This series is about our life with the church as we attempt to live together as brothers and sisters. (For a more detailed description of this series, see my post “Church Life – A New Series.”)
In this post of my Church Life series, I want to talk about the workplace, and primarily, the coworkers that God has brought into my life and the relationships that we’ve developed.
Too often, when we think about sharing life with the church, we limit that “shared life” to specific people, specific days, specific times, etc. However, anytime that God brings people into our lives we should love them as our neighbors (i.e. the parable of the Good Samaritan). This becomes especially true when those people are also brothers and sisters in Christ. Our responsibilities toward one another are not limited to people who share an organizational membership (i.e. church members).
I work in an office with three or four other people (the number changes from time to time). In the seven years that I’ve worked in this office, I’ve met some great people, and we’ve formed very close friendships. In fact, I’m still in contact with several people who have now moved to other states.
We’ve had different beliefs when it comes to the church, or end times, or salvation, etc. However, we found unity and community in Jesus Christ.
Yes, we’ve made each other angry at times. We’ve gotten on each other’s nerves. We’ve let each other down from time to time. That is, we’re human.
However, these were not relationships that we could just drop and move on to someone else. We had to work together. So, we worked through the problems, and we found our relationships becoming even stronger, not because of our agreements but in spite of our disagreements. Why? Because, we discovered that we still have fellowship with one another in Jesus Christ, if we do not hinder that fellowship by some man-made distinctive.
So, even though we were part of different church organizations, and even though we had differing beliefs in some areas of doctrine or theology, and even though there was friction occasionally, we found community together in Jesus Christ. Of course, given that we spent more time with one another than with most other believers (we worked together 40 hours per week), we found these relationships to be much stronger than others, and often more important in our developing maturity in Jesus Christ.
We talked and discussed issues together. We prayed together. We listened to one another. We helped one another (even outside the work environment). In other words, we carried out our family responsibilities toward one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, when you are thinking about Christian community and sharing life with other believers, don’t forget about relationships outside of the church organization (i.e. church members). God may bring coworkers or neighbors or fellow volunteers into your lives. Don’t neglect those people but foster your relationship with anyone that God brings into your life, especially fellow believers.