How to Evangelize in a Secular Work Environment. This post is contributed by Taryn Oesch, author of the blog: Everyday Roses.
The New Evangelization calls us to “be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize.”
Most of us don’t spend our days working in religious ministry. So how are we called to evangelize in a secular working environment?
Should we leave rosaries on our bosses’ desks and invite our cubicle mates to Mass? I’m sure there are cases when these activities are appropriate and effective.
But subtler ways to be a Christian witness with non-Christian or non-Catholic co-workers can have more impact.
Here are 8 strategies to evangelize in your workplace.
1. Be Poor in Spirit
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he didn’t mean you have to stop accepting your paycheck.
Being poor in spirit means being relying completely upon God, not on yourself, other people, or material possessions (including that paycheck). This dependence makes us humble, and it makes us open to whatever God has planned for us.
What does being poor in spirit look like in the workplace?
It looks like humility – accepting praise for a good job but not being boastful or arrogant.
It looks like serving others, whether through a simple smile every morning or through offering to help a co-worker who has been out of the office because of a death in the family.
It looks like managing conflict peacefully and without vengeance.
It looks like acknowledging your mistakes humbly and working to make amends.
2. Suffer as Christ Did
The second beatitude, “Blessed are they who mourn,” isn’t specific to mourning death. It refers to suffering in a broad sense and calls us to bear suffering in a Christian way.
At work, it means offering suffering up to God as well as comforting those who are suffering.
If you bear the brunt of a manager’s bad mood, offer it up as a sacrifice for other souls.
If a co-worker has been sick and is struggling to get back into the swing of things, comfort him or her, and find ways to help.
3. Be Meek
Meekness is a combination of humility, patience and kindness.
This beatitude can be hard at work.
When a project isn’t going as well as we’d like it to, being passionate about what we do, can cause us to lash out – externally or internally.
It’s good to be passionate about your work. But to show meekness, be kind about disagreeing, patient about mistakes, and humble about your opinions.
4. Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Speaking of passion, this beatitude is full of it.
Since we were children, we’ve felt indignant when told, “Life’s not fair.” It’s likely that we see injustice happen at work, and we’ll hunger and thirst for righteousness.
We should inspire each other with our search for justice and our work to achieve it.
You don’t have to work in a nonprofit or a government agency to seek out justice. If you observe one co-worker treat another one unfairly, have the courage to speak up.
5. Be Merciful
Another tricky one.
Mercy is often difficult to find and difficult to show in a world full of vengeance. But, as Pope Francis said, “Mercy is the keystone of the life of faith, and concrete way with which we give visibility to the Resurrection of Jesus.”
We can’t be Christian witnesses if we don’t show mercy.
When we forgive our co-workers instead of holding grudges or retaliating, we demonstrate Christ’s merciful love in action.
6. Keep a Clean Heart
I don’t mean you should eat less red meat (although, arguably, that’s not a bad piece of advice).
All our actions in the workplace, as in the rest of our lives, should be motivated by pure intentions.
It’s fine to seek a promotion – if it’s because the promotion will help you better put your gifts to good use. But not if it’s because you just want to feel like you’re better than your team mates
It’s fine to ask for a raise – if it’s because you’ve worked hard and deserve it. But not if it’s because you’re seeking more money out of greed.
Everything we do, even in a secular workplace, should ultimately help us seek the kingdom of God.
7. Keep the Peace
There’s so much conflict in the world, including at work.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that to live out the seventh beatitude, we need to overcome a culture where
“relationships of coexistence are inspired by criteria of power or profit, means become ends and vice versa, and culture and education are centered on instruments, technique and efficiency alone.”
Does this sound like the culture at your office?
Even if you’re not in charge, you can help make small changes by your example.
Show that you value your co-workers more than you value the money they bring into the company. Show that you value your time with your family more than that 51st hour in the office this week.
Treat people like children of God rather than a means to an end.
By your example, you can inspire others.
8. Persevere in the Face of Persecution
At the end of the day, living out the beatitudes at work may come at a price.
You may have co-workers or supervisors who don’t understand Christ and don’t understand the life you’re trying to live.
Live that life anyway.
About Taryn Oesch
Taryn is the author of the blog: Everyday Roses
Taryn Oesch is a writer, editor and recovering control freak in Raleigh, NC. She blogs about her journey to become more contemplative and prayerful at www.everydayroses.blog.
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