Christ's Archy and the Workplace
Therefore, however you wish that people would treat you, this is how you should treat them, because this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12 Author’s Translation).
The ethical manifesto of Jesus Christ ends with a final moral exhortation before Jesus reminds his audience that his way is the ultimate, even the only way. The teaching is that God’s law is essentially that the disciple of Jesus Christ determine how a person needs to be treated, as they are, and then to treat them that way.
It is easy for any Christian to become enamored of good preaching, awesome bible studies, sweet music, intentional communities, foreign missions, and great theology. So much so that we forget that Jesus summarizes the whole Old Testament, which he claims to fulfill (Matthew 5:17-20) with this one sentence.*
Our adherence to Jesus’ teaching is largely related to how we treat the people who are right around us. This includes those in our household, in our schools, at our jobs, on our streets, and at our places of commerce and hanging out. It even means in our churches or when we drive (I get upset in traffic).
Jesus’ archy means that he is king of us in our individual lives. We must treat others as we would wish to be treated. Kind words, appropriate material assistance, prayer for them, encouraging correction, and showing honor and respect to them. The main place most will find to obey Jesus is in their workplace, which is one of the main places where Christians don’t act like Jesus Christ. The time to be the light of the world is literally right now, because Jesus tells his disciples that they are light right now. This means that you can do good works that lead to God exalting praise, even if you aren’t doing them right now.
This kind of life is available to those who seek Jesus’ power to live it. He is with us always, even until the end of the age.
I do recommend some spiritual disciplines for learning to actually accomplish this command:
- Meditate on what is good about other people (Philippians 4:1-9).
- Memorize this passage of Jesus’ teachings (see Psalm 119 about memorizing God’s word).
- Make a list of things which anger you, depress you, irritate you, make you feel disrespected, and then modify how you treat people accordingly.
- Leave early for work every morning, you won’t be stressed and irritable when you’re there. I’m certain you wish your co-workers did the same.
- Call the teachings, example, and grace of Jesus Christ to your mind as often as possible at work.
- Meditate on how quickly grudges, arguments, and passive aggressive behavior ends when somebody breaks the cycle by thinking of the other person as more significant than themselves.
*The fulfillment happens in his teachings, actions, death, resurrection, sending of the Spirit, present reign, etc.
These are great points Geoff. We have created this strange mindset where we have one standard when we are “at church” and another the rest of the week. In too many cases we speak and act Monday through Saturday in ways we never would on Sunday but the mission field by and large for most Christians is, as you say, right around us and for many of us we are exposed to the most people at work. Great thoughts!
May our actions reflect the good news of the Kingdom of God in our workplaces (or reign of God, or Christ’s Archy as you put it). Good news, good post, good reminders. Thanks.
Art, thank you for the kind words.
I remember a telling portion of a Scot McKnight book. He mentioned something to the effect that people care so much about hungry people in Africa, but do not know about hunger down the street.
Christians must know about and act for both groups of hungry people.
I just posted Preaching Christ while working for the Government at my blog. Not particularly an itemized list, but of the same vein. I agree with the necessity of intrinisic examination of our conduct and whether we are in submission to Christ. I second that emotion with the need for it to impact those around you as a witness..
This is good and uplifting, Geoff. I would add to #4 with a suggestion. Leave for work early, get there early, and then go around to each chair, work station, etc. That you can or feel called to and pray for the person who sits in it, works in it, etc. Leave a blessing for them that even if they don’t know about it they will be affected by it in a positive way.