I was giving a breakfast talk at a local church, after which we formed small groups to further discuss the material that I had presented. Much of my focus had been on our responsibility to serve our coworkers. One of the participants in the small group said, "My daily goal is to get to work, do my job, and get home without having interaction with coworkers. Interaction can lead to problems, and I don't need problems." While I have to admit that I was taken aback by the comment, I appreciated the person's honesty.
Considering the hectic pace of life, it isn't unusual for us to have days, or perhaps weeks, where we feel that we have accomplished something by simply making it through another day, or to another paycheck. Some of us may feel that we've done well just to have finished another year with some semblance of sanity or equilibrium.
Yet, our heavenly Father has called us to be sensitive to others, even in the midst of personal turmoil and uncertainty. One of the characteristics of our Father that Jesus shares with us is that, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:45. The context of this verse is Christ's instruction that we should love and bless those who treat us badly. His point is that if our Father sends his sun and rain upon all people without discrimination, that we should also bless all people without discrimination. This includes our coworkers.
How can we be a blessing to our coworkers?
Prayer is a good place to start. Just as the sun and rain of our Father nourishes our planet, so our prayers can nourish the lives of our coworkers. As women and men whom have been called by God to a corporate priesthood, prayer for others is an integral part of our calling. Consider the fact that it is possible that you might be the only person who ever prays for a coworker, and that if you don't pray for her, then nobody will.
I have some friends who use an organizational chart as a prayer tool. I mentally walk through my firm's offices and stop at each desk and pray for the individual.
What should we pray for? Well, certainly that they will know Christ, and that if they already know him that they will grow in relationship with him. However, I also think that we ought to pray for other specific issues. Has there been a loss in the family? Is there a new baby? Is there unemployment or sickness in the family? Perhaps the person is going through a tough emotional time. Maybe there is loneliness.
Do we know our coworkers well enough to know how to pray specifically for them?
Praying for specifics helps us to be open to relational opportunities with others. When our hearts and minds are focused on others in prayer, the Holy Spirit can communicate to us concerning our relationships.
Thanksgiving for our coworkers is also important. The Scriptures teach us that we are to give thanks for all people, 1 Timothy 2:1. I have heard many a Christian share how giving thanks for a coworker has served to reduce tension and break down unseen barriers between individuals.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus teaches that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We have a responsibility to live as salt and light in the marketplace. While our opportunities for expression will be different, depending on our gifts and environments, we can trust our Father that there will be opportunities, for we have a purpose and destiny in Him.