Embodying Truth

Can believers in the workplace serve God even when not sharing the gospel or praying with unbelievers? For some of us, the answer seems to be “No.”

The pressure to evangelize on the job can turn us into the human equivalent of an overinflated tire. Super-pumping a tire causes it to lose some of its contact with the road. Such a stiff tire also makes for a bumpy ride. Sadly, some of us in our zeal to convert others lose real contact with them and hardly notice the signs they're just enduring our “bumpy ride.” Above all else, over-inflated Christians value the talk.

Under-inflated Christians emphasize only the walk. Just live your life as a low-profile example to your co-workers, and God will take care of the rest. One man, late in life, finally trusted Christ and joined a church. He soon discovered that he had worked closely with one of the elders for 30 years. “George,” he said, “in all those years I never knew you were a Christian. Why didn't you tell me about your faith in Christ?” George said he had hoped his example would provide the witness. To which the other man said, “Your wonderful example only convinced me that if you had the inner strength to live that way, I could also find that kind of strength in myself.”

God sends us into the world of work not just to talk and not just to walk. He sends us there to do both—with Spirit-led timing and proportion. How can we effectively combine our walking and talking?

Jesus said: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). “As,” meaning in the same way, suggests a number of parallels between Jesus' presence in the world and ours. But let's zero in on one of the most obvious similarities. In what form did God send Jesus into the world? In bodily form. God sent Jesus into the world as embodied Truth. In turn, Jesus sends us into the world to embody truth.

To embody means to incarnate, to express in flesh and blood. It means to make concrete and visible. It means to personify, to demonstrate something abstract in tangible form. A body is not all mouth. Neither is it all feet. A body both walks and talks. Jesus incarnated, embodied, the truth—a perfect blending of life-example and speech.

As a believer, you go into your workplace to embody truth. Who you are, what you do and what you say are to communicate the same truth without blurring or distortion.

Peter put it this way: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (I Peter 3:15-16).

Yes, your witness in the workplace includes your talk: your readiness to answer questions. And yes, your witness there includes your walk: the gentleness, the respect, the clear conscience, the good behavior. Those will generate the questions that pave the way for the answers you're prepared to give. People may love or hate embodied truth. But they cannot ignore it.

Workplace Ministry