A few years ago, I was halfway up a mountain I had chosen to climb, but part of me knew there was a reason I kept bumping up against a wall. It was one of those seasons when I felt unsettled. I knew I liked part of what I was doing, but I felt like there was more. Something was stirring in my heart. I prayed. I wrote in my journal. I sought wise advice. I did the research. I finally made the huge decision to go back to school, but I didn’t really know why. I only knew it was what I was supposed to be doing.
I asked God a thousand times why. I’ve received no definitive answer. Only a vague reply: “Just obey.”
Those of us who grew up in church most likely memorized the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 at some point. “Go ye therefore…”
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT).
When I see the word “therefore,” I wonder what happened before. When I skip just a couple verses back, I find a key sentence.
“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go,” (Matthew 28:16, NLT).
Let me catch you up. The tomb was empty. The women had run to tell the disciples, and even though some were doubtful, they obediently went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. There, they were blessed with a sighting of the risen Jesus.
Why did they have to go to a mountain? Why didn’t Jesus simply meet them where they were? I think the disciples had to obey Jesus’ small instructions before being entrusted with his final instructions. Your work is one of your mountains. Are you obediently looking for Jesus sightings there?
Jesus commanded all believers to share our faith. The expectation was NOT to set up institutions and degrees for people to take over the job of sharing faith. Nope. It was–and still is–meant to be everyone’s job. What that looks like is different for each of us. Here are some practical ideas for non-threatening ways to start Great Commission obedience in the workplace.
Let them see us pray.
This could mean reading a short devotion at our desks in the morning in full view of everyone. It might mean taking a moment to pray silently before a team lunch. What about responding to a stressful or threatening situation with, “Let me take some time to pray about that, and I’ll get back to you.”
Show the fruit.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” We need to be the peacemakers, not the pot stirrers. How about extending some grace to that person in the office who is really hard to like? And oh, that last one! Self-control! What does that look like in our work? Not reacting when provoked? Holding our tongue when the sarcastic come-back is battling to jump out? Walking away or changing the subject when the others are talking about a co-worker?
Tell the story.
The Holy Spirit who dwells in us prompts us to share the good news about Jesus. We are simply required to listen and obey. It’s very uncomfortable the first few times we begin to talk about faith with others, but then it gets easier. Remember, we’re planting seeds for God to harvest. He won’t leave this important task up to us alone. He will be there with us the whole time, helping us through it. Don’t worry about not being qualified or knowledgeable about the Bible. Those things actually make our story easier to believe! Nothing is a better catalyst for conversion than an honest, authentic testimony about what God has done in our lives.
Good, non-threatening questions are great conversation starters when asked at time when a person seems to be open to hearing and engaging. Fay and Shepherd, in their book Share Jesus Without Fear, suggest these openers:
- Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
- Who is Jesus to you?
- If what you believe isn’t true, would you want to know?
The point is not to argue for Christ at each answer, but to plant seeds that provide openings and provoke thoughts. As we listen to the answers, we simply say, “Hmmm…” Then, if we are invited, we get to talk about our faith and salvation in Jesus. It’s really that easy. If we are rejected, we know God could use our conversation to make changes in peoples’ lives decades afterwards.
Now, back to Matthew 28. Verse 18 tells us Jesus has all authority. But He wants us to GO. Jesus reaches people through other people. That has been part of the plan since the beginning when He told Adam it wasn’t good to be alone. Whatever mountain God has called us to is the place where He wants us to obey His Commission. When we look for Jesus on our mountain, there is no telling what we might glimpse!
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