Have you ever wondered why God put certain people in your life? Even more specifically, have you ever tried to understand why God would put the godless smack in the middle of your work day? Or, what about when you have someone so overwhelmed by the grace of God that they start spouting off things they don't understand?
As a manager in a professional services organization, I can tell you that the godless and the zeal of a newly reborn Christian often raise more questions than they answer. Maybe you can relate in your work:
- The appointment setter that talks behind the backs of your customers as they get off the phone.
- The project manager that prepares the team for all the bad that could happen in the meeting based on rumor
- The executive at the water cooler whipping everyone into a frenzy as they gossip about the "c"-suite's decisions for the upcoming product/service launch.
As I read 1 Timothy 1:1-20, I'm struck by an image that looks much the same back then as it does now. But, what's different for Paul and Timothy is their commitment train others in the way of the Lord. This training takes place in 3 specific ways:
3 Ways to Leave an Eternal Impact on the Ungodly at Work
- Being Diligent - Just as Paul asked Timothy to "remain" to teach, we should be willing to stick through the difficult times to continue to help others understand what Christ has done for us and for them. The simple act of persevering in these tough times displays our faith through example. Even if we didn't confront anyone about their faith or what they say, if we behave differently and refuse to be dragged into the fray, we've made an eternal impact.
- Instructing in Love and a Pure Heart - To some this concept of 'love' becomes overly romantic and unrealistic at work. However, if we look at the meaning of this love (agape) we see that in its simplest terms, it means to look out for the best interests of others. Imagine what would happen if you changed the way you saw those that are whipping up the frenzy at the water cooler. Imagine what impact you could have if you simple did, said, and acted in a way that was looking out for their best interests?
- Having Empathy - This is one of my biggest take-aways in this chapter. Paul has a sober assessment of himself and others. Paul sees himself as a 'work in progress' and he knows the power of grace. This permeates his actions and become infectious to others as they spend more time around him. If we were to drop the act at work and let others see us as we truly are, then we'd had a chance to connect on a completely different level. Rather than elevating ourselves above those that are causing grief in the work place, let's see if we can "relate" to where they are and what they are going through. This "relating" will help us connect on a deeper level and our impact will be longer lasting (even eternal).
Nothing Changes Without Action
Changing our behavior at work takes commitment and accountability and nothing will change unless you do. So, as you get ready to take on your day today, tomorrow or next week, I urge you to confide in someone else at the office. Confide in a team of people that are willing to hold you accountable to change the way you interact with the young in faith or the ungodly at work. Write down the things that you can do today to change the way you see them. List the attributes that God has given them and the skills He has blessed them with. Then, go say something or do something that shows you understand the value they have in God's eyes.
The Future is Bright
Imagine the workplace if we were more diligent. What would the future look like if we really did love our neighbors as ourselves and looked out for their best interests. Picture, just for a minute, how the culture at work would change if we increased our empathy and could honestly put ourselves in someone else's shoes.
May God richly bless you and your business!