Your Presence Speaks Day 3: What Does Your Presence Say at Work/School?
For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47, ESV)
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV)
For most of us, the places in which we interact most with the world are work and/or school. In fact, we likely spend more time in these places than we do at church. Because we spend so much of our time there, we build relationships with many people, both believers and nonbelievers. Whether you’re the CEO or the custodian, senior or freshman, you have a presence. What does your presence tell your coworkers or classmates?
In order to establish a good presence, we must first establish good relationships. After all, how can you share the gospel with someone you don’t speak to? If you know me, you’re probably laughing at the thought of me writing that because, well, it’s not my specialty. As an introvert with social anxiety, I gravitate towards the life of a wallflower and often don’t go out of my way to establish relationships with people in school/work environments. So, if anyone understands the struggles of relationships outside of church and family, it’s me. That being said, it’s very important that we first build relationships with the people we interact with most. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but in general your coworkers or classmates should see you as approachable and full of light.
How do we establish a good presence? Well, the easiest answer to that question is to be like Christ. We are called to be a light in the world, and to do that we must be mirrors that reflect His light. Our coworkers/classmates should not be afraid to speak to us because they feel unwelcome or judged by us. Whether they be authority figures or employees, they should not feel disrespected nor devalued by us. While we may not agree with all viewpoints or lifestyles, we should be respectful of all people. If not, how can we expect them to respect us or listen when we share the truth of the gospel? We should seek to be loving, joyful, peacemakers, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.
With a good and welcoming presence established, we are better suited to share the gospel, that being the most important aspect of our presence at work and school. However, before we can share the gospel, we should be well-versed in Scripture. I don’t mean that you should be able to quote the Bible cover to cover, but rather that a good foundation of knowledge in the Word of God is very important. In order to share God’s Word, we must first know it. Even more so, we must be prepared to answer the inevitable questions that come with sharing the gospel. We have to be prepared to go on the defensive for the truth. Now, we are not talking fist-fights or heated arguments here, but when we are faced with big questions, we should be able to answer with Scripture and knowledge to the best of our ability. We don’t all need to be scholars nor should we fear sharing the gospel because we may not have all the answers. When God presents us with the opportunity, He will empower us to share His Word.
My challenge to you today is to assess your work/school relationships. Do they know you’re a believer? Do they even know you? Do they feel comfortable speaking to you or even just being around you? Make changes where they are needed to improve your relationships with your coworkers/classmates, and then ask God for guidance in sharing His gospel. Ask Him to provide you with opportunities to show people His love and to tell them of the good news of salvation. Establish yourself as the person who is loving, joyful, a peacemaker, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Be a light, and people will be drawn to you.