Being faithful to Christ in a “quasi-government” employment setting.

I work in Community Mental Health. Technically, I am not an employee of the government. But, by proxy, I am employed by a contractor whose major funding source resides at the County level. That County source gets its funding from the State, and the State receives most of its money for this funding from the Federal Government. So you see, essentially, if we want to keep our funding, we submit ourselves to the County’s protocol and policies regarding the manner in which we provide services.

While working for my employer, I am defaulted into a position of being subject to the rule and regulation of Government Policy. This is not all bad. But in many ways, this poses significant obstacles to remaining obedient to the rule which matters most in my life, the rule of Christ.

Fundamentally, as a Social Worker, and an employee, I am hired to provide services to a multitude of individuals with various impediments, illnesses, world-views, and religious affinities. This set of characteristics is also synonymous with my co-workers and peers in the workplace. It is therefore not the environment, the funding source, or the people I serve and work with that raise a concern regarding my faithfulness to Christ and his rule, it is the test to remain obedient to Christ when others would rather you not be.

Principally, my profession requires you to be objective and constructive while employing your skills to assist, educate, and support our clientele and each other. The preferred tool of choice is an education that consists of knowledge from textbooks, clinical experience, world philosophy, and a hodge-podge of psychological/sociological theory.

While I would not throw the baby out with the bath water, as in some nouthetic approaches that staunchly promote the use of “The Bible Only” in counseling, I would err cautiously on the side of using tact. So without staking an empirical claim in either camp, what is then left?

I frequently find myself in the position of asserting the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. More often than not, the prevalence of Christian ideals and philosophy are more pervasive in human services and mental health treatment than one would assume. Even with a professional aversion to religion, specifically Christian religion, it is much easier to talk about the simplicity of what was taught by Jesus Christ.

At the end of the day, the most effective tools one can utilize in helping people who seek assistance from my agency, and by proxy me, is to preach Christ. Even with the adversarial nature of those who would oppose any form of proselytizing in the workplace, I always find myself coming back to the inner struggle with what I was taught professionally versus that which I have been taught by the words of the Lord.

So the safest philosophy to employ whilst preaching Christ and working for the Government is simple. Those who would normally stand against you are often those who scoff and blaspheme the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. At this point, their behavior becomes a qualifier and segue to open, candid, and purposeful discussion about what Jesus actually taught.

My clients, they generally are open and interested in knowing how to become freed from their afflictions, and often initiate discussions of Christ, the Bible, and living as a real disciple.

This leaves one last question to ask then. How closely does the life of the disciple match up with the words of his mouth? Which is more effective in a workplace where you are bound by government policies and hostilities toward your faith? Is it solely your words or is your deeds? Or is it better to ask is my life and doctrine compatible with each other to the extent that it is obvious to all those around me, client and co-worker alike? And ultimately, preaching Christ worth losing my job?

Act 4:19-20  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,  (20)  for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

What do you think? How do you express your faith during the daily grind? Are you able to freely express your faith in the workplace? Do you find it difficult to share Christ with those you interact with? What has been your experience in this realm?

Do not forget the resurrection!

In evangelism, there is always an emphasis on making sure the point gets across. Sometimes too much so. The point most often expressed is that one must make a decision right away or else they may be left behind or threatened by the idea of scorching flesh for eternity. But all that it essentially equates to is selling fire insurance. Turning from sin is presented, and often enough, the importance of it is emphasized properly, but then modern evangelism pushes for a decision and a soul “won” for which the “evangelist” can brag about later. But this is not the gospel or evangelism. The original intent of preaching repentance remains intact, but the understanding of the power of regeneration and where it comes from is neglected. Placing emphasis on a decision through the means of a man denies the saving power of the full gospel. While man’s neglect does not hinder the Power of God unto Salvation, it does reinforce the already hard heart of a false convert and increases their self-righteousness.

This is not a proper approach, and I won’t critique it as so. I am stating the neglect in the matter of preaching the resurrection as well as the cross. Without resurrection there is still a crucified body buried in a rich man’s tomb. Without resurrection there is no conquered death and promise of eternal rest for the believer. Without resurrection, the entire purpose of preaching Christ crucified is futile. Even in my personal efforts of evangelism, the preaching of our Lord’s resurrection is forgotten, when it should not be. A true understanding and grasp of the reality that is Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death would develop a rightful knowledge of who has the power to regenerate man. After facing the glory of the risen Christ one is only left with a perception that can only be had by faith from God. This perception is that Christ has the power to lay down His life and take it up again. The only alternative is plain, man has no power to give himself life. Eternal life can only be granted by the Lord, not by man’s decision.

The dilemma stems from doubt and true allegiance given to the feat that was accomplished at Calvary. Christ made mention of His own resurrection. Even in His mention were the twelve and other listeners often perplexed by its meaning. (Mat 17:22-23, Mat 20:18-19, Luk 9:22, Luk 18:32-33, Luk 24:46-47) But the Lord repeatedly reminded them that what He was doing on earth had a terrible end, that He would die. For all that they heard was just that, He was going to leave. When he arose on the third day in glorified form it was difficult for His own followers to immediately recognize Him. But when they did, they were overcome so much so that they risked their lives to go into the world and proclaim the gospel. Never falling short of emphasizing the resurrection.

Opponents of the resurrection often place physical, earthly restrictions upon its possibility. They forget that if there were a resurrection, it would be of supernatural means, and the origin of these means in fact would be God Himself. Who above all would be capable of resurrecting a body in any form?

So in thought there is only one logical conclusion to the approach of evangelism. Jesus Saves. That’s it, no dogmatic methods, no utilitarian approaches, and no need for bringing people to your Pastor for him to evangelize. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and if we indeed heed the truth of Scripture, we would do well to remember the resurrection, for it is evidence of the power of God in its purest form.

Missionary in a pew

Have you ever stopped and thought about your personal effort to reach those around you for Christ. I mean seriously? Besides the exhortation that is given from the Pastor of your church during a sermon that has covered evangelistic passages, do you witness on a regular basis? Do you reach out to your neighbors or talk to strangers about Christ?

Is this a question that is best asked of our fellow Christian who is better at doing this type of thing? You know who they are! They’re always doing outreaches, working at soup kitchens, and handing out tracts at the campus they attend school at. That is such a blessed thing that they do that, aren’t you glad that God has given them that gift? If only you had that gift too, you would do the same. Wouldn’t you?

Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 16:15-16 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (16) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Luk 22:46-47 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (47) While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him

John 20:21-23 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (23) If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Or, better yet, make sure to share these verses with the missionary in the pew, you know, the one sitting next to you on Sunday.