Christ's Emissiaries in the Workplace
An Open Letter to Our Dear Believers in Christ
By Sean and Jenny Farrell, Australia, August 2020
We would like to remind you of some scriptures to help you in your walk at work. Firstly, take Romans 1:5 to heart,
‘Through Him (Christ) we have received grace and the office of emissary (a person sent as a diplomatic representative on a special mission), to bring about obedience of faith among all the nations on behalf of His name.’
We are emissaries of Christ. We work for God and for His eternal kingdom. We have a secret mission to spread the gospel and call others to salvation, to faith, to maturity, all to the glory of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of Gods’ grace and kindness towards us we ought to please Him to the absolute best of our abilities, aided by His grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Where should we carry out this mission? Wherever he sends us
‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….’ (Matthew 28:19).
God does send people to other countries, but he also brings the nations to us, especially in these days. Look around and you will notice how truly multicultural Australia is. Talk to some ‘Aussies’; you will realize that not many of your colleagues, friends, neighbours or the public are Christian or have even heard the truth about Jesus. You are already in a mission field. Where you are right now is exactly where God wants you to be His emissary. Home, work, church and clubs are great places where you can work for the Lord.
‘...Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest’ (John 4:35b).
‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ (Matthew 9:37).
How should we carry out this work?
It is always best to do everything in God’s strength, not in our own, so remember (Proverbs 16:3),
‘Commit (pray) to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.’
'Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer everyone’ (Colossians 4:5-6).
Daily prayers before and after work even as Jesus always did; for who to talk to, what topics to bring up and how we should live our lives are wise. We also need to remember to be good work role models for our Lord.
‘Slaves (we are slaves of Christ), obey your human masters in every respect-not just within your master’s sight as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it from the soul, as for the Lord and not for people. For you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. It is to the Lord Messiah you are giving service’ (Colossians 3:22-24).
These are good verses to reflect on when work (or your boss) is particularly difficult or unpleasant. Obviously do not obey your bosses if they tell you to do something sinful such as being deceitful about a product, stealing/hiding money or causing trouble for another member of staff.
God expects us to be exemplary workers for numerous reasons, but mostly to bring him glory: so that you can prove yourself to be a hardworking son or daughter of God in whom he is well pleased. There is also God’s promise of eternal inheritance according to our work, the daily provision of family needs and that there is plenty to share with others.
How do the following scriptures align with your attitude to God and work ethics?
‘Whatever you do, do it heartily to the Lord, not to men’ (Colossians 3:23-24).
‘All slaves/workers should show full respect for their masters/bosses so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching’ (1 Timothy 6:1).
How we treat our work, our bosses, fellow Christians and work colleagues brings either shame or glory to God and the Gospel. We should only want to bring glory to His name.
‘Remind the people to be submitted to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, without fighting, gentle, showing every courtesy to all people’ (Titus 3:1-2).
Many Christians want to go on mission trips but ignore the work at home. For those who are not sent, there is plenty of work on the mission fields back home in their own country. Charity begins at home, as does training, testing and preparation of the people that God may send.
‘What is required of (God’s) stewards is to be found trustworthy’ (Romans 4: 2).
‘He who is faithful in what is least, is faithful also in much…’ (Luke 10:16).
We ought to be light and salt in our workplace, or those watching us will reject the Lord and His gospel based on our hypocrisy. Even so, some will reject the gospel. Do not be discouraged. That is their decision! Forgive them and carry on regardless.
‘I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice- holy, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect’ (Romans 12:1-2).
Make no mistake, this will cost you. Note the word sacrifice. Your testimony will cost you time, money, social acceptance and standing. You may even become hated as they hated and argued with Jesus. Even some Christians may do that to you. Remember that every move of God in history was persecuted by those who remained stagnant. They drowned Baptists for reintroducing full-immersion water baptism. Aim for God’s approval which is eternal, not man’s approval which can be fickle, or even harmful. It lasts only a short time.
‘Lay aside your old corrupted self…, be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self – created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Ephesians 4:22-24).
‘Let love be without hypocrisy – detesting what is evil, holding fast to the good’ (Romans 12:9).
‘Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth’ (Ephesians 5:9). ‘Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18).
Always ask yourself what would Jesus do?
If you feel uncomfortable about something within your spirit, it is most likely that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to change your way to His way, whatever the cost may be, but remain loving and look for the best in the person you are sharing with. On the other hand, it could be a warning that your friend has a religious spirit and only thinks that he/she is a Christian. Pray about the situation if you have any doubts.
‘For the Kingdom of God is ……. righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Messiah in this manner is pleasing to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and building up of one another’ (Romans 14:17-20).
This is particularly good to remember in our interactions with other Christians at work, church and wherever we meet them. The world will know us by our love for our brothers/sisters in Christ.
Scriptures that relate to work itself
‘Then God took the man and gave him REST in the garden of Eden in order to cultivate and watch over it’ (Genesis 2:15, Jewish translation-Tree of Life version).
As is evident, God’s original design of work for us is, and was, good; work gives us purpose, the ability to help, organize, create and repair things, job satisfaction, provision for our families and the needy and an eternal inheritance from God.
When God cursed Adam and Eve, of which we are also partakers, He also cursed life; the environment, our health and DNA, wealth, peace, joy, contentment, creation, work and marriage relations. Amazingly, God did this for our sake (Genesis 3:17). This was for a good purpose so that all these hardships would help us see our sinful state, repent and turn back to Him so that He could restore us, both eternally and in the here and now. God wants us to have abundant life; ask Him to restore your relationships, your marriage, your work. Work is for our good, designed by God for our good.
Some great scriptures to remind us that work is good
‘For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works’ (Ephesians 2:10).
‘If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
As you continue to read further in this passage, work prevents us from being interfering busy bodies, gossipers and troublemakers. There is a great saying that ‘Idle hands do the devil’s work.’
‘Laziness casts one into a deep sleep and an idle person will go without’ (Proverbs 19:15).
‘He who is slothful in his work, is a brother to him who is a great destroyer’ (Proverbs 18:9).
God considers a lazy person who does his job poorly close to being a destroyer; we become worse than a heathen.
‘If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially the ones of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’ (1 Timothy 5:8).
Here is a true story told by a former pastor. There was a knock on his door in Frankston, Melbourne. A family of four was outside saying that they were very hungry. The pastor invited them in and asked his wife to prepare a meal for an extra four people. At dinner he asked the family what the problem had been, “a broken- down car or did he lose his job?”. “Oh, no”, came the reply. “This is how we live. We live by faith”. At that the pastor gave them a stern lecture on how they were abusing other people’s work and sent them on their way.
God holds people responsible for providing for their own needs where able, and for the needs of their families. God expects people to care for their wives, their husbands, their children and their parents, and to have something to share with the needy as well. The righteous shall never be hungry (Psalm 37:25).
Work is a great provision from God, but we must also be wise in not overworking, especially at the risk of damaging relationships. God gave a whole day of rest from work as an example to us and holidays (named after God’s holy-days set aside to the Lord for worship and feasting with God and His people). God is not a kill joy; he loves a good party. We also need sleep, time to go to church and fellowship and time with family and friends. Pray for wisdom as to how much work to take on.
‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’ (Hebrew 13:5).
‘…and people should eat and drink and ENJOY the fruits of their labour, for these are gifts of God’ (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
Avoid overwork in the pursuit of material possessions
Be careful not to work too hard, lest you be unable to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
‘Seek you first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added to you’ (Matthew 6:33).
‘Now godliness with contentment is great gain’ (1 Timothy 6:6).
‘Finally, whatever is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise, think about these things’ (Philippians 4:8).
‘In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
It is surely a true saying that ‘workaholics’ destroy families. Jesus often spoke in parables to illustrate spiritual things in an everyday story to warn the working-class people against storing excess wealth and ignoring the kingdom of God (Luke 12:16-21).
Be wise in your dealings
Here is a modern-day equivalent. “Once there was a billionaire who wanted a new helmsman to pilot his new multi- million-dollar yacht. The billionaire advertised for the best possible helmsman for his yacht. After an exhaustive application process, it came down to 3 experienced and impressive applicants. The first showed his skill by steering at full speed within 30 metres of the rocky coast. The second, having seen the incredible skill of the first, steered the vessel within 15 metres from the rocky coast. The third gently steered the vessel into the middle of the bay at no more than cruising speed, far away from the rocky coast. The billionaire was so impressed that the third helmsman valued his yacht well above his own personal pride and reputation. He hired the third applicant on the spot.”
The moral of the story is not to drive close to the brink of what is acceptable before God and man, as it only takes a small mistake for disaster to strike. Consider your actions at the workplace beforehand. Reputations can be damaged, sometimes forever, to the detriment of the gospel. Keep in the center of the bay. Always stay close to God, His Word and His ways. Play safe and honour his wonderful sacrifice for you.
Remember that God and Jesus, our Saviour,
is more than just a good idea