Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jesus and Tim Tebow, Part 3
This is the third part in a series on life and faith, that was triggered by a segment I recently did on Tim Tebow at WMOX radio. You can read parts 1 and 2 here and also here.
I am Tim Tebow. And you are Tim Tebow. We are all Tim Tebow. No, most of us will never set foot on an NFL football field for any reason; much less lead a game winning drive, (or a bunch of them, for that matter.) But there is one major thing that we all have in common with the budding star quarterback for the Denver Broncos. We have been given a vocation in which we are supposed to glorify God.
Now, I am neither a theologian, nor a son of a theologian, but I think that this idea of vocation is one of that has been greatly under-discussed in our churches today. How do I best glorify God in my work? Whether I am an NFL quarterback, or a TV news anchor, or an engineer, or a nurse, or a stay at home mom, I have been given a sphere of influence through my work, and I am to work in that sphere, to the best of my abilities, as an act of worship to Jesus.
Now, we need to be careful when we talk this way. Lots of people have encountered the “Jesus guy,” at their place of work. He or she is the person with the Bible verse screen saver, and the Bible on his desk, who is too “holy” to speak to his co-workers, except to call them out on their sin or decry the ills of society, or “witness” to them. Think Angela on “The Office.” The only thing her co-workers know about her faith there is that it seems to keep her in a constant state of “stick-up-her-behindedness.” The worst thing about these kinds of “Jesus people,” at work, is that they rarely, if ever, do any actual work. They make life harder on everyone else in more ways than one. So this is not who you want to be. But you do want to be someone who works to the glory of God. Paul made it very clear: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) That “whatever you do,” most certainly includes your job.
Here are a few things I try to keep in mind while I work, in an attempt to do it as an act of worship. Let me say from the beginning, that I do none of these perfectly. I fail often. I’m thankful for a forgiving Jesus.
1 – My main job as a Christian at work is to do the very best job I can do. This means showing up for work on time, working while I’m here, getting my work done in a prompt manner, being a team player, and producing quality, in whatever it is I’m doing. If I don’t do this, if other people at work see me as someone who’s trying to slack, then they’re not going to care about anything else. If I’m making work harder for my co-workers, because I’m not carrying my weight, then I have failed in my vocation. Now, there are times when it is possible that being the very best at work might come in conflict with my faith. I think these times are generally rarer than we think. But there may be times when being good at my job means spending too much time away from my family, or missing too much church. I’ve never worked in a place where I was asked to do something that I found morally questionable, but if it ever happened, I would be forced to choose doing the right thing over being the “good” employee.
2 – I must have a good attitude. This is easier some days than others. It’s quite natural for us to have days when we just don’t feel like coming to work. But this must be overcome. I’ve known, and have Christian co-workers who have terrible attitudes about their jobs and about life. If you complain all the time, you will probably draw a lot of people to you. Everyone loves to complain about their jobs. Misery loves company. People will come to you. But they will not respect you. And when there comes an appropriate time to share Christ with them, you will not have the credentials. But if you constantly work hard and don’t complain, people will notice. It might not happen quickly, but eventually it will be noticed. It’s amazing how easy it is to be considered a good worker, and become well-liked, if you keep your mouth shut and do your job.
3 – Look for appropriate times and places to share your faith. Now, this is going to be different for everyone. There is a time and place for this, and it is not when everyone is working. If you are a pastor, and you’ve never held a job in the real world, this may be hard to understand. But people don’t really want to hear about Jesus when they’re trying to do their jobs. They mainly want to get their work done and go home. The guy who is constantly talking about Jesus while others are trying to finish up the payroll project is not going to be very well liked. I work in a job with people from different parts of the country, and in some instances, the world. They are great people, and I have, for the most part, great relationships with them. And they know about my faith. It is no secret. But if I tried to share the Romans Road with some of these people, they would look at me like I just passed gas. I’m in it for the long haul with them, and trust God and his providence to provide the right opportunities. If you are paying attention, and looking for opportunities, they will arrive. But please don’t do this if you aren’t doing steps 1 and 2!
Different jobs provide different opportunities and ways to share your faith. Tim Tebow has different avenues and different ways he can share his faith than you do, or I do. It is not appropriate for me to pray as I begin my newscast, at least not live on the air. It is not appropriate for me to “sneak Jesus,” into my stories, as I once heard a Christian reporter say she tries to do. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, there are certainly ways to make my faith known, and share the Gospel with my co-workers.
Tim Tebow has a sphere of influence of millions. I am fortunate enough to have a sphere of thousands. You may only have a sphere of influence of dozens, or ones. That’s fine. God has given you an opportunity to glorify him through your work, in the same way he’s given Tebow that opportunity. Take it. Use it. Glorify him.