Should Christians Bring Religion to Work?

by Brad Harmon on November 17, 2009 in Employees

office building with church sign 600x360 | marketplace christianity

Why do Christian entrepreneurs insist on bringing their Christianity into their small business?Why can’t Christians just keep their religion out of the workplace?  Have you heard these questions, or questions similar to these?  Perhaps, you may have even been the person asking the questions?

It’s certainly a topic worthy of discussion.  Both sides of the issue bring up valid concerns to bolster their position on the issue.

From the Christian’s Point of View

Perfect, Happy WorkersIn defense of Christians, it is a bit disingenuous to insist that a person’s belief system be checked at the door when they enter their place of business.

Many would point out that doing such demonstrates either a gross misunderstanding of the role true faith plays in a person’s life, or a willful choice to discriminate against an acceptable group in our politically correct business world.

Christians who follow the example set by Christ, and the teachings of the Bible, should be the best workers and business people that exist.  They should do their work cheerfully, diligently, orderly, patiently, honestly, and as unto the Lord.

They should be humble, grateful, kind, giving, compassionate, and forgiving.  What employer would not want this type of person as an employee?  In fact, wouldn’t you want all of your employees to be like this?

From the Business World’s Point of View

Yes, but where are these people?  It’s not the Christians that we have hired.  In fact, we wish more of our Christian workers were more like … well … Christians.

Hateful, Angry ChristiansInstead we find most are all too willing to check their Christianity at the door.  We’re pretty sure most of them just put it on when they enter their churches on Sunday, and hang it back up on their way out until they need it again the next Sunday.

The Christians we see are judgmental, lazy, and look on us with contempt.  Anyone who disagrees with them on anything is going to Hell, and they will gleefully tell you as much.

They are the first to leave early, in the midst of most gossip circles, and when needed to work late conveniently have some church function to attend.  On top of it all, they try to evangelize my workforce.  That’s not what we are paying them to do.

Why would we want more employees like this?  Seriously, why?

From God’s Point of View

Really?  You thought I was going to speak for God?  I’m flattered.  Okay, I put the heading in so let’s just guess at what it might look like from God’s point of view.

It must break His heart.  Christ said that we would know His followers by the love they have for one another.  It was Christ who continued drawing in the sand when the adulteress was brought before Him.

What was Jesus Writing in the Sand?She was clearly guilty, and it was clearly a case of entrapment, but He did not condemn her.  He just kept drawing in the sand until the men left one by one from oldest to youngest.  Ever wonder what he wrote?

I like to think that He wrote their names in the sand in that same order as they accused the woman, then when He said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” He started writing in their sins next to their names.  Who knows if that is really what happened?  It would fit His pattern.

You see, it was rare that Christ spoke harshly to anyone except for the religious leaders of the day.  I don’t remember one instance – except in the form of a parable.

From My Point of View

It’s not that Christ looked lightly on sin.  He expanded adultery to cover lust, murder to cover thoughts, and raised the requirements of the law.  It’s not that Christ didn’t believe in Hell.  He talked about it quite a lot, but only to those who came to hear His message.

Christians Aren't Pefect, They Just Want You to BeIt’s not just the people that pretend to be Christians that are tarnishing the brand today.  It is those true Christians that, although they have been forgiven a great debt, seek out those who still owe this debt to punish them.

They have forgotten this parable, and they have forgotten to take the beam out of their own eye.  They continued to levy their judgments in spite of Christ’s warning that with whatever measure we judge the same will be applied to us.  That judgment is coming back on us today in America.

Somewhere along the way we started looking at the lost world as our enemy, or even worse that God was their enemy (see the sign above).  Romans tells us that, while we were still enemies of God, He sent His Son to die for us.  We were His enemies, not the other way around.

Check Your Religion at the Door, Just Bring Christ

I realize that not every Christian is not as bad as described above, but neither are most the model employee from above either.  Evangelical Christians, like myself, must remember that we have not been commanded to convert anyone, but only to preach the Gospel – the GOOD news.

Paul taught us that we are not to pay “lip service” to our employers but to work as unto the Lord.  Be the best worker, boss, employer that you can be.  Be forgiving, loving, humble, and compassionate.  Go that extra mile.

In short, bring Christ to the workplace, but check your religion at the door.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana @ Online Knowledge November 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm

You should bring your Christianity in all of aspect of life if you are true Cristian. Christianity should become your lifestyle.

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Brandon Cox November 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Brad, I think you've got a good perspective on a very tough question. I think there is kind of a natural “blending” that should happen. Adrian Rogers used to say that Christians should live lives that are “supernaturally natural.” I like that perspective – you can't just ignore the very core of who you are, but you don't have to be an odd duck either.

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Brad Harmon November 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Great point Dana. It should become part of your lifestyle so that you are an authentic person meeting real needs in the lives of those around you in a meaningful way. I don't think there are many that would object to that.

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Brad Harmon November 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I like that, supernaturally natural. If being the odd duck is being that person who always seems to be there meeting real needs in people's lives I think that's a good thing. Sadly, that is not something for which most Christians are known.

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rupzip November 18, 2009 at 12:16 am

oh my. What a post. You hit on all the hot buttons. Nothing like blowing up the place!
You are correct. Sometimes I just wish Christians who don't live their live would just quit talking about their faith.

True Christians dont split the two. They walk and talk in church and at work….it's all the same existence.

The Red Letters of Christ arent just reserved for church. In fact, He spoke them so we could live our lives at home, in the community and in the workplace.

Nice post.

David Rupert
http://www.redletterbelievers.com

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 12:29 am

It's weird. The post started out as “Are Christian Entrepreneurs Over-Spiritualizing Small Business,” but completely jumped that track.

David did a great post on this if anyone would like to check it out:
If You Can't Live Your Faith, Don't Talk About It

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joyse November 18, 2009 at 4:43 am

I myself have no problem carrying my Christian identity and believe in my work place. I would have no separate identity with out it!

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 6:52 am

Sounds like you walk the talk. 🙂 Just imagine if we all did!

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Leon de Rijke November 18, 2009 at 9:04 am

Brad,

Wow. In one post you hit:
– the difference between religion and relationship
– the difference between preaching and practicing
– the difference between judging and loving
– and so on and on…
Indeed, like David says: you hit on all the hot buttons. In a great way!

Most of Jesus' teachings and miracles were in the marketplace. I don't get it why we try to limit them to the private part of our lives.

Leon

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Rod November 18, 2009 at 9:36 am

Hey Brad, very good article man. As a Christian I bring my beliefs wherever I go, but I typically keep to myself unless there's a situation where someone needs to be ministered to. I don't speak down to people or anything like that because people are going to do what they want to do. However, we can set an example but that doesn't mean shoving the example down people's throats.

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

Jesus generally taught in one of four places:
– the temple,
– the synagogue,
– in an open area outside the city like a hill or shore,
– or in homes or private gatherings.

So I think it may be a stretch to compare the 1st century marketplace to today's workplaces. Maybe I am misunderstanding you?

For me, the workplace is where we should bring his hands to help others and his arms to comfort them. You show up in the life of a coworker and meet a real need and they will ask you about why you are different during a lunch or after hours. The workplace is not the place to preach, it is the place to show.

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

I agree Rod. As Christians, we should always be looking for a way to show Christ's love through our actions. Too often we would rather lead with our mouths than with our hearts.

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BeckyJoie November 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

Very good post. I agree. Sometimes the best way TO witness or to have someone ask questions that open the door to witness is to be the best Christian you can be not merely to say the best Christian words you know. That being said, I agree that we should still preach the Gospel with a gracious, friendly approach. Let your light shine and then they will ask the reason of the hope within. Great blog. Thanks for sharing it.

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beckyjoie November 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

Very good post. I agree. Sometimes the best way TO witness or to have someone ask questions that open the door to witness is to be the best Christian you can be not merely to say the best Christian words you know. That being said, I agree that we should still preach the Gospel with a gracious, friendly approach. Let your light shine and then they will ask the reason of the hope within. Great blog. Thanks for sharing it.

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Great point. It's our deeds and attitude that is the light that shines. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Thanks for pointing that out.

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LikeSoup November 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm

We should BE the good things that Christianity and other positive religions teach without preaching to others. In other words, lead by example and let our virtues speak for themselves.

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Brad Harmon November 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm

We definitely should be what we claim we are. I agree 100%.

As Christians, we are commanded to preach the gospel so it's not just a preference that we can opt in or out of – doing so is disobedience. We are also to follow our employers wishes unless the cause us to do something against our conscience. I do not believe that not preaching while at work would qualify as such an instance.

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Alex Triece May 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

Why would it not? I suppose I am a bit confused by this concept right now… I’m not saying I should simply make a point to be controversial at work, but shouldn’t I be unashamed to declare God’s glory in my life, wherever I am?

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Leon de Rijke November 19, 2009 at 4:25 am

Brad,

Let me clarify my thoughts: most of Jesus' teachings and parables deal with subjects we face in our workplaces today too, or He would use metaphors of businesses (i.e. the land of a rich man who built storehouses etc.). Jesus used boats to teach the people on the shore, these boats were from businesses. A lot of the signs and wonders Jesus performed took place in the cities and villages, everywhere He came they placed the sick on the marketplaces (Mark 6:56). A lot of Jesus' work was initiated in workplaces, for example the calling of Levi (a tax collector sitting at a tax booth, Luke 5:27).

I think “a lot of Jesus” is public and we tend to make Him private. However I certainly agree with you that the workplace is not the place to preach, it is the place to show.

Hope this clears things!

Leon

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Brad Harmon November 19, 2009 at 4:58 am

Yes, it does. Thanks Leon. I see what you mean now, and I agree.

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ronniedauber November 19, 2009 at 2:11 pm

You have presented the mandate of Christ very clearly, and if Christians would just submit to what He wants from them instead of what they think they should do for Him, the good news would spread a lot faster. Keep up the good work!

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Brad Harmon November 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Thanks Ronnie. What a perfect way to put it! Too many times I think we try to put God in a box. We treat Him like He has got Himself in a jam and now we have to go get Him out of it. What we really are doing is just getting in the way.

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