When we use the words “faith at work,” some people get so hot under the collar and very defensive. I can understand why.
For years many people who claimed to bring their faith to work had only one goal: to convert their peers to their belief system. They would bring their Bible to work (or whatever book that expressed their belief system); looked for any opportunity to share their faith at work; and made it their goal to convert the people around them, in the workplace, to their belief system.
As the president and founder of a multimillion-dollar organization, I will say right now that this is not faith at work. As a matter of fact, if my employees started using company time to “witness” to other employees, seeking to convert them to their religion, I would probably fire them. That is a misuse of company time and a misuse of the application of “faith at work.”
Faith at work, as I see it and hope to lead the world in, means my faith makes me a better worker. It is the outworking of everything I believe being demonstrated in my workplace. As a person who exercises her faith at work, it should make me the best worker anyone ever encounters. I should be more faithful, more patient, more honest, and the one who shines the most. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be perfect.
True faith, whether it’s the Christian, Hindu, Muslim faith or any other practice of religion, is not focused on being perfect or better than another person. It means I'm seeking to be a better person, more empowered and rising above what I could ever be on my own. It doesn’t mean I'm more perfect or that perfection is my goal. Simply put, it means I'm dependent on One greater than myself to help me with my work and my life.
Now some Christians might get very upset with me for using other religions as my example. For some odd reason, the Christian community seems to think that “faith at work” or “heaven in business” or “marketplace ministry” means that the entire world is now going to convert to Christianity and the world will finally be a better place. That’s a fantasy. If God Himself gives every human being a free will and a choice of who and what they will believe in, it’s delusional for us to think that eventually our goal is to change the planet to the Christian faith. As a faith at work person, my goal is to make the world a better place.
Yes, I'm a radical Jesus lover. I believe the Bible is true and I'm a born again Christian. But when I interact with other people, my focus is love and living out what I believe. Jesus hung out with some very “contrary” individuals and ironically, the religious of his day hated him for it. They scorned him and judged him for having a meal with prostitutes and tax collectors. They hated him for walking and talking to the lowly and the despised. In my generation, I find it ironic that the religious of our world system resent me for thinking that I could work in harmony with others who believe differently than me and my focus would be to change the world to be a better place for us all, and not to simply convert everyone to my way.
Transforming a culture and impacting a society means changing it at the foundational level. Yes, this will mean we’re going to have to talk about morality and ethics and integrity. But it doesn’t mean I have the right to judge, hate or cast off people who believe differently than me. It means I'm going to really have to know what I believe and maturely govern myself and my attitude with others who believe differently than me. Diversity in harmony is a powerful thing and it brings unity. Trying to make everyone like me and my beliefs doesn’t take much power at all—and it’s very small-minded.
Do I believe in my faith 100% and with my whole heart? Yes. Do I believe it is the truth and the one I would be willing to give my life for? Yes! But it also means I will love others who believe differently than me so that we can work together with a common goal of changing the world and getting results in our workplace.
Faith at work means you are real, genuine, living out what you believe with your whole heart. I have clients who are not Christians and we communicate well together, we are powerful together, and we make a difference together. When it comes to the foundational issues of how I do business and how I make decisions, which for me is prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, we might differ. But it doesn’t mean we have to argue and fight. It might mean there are certain things we can’t do together, and that we’ll have to respectfully part ways on. But it never means we can’t love or have peace.
When you truly know what you believe and are firmly persuaded in it, you don’t need everyone else to believe that way to validate it. You’ll be strong, solid, and stable. Faith at work at the core of its premise means everyone lives in harmony, powerfully, and united. It truly is a great way to live.
It also means that if you work with people who don’t have faith, you honor them as well. If you like to pray when you start your day, go ahead and do that, even in a group if you want to. But don’t make others feel less than or unequal to you if they choose not to.
Live your faith out at work and love others. That is the goal. Faith works at work and it’s something we all can aspire to practice in our day to day lives. Face it, we spend more time in the workplace than any other place in our week. We spend more time with our peers at work than we do with our families, friends or any other activity. It’s time for a revival in the marketplace! Where we learn to love, build a culture of honor, and learn to live powerfully, together, in harmony.
Faith at work can help us to get there.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.
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