You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
As I’ve written about before, sharing the gospel with those we work with is far from the only way our work matters to God. But it is a way. Your job can be a powerful vehicle for following Jesus’s command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Now, Jesus is not saying in this verse that you have to change your vocation or location to participate in his “Great Commission.” The Greek word poreuthentes that we translate “go” in “go and make disciples” is what’s called an aorist tense passive participle. What in the world does that mean for you? It means that a far more accurate translation of Jesus’s words is, “Having gone…make disciples.”
The going was assumed. Jesus was saying that his disciples had already “gone” as fishermen, tax collectors, mothers, and fathers. It wasn’t about how far they went. It was about what they did while they were going. The same is true for you and me.
OK, so the Great Commission is for all of us, not just religious professionals. Every Christian is called to be a “full-time missionary.”
But how can we effectively make disciples as we go about our work—especially in this “post-Christian” cultural moment? I think we all are wise enough to know that street preaching in front of our offices or adding John 3:16 to our Zoom backgrounds isn’t going to cut it. So what will?
In this series, I want to offer 5 simple things we can do to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. Here’s the first: Be so good they can’t ignore you.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul writes, “You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
Paul worked—and commanded his readers to work—in ways that would “win the respect of outsiders.” I’d argue that’s incredibly hard to do if you’re mediocre at your job. Mastery, not mediocrity, wins the respect of outsiders. Excellence is what is winsome to a watching world.
Be so exceptional at what you do that you win the respect of those around you. That’s the first thing you can do to prepare to share the gospel with your co-workers. Next week, we’ll unpack the second.