Dave Ramsey in his book Entreleadership points out that you will be like the five people you spend the most time with either in person or by reading. He predicts this on experience, but we know that this is also a Biblical principle in Proverbs 2. So, who are spending your time with or how are you spending your time? Daniel and David in the Old Testament and Paul in the New are excellent examples for imitation, and if you want someone real and personal, I would posit Jim Wilson. From these men and my own experience, I hope to point out three areas for imitation: Attitude, Work Ethic and Humility to set the groundwork for affecting culture in your workplace.
Why is this so important to our discussion about impacting culture in the workplace. Think about it in the context of a sales organization. Who is easier to sell: someone coming to you for the product or you chasing them down as a cold call? In Scripture, only one reason is given for non-believers to chase after what we have in Christ. In 1 Peter, we are told to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us. First be ready, because living hope is unusual. It warrants curiosity. But we can’t have curiosity where no hope is there to be seen, and we can be sure that no hope will exist if we do not believe the gospel.
When we consider candidates most responsible for impacting culture, we don’t have to look far as Christians. No doubt Paul the Apostle stands out as the world’s greatest evangelist, as well as philosopher extraordinaire, professional and blue collar working stiff. As such, he stands out as the premier example worthy of our emulation when we consider the question of affecting culture in the workplace.
The authority that comes with hard, diligent service garners respect and respect is a draw for questioning why and how. In Proverbs 22:29, we are told that those who excel at what they do will stand before kings. We can look to Daniel as the man of the hour. He faithfully served a number of kings over 80 years and when all of his books were checked, his only fault was in serving his God.
And, we see that he was not only promoted, but each new king put him in charge of the nations affairs. If you were given the authority of Daniel or Joseph, would you be in a position of affecting culture? You betcha!
Can we imagine a bigger contrast with the example set by the Lord Jesus in Philippians 2? There, we are told to have the same mind as Christ, Paul says elsewhere that we are to be “perfectly humble!” Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 tells us that his evangelistic strategy included being all things to all men such that he might win some. He was not trying to set up distinctions where they were not necessary (Jews/Greek — racial and cultural, slave/free — economic, or male/female — gender). Paul makes it clear in the same letter to the Corinthians that our boasting is limited to boasting about Jesus instead of distinctions that are a result of what we have been given. When we work this out into our daily interactions with our work team, we can see that this also includes the question of who gets the credit for success and who takes the responsibility for failure. Proverbs 27:2 reminds us to not praise ourselves (let others if it is warranted) and to not grasp after the coveted spots — let others lift us up, like the fellow Jesus says took the lower seat at the table. On the positive side, when the Bible says that we should show double honor to our brother it implies that we should show single honor to our co-workers who may not be believers. We don’t get an out for praising others and pointing to the Lord and His given gifts when we receive praise.
Start with the gospel. The gospel deals first with our own condition, if we don’t get our heart right, we will not be in any position to be salt and light in our workplace —we will not in any positive way affect our culture. Without the gospel or in other words the fruit of the gospel evident in our lives, we will be nothing more than a gray smudge in an otherwise dark room. Just know that no response is a sign that your work mates aren’t seeing anything different in you. Hope draws the question. Surprise at your thankfulness opens eyes. Integrity and hard work and its resulting success establishes authority to speak. Determine to know nothing but the gospel as you work unto the Lord.
|ALL 2017 Post-College Life Conference Talks|