Outside of your immediate family, you probably spend more time with people at work than with anyone else in your life. In a way, they are your “forced friends”: you have to spend a lot of time with them, and you therefore generally want to get along with them, but they are not necessarily people you would otherwise choose to hang out with. They may have backgrounds, interests, or personalities that are very different from yours.
Although they might not be people you would have chosen as friends, God has chosen to put you in their lives. You have the opportunity to be a light in your workplace (Matthew 5:16) and to serve as Christ’s ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20) to your coworkers, customers, or anyone you come into contact with.
A good way to actively love and serve the people you interact with at work is to share the gospel with them. But how?
Sharing the Gospel with Coworkers
You should love and serve your coworkers just like you do when sharing the gospel with your neighbors. After all, your coworkers are your neighbors, in the “love your neighbor as yourself” sense (Galatians 5:14). The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) emphasizes that we can choose to be a “neighbor” to anyone we come across.
You can be a good neighbor to your coworkers by taking an interest in their lives. Get to know them so that you understand their backgrounds and can determine how to best serve them and meet their needs. Build relationships with them and take a long-term approach.
A long-term approach doesn’t mean that you procrastinate and never get around to doing anything; after all, people do change jobs, and they won’t be your coworker forever. Instead, it means that you should start today, but be willing to take small steps and demonstrate that you care about them as people.
Sharing the Gospel with Customers
Many people interact with customers or clients at work. Depending on the situation, you might talk with these customers for only a few seconds (like when you are a cashier ringing up orders, for instance). But you might also have regular clients that you see often or work closely with over a long period of time. For these people, you can seek to turn the conversation toward spiritual questions or invite them to join you for church.
When your motive is love and you approach the person as a friend, most customers won’t take offense or decide to stop doing business with you. However, even if that did happen, it would be better to lose them as a customer than to lose them for eternity.
Sharing the Gospel with Your Boss
Sharing the gospel with an employer or supervisor can make people more nervous, because of the power that they have over your job. You might fear losing favor with your boss, or possibly even losing your job. (Although that is probably very unlikely, it is also not completely unheard of; just remember that their eternity is more important than your job.)
To share the gospel with your employer, start by being a great employee. Work for them as though you were working for the Lord (Colossians 3:22-24). In doing so, you will gain favor with your employer and make them want to keep you as an employee.
Then, share the gospel with them as you would with any coworker. Remember that they, too, are people made in God’s image, and are just as much in need of God’s grace.
On Mission at Work
As followers of Christ, we are all “on mission” in our everyday lives. You don’t have to work in vocational ministry, be a “missionary,” or take a vacation from your secular job in order to “go on mission.”
Many people pay money to travel to mission fields to share the gospel (and there certainly is a place for that). However, your workplace is also a mission field, and they literally pay you to be there. You speak the language, know the culture, and will be around to disciple people who do trust in Christ.
Strive to be faithful in your workplace, and remember that your true reward is in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).