Running the Race, is a weekly chat with Malcolm Gill, a lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), and each week, he encourages us in different ways as we look at what it means to run the race, that is, to live out the Christian life.
We’re going to talk this week about being a disciple, a follower of Jesus, particularly in the workplace. We’ve talked before about how it’s hard to be a Christian and stand out in school and university, but what difference do you think it means to be a Christian in the workplace?
Oh, I think work is a terrific thing. Now, some of us hear that, and we say, “Hang on a minute, no, work’s a necessary evil.”
No, God has created us to work. So even going back in the Garden of Eden, you can go right back there, and before we wrecked things, God gave a task to Adam. He gave him work to do. And God enjoys, and we should find elements of pleasure in our work. That’s what we’ve been created to do. Now that doesn’t mean every day we go, and we’ve always got a warm feeling in our tummy or a smile on our face. But there is something good about working, and there’s something significant about work that as Christians we should tap into.
Let me just give you a Bible verse here, Sam, from the book of Colossians. It says, “Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a printer, doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, doesn’t matter if you’re a schoolteacher, you have an opportunity to be a representative of Christ. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to go out there and to be a preacher of God’s Word in your workplace, though some people want to do that. It does mean, though, that whatever you do, you should do it to the best of your ability for the glory of God.
So, this is how it looked when I grew up. I grew up in a hardworking family. Dad was a hardworking police officer. Mum worked at the Tic Tac factory. That was kinda cool. But both parents, they were involved in working hard, and they wanted to do, as Christians, work wisely, work well, and work for the glory of God in their vocations. So when I left school, I went out into the workforce as a young person and did my apprenticeship. And so, for me, being a follower of the Lord Jesus, I wanted to do my work well. I didn’t want to be lazy. I didn’t want to be the person that others would speak about. I wanted to view it as an opportunity to serve God.
But God has created us, and he’s created work as a good thing. It’s a positive opportunity to serve him.
You can say, “Malcolm, how can you serve God?” I was a printer, in graphic production in the printing industry. You’d think, “Well, that’s not a great Bible ministry,” but for me, it was a great opportunity to serve God. In fact, one day I did incorporate the Bible into my workplace as a young Christian. People would often ask me questions. And I remember my old boss, Bruce one day coming in, and Bruce asked me, “Malcolm, what do you know?” just as a greeting. “What do you know?” And I thought, “I know that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him won’t perish but have an eternal life.” And I gave him a Bible verse, and my mate Bruce looked at me like I was speaking Japanese. And then he burst out laughing. He thought it was great. He thought it was so funny.
Anyway, the next day, he would say, “Hey, Malcolm, what do you know?” And so for about six months I was trying to learn a Bible verse every day to share with my boss at work.
That’s a fantastic opportunity, isn’t it?
It was a great opportunity. But here’s the reality: You don’t need to share a Bible verse at your workplace every day. But God has created us, and he’s created work as a good thing. It’s a positive opportunity to serve him. So as Paul writes, whatever you do, whether it’s as a radio announcer, whether it’s as a schoolteacher, whether it’s as a stay-at-home mum, work to serve Christ. Know that he is ultimately your boss. You might work for another leading hand; you might work for somebody else in a position of authority, but remember, at the end of the day, God put you in a particular part of his work to accomplish his plan, so do it with all your heart.
That’s encouragement, especially if we’re finding work hard and we’re working for people who are hard to work for as well. Malcolm, thanks so much for the encouragement.
Each Sunday, FRESH presenter Sam Robinson chats with Malcolm Gill, lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), about different aspects of living the Christian life—or ‘running the race’. Hear them on air Sundays at 6.20am and 9.20am, or on FRESH just after 9pm each Saturday.