Why is the Work Place so Hard for Christians?

30 Nov

A few months ago I alerted to you the fact that I had started a new job. In the following months I’ve failed to minister to you guys properly over those months, and for that I apologise profusely.

Now I want to get back into the swing of things and it seems best to just comment on the difficulties I’ve experienced in the world of work.

Why, on entering the world of work, do so many of us who were excited about Christian things at University goes so stale?

Work Affects Your Ability to Evangelise

You’d think that being surrounded by non-Christians for 40 hours a week would make it easier to spread the Gospel. Not the case. At Uni there are many opportunities to sit back with your friends and discuss whatever comes to mind. This makes great chances to talk about the Gospel.

In the world of work you just have “working relationships”. You talk about work and maybe vaguely about what you did at the weekend, but deep philosophical conversations are a lot harder to come by and thus evangelising is much harder.

Work Affects Your Ability to Minister

By the end of the work day all your mental and physical resources have been poured into the job you have been doing. So to come home and start the work of ministry again is very difficult.

Work Affects Your Ability to Have Relationship With God

This has been the saddest one for me. Due to the sheer exhaustion of work, it sometimes takes hard effort to make time for reading the Scriptures and prayer. This central relationship can soon become extremely devalued.

Moving Forward to A Christ-Centred Workplace

These are the problems I’ve struggled with as I have started my job. Later this week I will list the ways I have found that help create life at work an opportunity for worship.

In the meantime, which of these problems have you struggled with over the course of your career? Are there any others?

(Picture “Men in Grey Suits by squacco under the Creative Commons Licence)

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11 Responses to “Why is the Work Place so Hard for Christians?”

  1. Richard November 30, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    Tim, glad to see you are back blogging again! Have you had your wedding? I hope you have been enjoying your job.

    I agree with your post, having started a new job in September I concur that by the end of the working day all your mental and physical resources have been poured into the job you have been doing and it can be a struggle to sit down and read the Scriptures.

    To help myself I have devised a shedule:

    0600-0715 = Wake up get up and leave for work.
    0745-0815 = Read Psalms.
    0830-1800 = Work and drive home
    1800hrs-1900hrs = have dinner
    1900hrs-1945hrs = Bible reading
    2000hrs-2045 = Hebrew study
    2100hrs-2145 = Read part of a theological book

    It has certainly helped.

  2. Tim Wilson November 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    Glad that you came back brother, I was worried I’d lost you!

    My wedding is next summer, depressingly. Work is going well all in all.

    Your study is a great idea, I can’t believe how much you get in your evening. I’ll have to try a similar thing myself.

  3. Eshu December 1, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    Tim, good to see you blogging again!

    I certainly see where you’re coming from here. For most of us work gets in the way of doing what we’d really like to do with our lives. I envy those who love their jobs and find them truly fulfilling. For me and most, but not all, the people I know, work is a means to an end. I’d love to spend every day cycling with my wife, but that alone doesn’t put food on the table. Neither, I’m afraid does reading the Bible and talking about it, unless that happens to be your job.

    I don’t think that having extra time to do as we choose should be taken for granted. It’s only in the last few thousand years with large scale farming methods that we’ve been able to diversify into careers that might suit us better and gain a bit of leisure time. If each one of us still had to be a hunter-gatherer or subsistence farmer, it would pretty much be a full time job and I mean full-time!

    • Tim Wilson December 6, 2008 at 9:37 am #

      Hey Eshu, sorry for the wait, I’ve been incredibly busy this week. So glad you’ve found your way back!

      You are right my friend. It shouldn’t be taken for granted to have that free time, and putting food on the table is the important thing.

      The thing that I have found hard is trying to get to that stage where work isn’t something about putting food on the table, but rather something that can point me closer to God. Hopefully some day I’ll find it.

  4. Eshu December 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    That’ll be work, I guess. Here’s a tip to give you more time. If you read a lot of blogs/websites, use Google Reader to just get the content aggregated via RSS feeds rather than having to visit numerous sites to check for updates.

    Sounds like you should be working in the church.

    • Tim Wilson December 8, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

      Eshu,

      I would love to be working in the church, but at the moment that isn’t where I am so I guess I must make the most of where I am. It’s hard work but hopefully I’ll get there.

      Thanks for the tip, I have been using bloglines and I had a massive clearout of the blogs I don’t actually get much from. I’ve added your blog too and look forward to hearing your views. Whilst we disagree it’ll be good to get to know you better in your home court :)

  5. Andrew Noble December 8, 2008 at 2:38 am #

    Tim, unfortunately I agree with all your main points! It is a challenge. However, as most of us are called to the workplace as opposed to ‘full-time ministry’ (for lack of a better term), I think this is necessary for bringing the love and message of Jesus to the ‘World’, as I’m sure you agree.

    So there clearly must be a way to marry work and ‘being in the workplace’ to our relationship with God, our ongoing personal discipleship and our commission to take the message of Christ into the World. For me, this starts with engaging in constant communication with the Holy Spirit throughout the day – giving up the small things to Him and praising Him for the talents He has given me and the people He has put around me.

    ‘Evangelism’ takes place through demonstrating to my colleagues what it means to be filled with the love of Christ (not always successfully!). This may take form through a specific conversation about my faith but I think this is best communicated through work ethic, the absence of getting involved in gossip etc. and just in the way that I behave. People do notice these things, even if they never comment about it.

    As much as we are called by God to draw closer to Him and to be in relationship with Him, we are called to live amongst the people of the World (which I think is the Great Commission), and being in a workplace is a great opportunity for this, even if it is not ‘purposeful evangelism’.

    I like your honesty in discussing these things – God will surely honour your will to follow Him more, whatever you’re doing!

    • Tim Wilson December 8, 2008 at 7:36 pm #

      Andrew, great to hear from you. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think we’ve heard from you before, so great to meet you, I hope you stick around.

      I agree totally, Christians in the workplace are definitely essential for God to bring his message to the world. I must say I long to be like you in giving the small things to Christ.

      I agree also that our lives are an essential part of the process. Whilst only the proclamation of the Gospel can bring faith (see Romans 10) our actions can give us an opportunity to speak as well as “adorning the Gospel” (i.e. making it look like it’s worth believing).

      I hope you stick around and provide your helpful comments on my attempts at solutions to these problems later this week!

  6. Andrew Noble December 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    Tim, you would be correct! I got a link to your blog from another one that I was reading (I can’t remember which one now…). You’re on my RSS reader, so I’ll stay tuned. Cheers.

  7. Demian Farnworth January 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Great post. Definitely the sheer exhaustion keeping me away from Christ is something I suffer from. I hate it. But that’s a warning that something needs to change.

    Ever thought of starting a Bible study? Even if nobody showed up, you can take that rejection to the bank, realizing Christ said that exactly will happen to you. And you know you are obeying him.

    Hang in there, and keep us posted on how you are doing. We are here to pray for you.

  8. Tim Wilson January 24, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    Demian thanks for your godly encouragement!

    I’ve thought of doing a Bible study but never at school. People tend to arrive ridiculously early, work ridculously late and leave. Hmm… I’m sure there must be an education link I could plug. Maybe I could start a study for the kids. I’ve found RE (Religious Education) lessons are a great way to do it. I’ve already discussed with my kids the fact that everyone is “naughty” and that’s why they need Jesus. It was the best news the “naughty boys” had heard in their life.

    In terms of hanging in there, I think things have got a lot better recently. I’ve structured my evenings to make the most of my time. And having time to just read is so so important. Thank you for your prayers!

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