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 (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
It’s clear that one of the most lasting changes to our work post-pandemic will be where we work physically. Now more than ever, more of us are working from home or in some sort of hybrid environment. And by and large, we are loving it. According to the job search giant Glassdoor, searches for remote work are up an astonishing 460% in the past two years.
As someone who has worked from home for the past three years, I get the appeal. Remote work has some wonderful benefits. But it also carries a significant cost. Because as the Apostle Paul makes clear in today’s passage, our workplaces are one of, if not the, primary place where we can “win the respect of outsiders” and share the gospel.
So how should we as Christ-followers be thinking differently about these shifts in where we work? Let me suggest three responses.
First, if you have a choice in where you work, the gospel may compel you to sacrifice your freedom to work from home so that you can be more intentional about building relationships with unbelievers in person (see 1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
Second, if you decide remote work is what’s best for you or your team, spend some time thinking about how to build relationships in a virtual environment. That could look like scheduling casual virtual lunches with your co-workers, or baking time into your Monday morning meetings to ask about everyone’s weekends, or encouraging small talk before your Zoom meetings by allowing participants to enter before the host arrives.
Finally, consider whether it’s time to expand your view of your personal mission field to include not just your co-workers, but your physical neighbors. Maybe God’s calling you to be outside with your kids in the afternoons so you can “win the respect” of other parents, or invite a neighbor who also works from home out to lunch, or host a block party for your neighbors on Friday night.
Where we’re working is changing. But our call to make disciples is not. Spend some time today thinking deeply about how your personal evangelism needs to shift in relation to the shifting position of your workspace.