Nov 16, 2015 – John D. Beckett
Findlay debated with himself for some time, and then made a conscious decision to leave a Bible on his desk at work. Since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, he wanted to let others know about his newfound faith. He concluded this small step could open some doors for discussion, even opportunities to tell about what God had been doing in his life.
It did not take long for Findlay to get a response. Into his office walked the manager of human relations: “My friend, what is that?” The frown on his face toward the now openly displayed book was unmistakable. “Have you become one of those?”
A chill went down Findlay’s spine. He knew his next words were important, so he lifted a quick prayer for what to say.
“Ahh, I’m actually glad you noticed. I brought it in yesterday. Some things have happened in my life, and this book is part of the story.”
“Well, with all due respect,” replied the manager, “your story will have to wait for another day. But just a reminder, your first responsibility is to this company. For me, religion is a private matter, and belongs at home and for Sundays.”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
- After hearing the last comment from the manager, that “religion is a private matter, and belongs at home and for Sundays,” how do you think Findlay should have responded? Do you agree with his decision to openly display the Bible on his desk? Why or why not?
- When do you think it is appropriate to be transparent with others about your faith? When is it not appropriate? Should we be proactive in telling others about our beliefs, or should we let them take the initiative? Explain your answer.
- Why do you think people in the workplace are expected to leave their faith at the door, rather than attempting to integrate their belief in God into their everyday decisions and relationships?
© 2015. John D. Beckett is chairman of R. W. Beckett Corporation in Elyria, Ohio, U.S.A., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial heating systems.
Just as businesses are wise to be family-friendly, they also are wise to be faith-friendly. People should be expected to give their best to their employers, but should not be expected to separate their faith from their work. For some people, religious practices are merely activities that take up an hour or two each week, but for many, their spiritual beliefs are part of the fabric of who they are – and how they live.
In fact, the best employees will be those who follow Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” No matter how high the standard for quality a company may establish, God’s standards are even higher. So the person working “heartily as to the Lord” should be expected to be among the very best performers in any organization.
FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION
- One of the most effective ways of demonstrating the reality and relevance of faith is in striving to perform with excellence in our work. “You are the salt of the earth…the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13,14,16).
- While we are not to impose our faith on others, if we truly believe God has had a life-changing impact on our lives, we should be willing – even eager – to tell others about Him when opportunities arise. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
- Colossians 4:5-6 says we are to, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” What do you think that means, especially within the workplace context?
- Another interesting passage on sharing our faith is 1 Peter 3:15-16 which tells us, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” How would you apply this exhortation to the contemporary workplace?