, or doing the right thing. To be sure, Christians are to be ethical. In fact, Jesus calls us to move beyond mere ethics to a “second-mile” philosophy, doing the right thing in the right way with the right motives.  Still, doing the right thing isn’t a defining characteristic for a workplace Christian. Members of other faiths do the right thing; members of no faith do the right thing. And sadly, Christians, like members of other faiths and members of no faith, often don’t do the right things. So, faith at work is not about ethics.

Faith at work is also not about evangelism. That’s myth number two…that we go to our offices every day to share the Gospel with our coworkers and customers.  To be sure, Christians are supposed to talk about Jesus Christ at work, and it is the duty of every single Christian to give verbal assent to their faith. But Christianity is not a smoke and mirrors game where we pretend to care about our jobs simply to have the opportunity to sneak the Gospel in somewhere.  Such thinking leads to actions that frequently dishonor God, like sharing our faith when it disrupts our work or the work of others.

Myth number three is among the most discouraging, that we go to work to earn money to give to the church so it can do God’s work. Yes, Christians are supposed to tithe, and yes, there are Christians whom God makes successful precisely because the talent/gift He’s given them is the ability to give. But no, that’s not what faith at work is about.  The work of God in any culture is not the assignment of the church, but rather the assignment of the people who are called to serve in that culture, in the workplaces of that culture. In fact, the work of the church is to equip its members to serve God outside the walls of the church.

Those of us who go to work in places other than churches every weekday morning are supposed to care for the culture, and the people in it.  Our assignment from God, given to humans when He created them, is to tend His Creation responsibly. We are to hold jobs that feed the poor, care for the sick, protect the environment, provide safety and security and in other ways take care of the world that God created. But even that is not the primary definition of faith at work.

No, the definition of faith at work is this: Discovering that the number one priority in God’s economy is for us to be in relationship with Him, and discovering that He wants that relationship with us everywhere we go, especially in the workplace and the home.  Being a Christian on the job means being aware of God’s presence every working moment, and allowing the relationship we have with Him to shape every decision we make, every word we say, every action we take.  Then and only then will we accomplish our true mission in life, best stated by these words in the beginning of the Westminster Confession of Faith:

   “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Only then does what we do matter.

Written by Randy Kilgore, Senior Writer and Workplace Chaplain for Desired Haven Ministries.   Used by permission. Content distributed by WorkLife.org > Used for non-profit teaching purposes only.