In Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller says Christians should be different than nonbelievers at work. This is often easier said than done, of course. But cultivating such “attractively distinct” lives is essential to our public witness.
Driven by a unique view of humanity and a love rooted in the wisdom of the cross, we can stand out at work in at least four ways.
1. Be known as fair, caring, and committed to others.
Driven by the Father’s love and his acceptance of us through Jesus, we can be known as fair, caring, and committed to others. Since we know the depths of our own sin and the magnitude of God’s grace to us, we can be ready to forgive and reconcile with others (Matt 6:12; Eph. 4:32).
We may even have opportunities take risks for the benefit of others. Keller tells the story of a young woman who was visiting his church. She didn’t yet embrace Christianity, but she was interested in learning more because of an interaction she had with her boss. Keller recalls:
She worked for a company in Manhattan, and not long after starting there she made a big mistake that she thought would cost her the job, but her boss went to his superior and took complete responsibility for what she had done. As a result, he lost some of his reputation and ability to maneuver within the organization. She was amazed at what he had done and went to thank him. She told him that she had often seen supervisors take credit for what she had accomplished, but she had never seen a supervisor take the blame for something she had done wrong. She wanted to know what made him different. He was very modest and deflected her questions, but she was insistent. Finally, he told her, “I am a Christian. That means among other things that God accepts me because Jesus Christ took the blame for things that I have done wrong. He did that on the cross. That is why I have the desire and sometimes the ability to take the blame for others.” She stared at him for a moment and asked, “Where do you go to church?”
2. Be known as generous.
Depending on context and opportunity, generosity at work can be expressed in different ways. Managers can be generous with their advice, access, and investment in people. All of us can be generous with our time and money, sharing our resources sacrificially. Small business owners can take less personal profit to benefit their neighbors, customers, and employees. Tegu, for example, is a wooden toy company founded by Will and Chris Haughey. Driven by their Christian faith, they intentionally take smaller profit margins to benefit the people of Honduras, where their wood is harvested, and to create an employee savings program.
We can also show generosity to our colleagues by loving them outside of work—cooking a meal for them if they have a baby, attending a funeral if they lose a loved one, grabbing dinner with them if they’re struggling, joining their club sports team, or attending their wedding. Generosity during after-work hours is a testimony of love—showing them that you see them as a whole person, not merely a productive colleague.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition