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O’ Be Careful Little Eyes, 3 Common Sense Ministry Tips for the Work Place

Christians in the workplace are often admonished to be mindful of non-Christians who watch them, looking for a difference. The hope is that a non-Christian will see this difference as positive, hope-giving, life affirming and will draw them to Christ. I pray that I reflect Jesus to those with whom I work. For this reason, I choose to live my faith out loud. I hope it makes a difference, but I never know for sure.

That is until I accepted a new position in my office. Here I started working closely with “Shirley,” a dear woman.  Shirley does not define herself as Christian, but seems to have some belief in God. She is one of the sweetest and sensitive of God’s creatures I have ever met. We have quickly escalated from co-workers to friends.

Shirley watches Christians—a lot. She categorizes us as well. Those that she observes acting in a way hypocritical to their professed faith are “bad” Christians; those who do not are “good” Christians. I am currently on her “good Christian” list, and therein lies the problem. I am a sinner. I will disappoint her. I can try to fake goodness all of the time, but  I think that will make the fall from Shirley’s grace even worse.

So how do I, a Christian in the workplace, act in such a way that is both becoming and authentic? ? How do I demonstrate that while I continue to sin every day, and it is only by the grace of a God (and His son’s death on the cross) I don’t think she fully comprehends (not that I do either) that I portray any goodness at all? While pondering this question, I recollected the children’s song “O Be Careful Little Eyes.” It occurred to me that an adultified (I totally just made that word up) concept of this song could be applied to Christians in the workplace. What do these non-Christians observe about how I see, how I hear, what I say, and what I do that shapes their opinion, not only of m, but of Christians and of (gulp) Jesus?

  1. becarefuleyeOh be careful little eyes what you see!  An outside observer notices is my disposition, first. How do I see the world? What is my outlook, and how does that manifest itself across my face? Do I present a sour mood all of the time? Do I frown more than I smile? Do I appear disgruntled or unfriendly to others? As a Christian, I would hope not! I know when I go through seasons of despair and negativity I will ask myself, “Where is my faith?” I think observers ask the same thing, or take it just a step further. “If her God is so good, why is she so unhappy all of the time?” Ouch. Father, thank You that You are always faithful. Help me to demonstrate my trust in You even when I am going through a rough spot.
  2. becarefulhearBelieve it or not non-Christians monitor  how I hear, in a two-fold way. As a follower of Jesus, am I approachable to others? Do I listen to others and show that I care about them? Conversely, when that talk turns ugly—gossip, slander, bitter complaining, am I in the thick of it? Do I join right in? Maybe someone else struggles with me here. I am a writer, and so I love stories. I may not always add to the gossip, but sometimes I am tempted to listen to it. With God’s help, I am learning to walk away from all ugly talk (no matter how juicy it may be), AND doing that in a discreet manner rather than casting judgment on the ones who are participating, because let’s face it—I really want to hear the dirt. Father, God—Give me the patience to listen to and care for others as Jesus does. Let me not be tempted to join in with gossip and tarnish my testimony.  Rather than New Year’s resolutions this year, I chose a Bible verse to shape my year. Considering the challenges I would face with my new position at work, it seems obvious that God gave it to me. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29, NIV). What we say to and around non-Christians pretty much defines our faith in their eyes. It would be so easy for me to pat myself on the back when Shirley strokes my ego and tells me what a good Christian I am—if not for the fear of the look upon her face as she discovers I am a filthy rag of a sinner. I know it is not a matter of if but when I will disappoint my sweet friend. In the meantime, I can try to temper that blow by being authentic with my struggles. Telling her when I make mistakes and thanking God in front of her for His grace with an old sinner like me. I admit to her, as often as I can, that doing “good” does not usually come naturally to me—it is the deposit of God in my heart that propels me towards my awkward walk towards righteousness. Lord, keep me humble. Force me to face my struggles in a public way so that others will see Your grace.
  3. becarefuldoI know that non-Christians scrutinize what I do while I am at work. I may have the loveliest depictions of Scripture verses on my desk and be decked out in cross shaped jewelry, but it does not matter one iota if I can’t be counted on in my job. The Bible says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc 9:10). This means that I have to show up to work, on time, and ready to work hard. I should help others (even if it is “not my job”), and go above and beyond the call of duty. When I look at all that Jesus accomplished during His short ministry, I know that I should never be idle except during times of prayer. Jesus was not lazy, and His whole purpose was to serve others. Does this mean that I need to wash a few feet in my workplace? Yes, I think it does. Talk is cheap. Disciples of Jesus put their money where their mouth is. Holy Spirit, show me where I can do more. Give me opportunities to serve those with whom I work.

Lord knows I am far from having this whole thing figured out. I am honored while I tremble in fear at the opportunity God has given me to witness in my workplace. Woe to me should I ever turn someone off on the prospect of accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I am so thankful for a God that walks with me each step of my journey, but also goes before me. I thank Him that He is so big that I cannot thwart His plans for His people. I pray for the privilege of helping others walk into His fold while being mindful to be careful of what I see, hear, say and do.

RhondaMaydwellRhonda Maydwell is new to our contributing staff here at Who’s That Lady!  You will hear more about her on June 1st, as we continue to streamline and sassy-fy the website for your reading pleasure.  In the meantime, you have a small teaser of Red Carpet Ready Rhonda.  The gloves are awesome, aren’t they! I hope you’ve enjoyed her offering.

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  1. Cicely Cicely

    Thanks so much! I am definitely posting the scripture “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29, NIV) in my office for next school year!

  2. Rhonda, this is a good post. (I think I told you that already). That old school children’s church song puts everything in perspective, and now I am (dunh dunh duuuuuunh) accountable. But the bit about how I hear. I stand convicted. As I move into the fabulous, wonderful, perfect new job for me–wherever it is, I will be aware of how I hear and take in things from others. I will also think about when it’s time to walk away, gracefully, from the conversation. Rhonda, I think that’s a post for you, “How to walk away, gracefully.” I’ll be waiting.

  3. Demetria Bowers-Adair Demetria Bowers-Adair

    This article speaks profoundly to me. In the workplace, school and even out with my friends I have been graciously dubbed the good Christian girl. Although I honestly make conscious efforts daily to walk in his will and way (without a pseudo halo) it is difficult. In my flesh not only do I want to I DO participate in un-Christian like conversations. You’re right the fall from my peers and God’s grace is painful, disappointing and destructive to others. Thank you Rhonda for the scripture reference and such a great article.

  4. Rhonda Maydwell Rhonda Maydwell

    Thank you, Ladies, for the warm welcome and encouraging words!

    Cicely- As I have allowed God to work this verse in my life this year, I have found its true magnitude. It is not about my willpower to hold back harsh or offensive words. Instead, it has been about my attitude, my thought life, my vision of others who are created in His image. Be fair warned if you ask God to work on you through this verse- He is going to change you!

    DiAnne- Thank you, and I continue to pray for the perfect employment opportunity for you. I have been blessed to know what it is to fall under your tutelage. Students in your future will be equally blessed. And I will be working on that post! Walking away gracefully is a work in progress for me… literally and figuratively!!

    Demetria- You bless me with your kind words. Aren’t you thankful for God’s grace? I couldn’t survive a day without it! I have found that it isn’t about never messing up in front of my non-believing friends, co-workers, or family… it is about transparency. I tried to fake it for too many years. Genuine (warts and all) is the only thing that wins trust, and thus wins souls…

  5. Great tips Rhonda! Can’t wait to read more from you.

    It’s important that we are aware of our behaviors in public as well as in private. Someone is always watching even if we don’t think they are.

  6. Rhonda Maydwell Rhonda Maydwell

    Thanks, Zina! I am working on a new post. What do cracked eggs, thunderstorms, and frogs have in common…AND can they make me a more godly wife??? Stay tuned to find out!!!

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