3 John 2 I pray that in every way, you will prosper and be healthy, all while your soul also prospers.
I think it is safe to say when it comes to our work lives, we all want to succeed and not be failures, both saints and sinners alike. When a company hires you, it is to bring your gifts and skills to the "workbench" to get the job
done. You and your co-workers collectively have different personalities, beliefs, and interests, and you draw from different internal drivers and motivations for doing the work. What motivates me is not necessarily what drives you and vice versa. Out of all the many types of people you may encounter at work, I've listed a few typical examples that are unhealthy with both their internal drivers and motivations. Maybe you know some of these people.
The Un-Social Butterfly
These focused individuals have the attitude of just merely wanting to get into the office to get the work done while having as few work-related meetings and interactions with co-workers as possible. To them, a co-worker is a liability and an inconvenience that comes with the job and must be endured. If you have seen the show "Parks and Recreation," think Ron Swanson.
The Fireman represents those hustling to work their way up the corporate ladder doing whatever it takes to get ahead, eventually becoming a team leader or manager. Through sheer determination, some of these types reach levels as high as the C-Suite. The way these individuals move up through the ranks leaves a collateral damage trail in the form of broken work relationships a mile wide and a mile long. These individuals lie, steal, cheat, backbite, and step on their co-workers just to get ahead. Whatever it takes is what it takes.
Unfortunately, the Un-Social Butterfly and The Fireman demonstrate unhealthy views of co-workers. Working with these people can make you feel belittled and worthless. I've personally seen these types of people treat their co-workers like yesterday's trash and rip them to shreds. Equally as unhealthy, are those with wrong perspectives about the job itself.
Work-life, work responsibilities, and co-workers can grow stale. Green Grassers, in desperation, launch out looking for fulfillment at a new job that is perceived to be a better use of their innate gifts and talents. Once in a new role, they are beyond ecstatic because that "New Job Smell" is intoxicating. Later it is discovered that the new job is not what they expected; these people resolve to find another job hoping the next one will be better. This behavior becomes an ongoing cycle, and unfortunately, they end up looking like unreliable job hoppers.
Unfortunately, the grass seemed greener but…
"Robots" work in a horizontal direction by continually (sometimes blindly) moving from task to task, never stopping. They hyperfocus on work until it gets done, but to them, that never seems to occur. In reality, when a job is complete, another task is waiting for them to address with no time for rest, reflection, or recognition. Constantly grinding away and never coming up for air, these "Robots" seem to be running on a lack of self-worth. Regardless of the cost, they are willing to sacrifice their security, health, and even family to get the job done. To them, working more is always the answer.
Many workers are not necessarily unhealthy or unproductive; they are just bored and looking for excitement. I have personally witnessed these types of individuals catch wind of a motivational speaker or a preacher that promises to help them get excited and get them living the life they have always wanted. These speakers mandate paying large sums of money to attend a seminar or to listen to a special message. These particular messages focus on reaching the highest potential in life and at work with very little practical application. Over time those motivational principles are forgotten and begin to wain. These individuals are worse than when they started with the motivational messages—still bored at work and now with less money in their bank accounts.
Sadly, insecurities, wrong beliefs about the job, co-workers, and the workplace itself, coupled with unrealized work goals, can reak havoc on a soul. All of these factors can provide the backstory of your co-workers and their behavior.
Where does Jesus come into play with all of this? Can God work through me to bring my co-workers to Christ? Does God understand how nasty some of my co-workers are?
Central Truth: Remember, these are precisely the people that Jesus came to save, and it is only with His power that you can share your faith. God has you placed strategically to be a light to your co-workers. Regardless of who they are or what their background is, you bring the only light that they need. You are a vital part of their salvation process.
While it's fun to read about different personality types and motivations, don't get hung up on that stuff. Jesus Christ universally provides the same kind of salvation for all of us, regardless of personality types. If you feel you have to be both a Psychologist and have a Doctorate in Divinity to win someone to Christ, you are mistaken. You don't have to take a course in relating to different personality types to win them to Christ. Also, you don't have to get weird at work with Jesus Pictures and Holy Spirit dove figurines all over your work station to let them know you are a Christian either.
1 Peter 2:12 Make sure you live properly among your unbelieving co-workers. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, your co-workers will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
Your first initiative in introducing your co-workers to Jesus is to Love God and keep doing your job with excellence. If you aren't doing your job right, you become a problem for your co-workers and your company. Employees that are not performing well aren't typically taken seriously when discussing the eternal salvation of a soul. Master your job, become skillful at it. It is when you get home or take a break, that you can begin praying for their salvation. It will take God Himself to intervene in these people's lives and bring about change.
John 13:35 says, "…you will be recognized as a disciple by your love."
Love your co-workers, speak kindly to them, and healthily encourage them.
Read Galatians 5, where it speaks of The Fruit of the Spirit and ask God to help you grow in these qualities.
Live out the change that you want to see in them.
Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man that has friends must be friendly…"
Another action point you can engage in spawns from a conversation Jesus had with His disciples. When He spoke of the Holy Spirit, he referred to him as the Comforter. The word "Comforter" in the original Greek language was a legal term meaning "advocate, one called to stand beside." Jesus described the Spirit as someone that will stand by you in thick and thin. From your experience with God, I'm sure you also have come to value His presence and recognize the power of Him just being there. Authentic Spirit-led living starts with the Spirit standing by us and is continued with us standing alongside those that need it. Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 1:4 concerning this basic principle:
"…comfort those with the comfort you received from God."
God expects us to give away the comfort we receive from Him!
While being diligent and engaged in your work duties, be there for your co-workers and stand beside difficult ones. Start slowly and allow your relationships to build over time. If appropriate, go to lunch with them and take breaks with them. Ask questions. Listen to their stories, be interested, and don't judge them or shove Jesus down their throats. If they are going through a hard time, offer to pray for them or if they need help financially, give what you can. Don't overwhelm them, one step at a time. Keep being faithful at your job and allow God to work on their heart.
Other things you can do are just as simple. Connect on social media. Invite them to your home for dinner or for a fun time on a Saturday. Maybe join them for lunch after you attend your Sunday morning church service. When they ask how your day has been, you can tell them where you were, and they may want to know more. Maybe they will ask to join you for the next Sunday service.
Simply put, engage in each other's lives and be social. Conversations about God tend to be more organic and less confrontational when you operate like this. Bringing someone to Christ is not a numbers game or a competition; it's a relationship lifestyle.
Building relationships with most co-workers happens effortlessly, but certain co-workers will take time and a great deal of patience.
There will be times when you have done all you can to form a relationship with a co-worker, but it just isn't happening. A challenging co-worker may not appreciate your efforts and may even retaliate. However, do not take ridicule or rejection personally, instead stay humble. You have to earn their trust, and that can take longer for certain people. Keep being kind and patient with them, forgive them because they don't know what they are doing.
Romans 2:4 Don't disregard the riches of God's kindness, tolerance, and patience, after all, isn't it God's kindness that leads you to repentance?
Keep being a consistently hard-working employee and a consistent Christian. And never stop praying. God provides you fuel to keep going with people like this in Galatians 6:9
Don't get frustrated at doing what is good. In just the right time, you will reap a harvest of blessing if you don't give up!
God may not have designated you to be their "soul-harvester," instead, you may be one of many "seed sowers" for your co-workers, and that is okay. You are a part of that person's longterm journey to faith, and you are called to do your part and your part only. Only the Spirit in His time with His means can change their heart.
Jesus never meant for the techniques of evangelism to be complicated. He certainly never planned on you doing it alone. Receive power from the Spirit to keep loving God with a consistent life. Stay faithful in your work, keep loving others and, along the way, share your faith.