Taking Jesus to work
If you follow sports at all you are aware that Tim Tebow, having been dumped in Denver in favor of Payton Manning, is now being traded to the NY Jets. Many people, including Pat Roberston, have sounded off on the wisdom of this trade of the outspoken Christian. Comments on the football wisdom, or lack thereof, in this move are expected. But there has also been a great deal of speculation as to whether Tebow is a “fit” for the bawdy Jets locker room where there is dissention, a foul-mouthed coach and past allegations of sexual harassment abound.
I read a report that this, coupled with the cynical New York press and sporting public, will make life miserable for Tebow. My first reaction was that Tebow has been around football locker rooms for some time now and I doubt that this will be his first exposure to coarse language and crude behavior. I am confident that he can take care of himself.
But it got me to thinking of something else. I suspect that many of us work in places where the language and behavior is not too different. If we can survive it I am sure he can too. The anticipated trouble seems to be based on the assumption that Christians need to be protected from, and frowning upon, such behaviors or else we will be somehow contaminated. The core question seems to be “What should I do about taking Jesus to work with me?”
One answer a lot of Christians give is isolation. We should do the best we can to protect ourselves and avoid such experiences. The problem with this plan is that it doesn’t seem to me that Jesus followed it. He regularly hung out with the scum of Jewish society.
Another answer would be to leave Jesus at the door and tell him you will pick him up on the way out; do not in any way let anyone know you are with him. I actually had someone once ask me to pray with her that her boss never find out she is a Christian. This one doesn’t appeal to me either.
A third choice is to go “as a missionary”; to go with the express purpose of witnessing to others. Perhaps. I am pretty sure however that my firm didn’t hire me to be a witness so my first obligation is to be diligent and as capable as I can at my job. I strongly suspect that co-workers, once they become convinced that they are in your evangelical gun sights, wouldn’t be happy about it.
It seems to me that you have to create relationships at work as a starting point. Do we like our co-workers and enjoy their company even if they don’t want Jesus? Am I expressing verbal and personal support for them? Can they count on me to do my job and, if needed, help them?
I like that last point but the truth is that you can do that with or without Jesus. It is only when you are known as a Christian that this can become a Jesus-thing. So at my workplace I don’t pass out tracts, don’t constantly tell people they need Jesus and don’t (now get this) “look for witness opportunities.” But they know I am a Christian. Do those opportunities ever come? Yes. Am I in charge of creating them? No.
One last point; what about rude language and behavior? It’s a tough call. I am not the company scold, enforcing standards on others. I am however called to live in such a way as to honor God. I am pretty sure that the tax collectors and sinners Jesus hung out had some rude attitudes too. I see no evidence he scolded them. I see plenty of evidence that they loved hanging out with him.