Years ago, a person I know worked at a small business in a small town. The owner and employee had attended the same Sunday school and church decades before. The owner professed Christianity and was active in a Christian businessmen’s association. He had also gone on short-term mission trips.
One night, it was the employee’s turn to close the store. Besides turning out the lights and locking up, her duties in closing the store meant taking the deposit over to the bank across the street, and putting the deposit in the night deposit box.
The next morning, the employee was shocked when the owner called, demanding to know where his money was. The employee said she had put the money in the chute. The owner said the bank couldn’t find the money. The employee was hurt that the owner would think she had stolen his money, particularly since the owner had known her for years. It turned out that there was a new teller at the bank, and she had not reached far enough down the chute to get the bag. The owner never apologized to the employee.
While the owner talked about Christ in his activities outside the business, he didn’t show Christ in his business, at least, not on that occasion. What an impact it would have had on that employee if the business owner had refrained from jumping to conclusions, or, if he had at least apologized to the employee. As it was, the employee was unjustly accused, and she couldn’t take the owner’s Christian witness seriously. The owner didn’t realize the place his Christianity was most on display was not on the mission trips, but right there in his store, among employees, customers, sales representatives, and delivery people. They were the people most affected by the way his Christianity was lived out.
Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh on the business owner. Consider this: the work environment is where most people spend a good portion of their day. Work is also the source of a lot of stress. People working for a business owner who brings Jesus to work won’t even experience some of that stress, because Jesus is the Source of peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control… (see the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22). The business owner acts with those qualities, because Jesus is working inside of him or her.
For more information on faith at work, check out the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics site: tifwe.org