Plant your flag
As a Christian I’m free to work in nearly all workplaces. But with such freedom comes responsibility; I may be there most of my waking hours across the next five, ten, forty years of my life.
So where should I work? It’s a biggy.
Sometimes Christians choose workplaces that fit their values. A church school, an ethical firm or a charity. All well and good. But many legitimate workplaces won’t fit so snug with our Christian consciences.
So what do we say to our Christian sister who arrives at home group feeling low about work? The workplace culture is a cesspit of male chauvinism or the negativity around her is a constant drain. She works in a school fudging the pre-inspection figures; or in a firm signing the deal with seared consciences.
Do we advise she leaves? She’s free, right?
Right. But she may make better use of her freedom than taking refuge in a holy huddle of Christian colleagues.
She could, say, plant a gospel flag on this hard ground.
Yes this could mean a full-blown gospel explanation to a colleague.But it could also mean risking your reputation to stand up for an awkward colleague; or speaking truth into a situation which may risk your career progression.
Is one gospel work and the other not?
The apostle Paul prays for Christians facing hostility. But he never prays for an end to the challenge they’re facing. Instead he prays for strengthening and for fruit. He prays they’d plant a gospel flag in hard ground.
‘We have not stopped praying for you… that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work.’ (Colossians 1:9-10)
We should be encouraged by the paid gospel worker planting the gospel flag on the hostile mission field; but in some sense we should be equally as encouraged by the non-paid gospel worker, planting the gospel flag in the hard ground of the retail industry. Or wherever you work.
Because wherever it is Paul sees it as an opportunity to bear fruit. It may be hard ground; but in God’s harvest field, hard ground is fertile ground.