Scriptures

The Christian Woman In The Work Place

Introduction

By Funmi Glover

FAITH IN ACTION

Physically we are different in nationalities, families, location, heritage, jobs and goals. Spiritually we are one in Christ in whom we are seated in the heavenly realms, in the kingdom of light, the city of the living God. We have the same Father, Holy Spirit, Lord, hope, faith, baptism, life, purpose and goal. We are God’s dearly loved and precious children. We are light. His treasured possession, clothed in His righteousness, We walk in a close relationship and fellowship with God and with each other. We are His holy priests set apart to serve Him by doing the good works He planned for us.

Colossians, 3:1-4; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:1-2, 4:4-16; Philippians 3:20-21; Hebrews 12:22-23; Exodus 34:6-7; John 1:1-4,9; Revelation 1:5-6; 2 Peter 1:1-11, 1 John 1:1-9; Colossians 3:3; Matthew 5:14-16; Deuteronomy 19; 1 Peter 1; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, Ephesians 2:1-10, Revelation 1:6; Ephesians 3:10-11; Colossians 3:12-17; Galatians 6:9-10.

GOD’S WORK & PURPOSE FOR US

God’s purpose for us is that through us His manifold wisdom should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms and He has fully equipped us with all power to be able to do this.

We are to love God, love our neighbour and love each other by: •Living transformed, loving, faithful, obedient lives to Him •Not conforming to the way the world lives and acts •Speaking the truth in love •Growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord •Being compassionate, humble, fore-bearing •Forgiving grievance as the Lord forgave us •Using the talents He has given us •Bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in every good deed •Doing good toward everyone whenever we have opportunity •Proclaim the good news of salvation •Showing hospitality •Not getting tired of doing good, and not giving up •Doing and saying everything in the name of the Lord Jesus •Joyfully giving thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus in all situations

(Fruit of the Spirit =love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) John 15; Colossians 1:10-12, Romans 12:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, Ephesians 4:8-16: Galatians 5:22-23 It seems a lot but we can achieve all these while we walk in the light, by letting God’s word dwell richly in us and having complete trust, confidence and conviction in God and His promises. We can do all things through Christ who is our strength!! Philippian’s 4:13.

It also helps knowing that our work and actions (effort · gesture · undertaking · performance · behaviour · reaction · response) result in making God known and pleasing Him. The faithful people of old were commended for this (Hebrews 11; 12:1-4)

Therefore, since we are constantly working spiritually while we are in our physical places of work, then our true workplace is wherever we are doing something: the bus stop, in our cars, our neighbourhood when we are talking to others or just walking; in the shops; hairdressers; restaurants, having our nails done, or in jobs where we get paid or not (Ephesians 2:10).

This also applies to whatever the situation we are faced with at work: good or bad, acknowledged or not; difficult or easy; frustrating, annoying or lovely; have helpful people around us or feel used with dumped monkeys. The world needs us to be different and bold with our godly thoughts, actions and reactions and always ready to help because Satan is very busy seeking who he can devour.

In the film Stardust, when Yvaine, who is a star in human form finally allowed herself to shine brightly displaying the love she had for Tristan her light was able to kill the witch who was trying to kill both of them.

Jesus wants us to shine brightly with our spiritual work because we love God, so people can glorify our heavenly Father (Matthew 5:13-16).

Remember we are not alone on this planet in our workplaces, even though sometimes it feels like it. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us whose testament reminds and stirs us on; we have Jesus who went on ahead; and the faithful in our generation who inspire us today, who are commended for their faithful work (Hebrews 11; 12:1-4). Unlike most of the crowds in a stadium, they have been there, done it, bought the tee shirt and now wave it like a flag cheering us on that we too can do it!!

Cloud of Witnesses

Some Examples of Faithful Women of Old The famous woman in Proverbs had a vineyard and sold its produce; and made & sold clothes. Deborah was a Judge of Israel (Judges 4:4-9) Zipporah Moses’ wife (Exodus 2:16-21) and Rachael Jacob’s wife (Genesis 29:1-10) were involved in the family business of sheparding and feeding and watering the flock.

In New Testament times: Priscilla worked with her husband Aquila in making tents (Acts 18:1-3), Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth (Acts 16:14), Dorcas made clothes (Acts 9:36-39) and many women e.g. Phoebe were Philanthropists i.e. in the hospitality business (Romans 16:1-2).

Let’s look at two of the women in the new testament, people they would come in contact with closely and in passing and what influence they would have had to make God’s wisdom known.

LYDIA

Acts 16:12-15,40; Philippians 2:12-16

What do we know about Lydia? She was: •A Jewish immigrant from Thyatira living in Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia and a Roman colony. The city was famous for its dyes and brought it universal renown; and people from many nations passed through it.

•A successful, business woman, a dealer in purple cloth. She would have had to be diligent, hardworking, full of ability, enthusiasm, zeal, single minded and persuasive to be successful in business.

•Had a spacious house and servants and would have been prosperous, rich, prominent.

What type of people do you think she would have come into contact with closely / in passing: Buyers and sellers, merchants, sailors, visitors of various nationalities, religions (Judaism, paganism), beliefs, poor, rich, soldiers, travellers on ship and on land, travel sick, the locals, servants, slaves, children, elderly, widowed, families, orphans, Romans, Jews, ex-prisoners.

What type of influence would she now have on those around her as she went about her activities or work in Christ? What did she become renowned for? Imagine her now using her talents and personality not just to sell clothing. She is now in the kingdom of light like you and I. We read that she was:

•Religious and God-fearing. God was first in her life and she loved and served God. Though a very busy business woman, she had time for God.

•A good listener, avid learner and put into practice what she learnt about the gospel.

• She was excited about God’s word. She used her ability of persuasion to happily and quickly spread the gospel to her household and possibly others including Jewish women, her customers and those she met.

•She helped others with what she earned. She showed kindness, humility, amazing generosity and effortless and extremely keen desire to joyfully show hospitality to all even strangers, including Paul. I bet she had an open door policy.

•These made her approachable even though she was prominent and rich. • She would have charged her customers fairly especially now as a Christian.

•With amazing faith, courage and boldness she stood firm in trials and crisis, and opened her home to brethren, those who were persecuted and jailed. Paul and Silas were able to go there after they were released from prison.

Her faith in action must have been amazing for it to be recorded for us. She would have read Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi and be encouraged especially to: •continue in humility to keep on holding onto and obeying God’s word •know that GOD is working in her according to His will and purpose in all she did •know that her work resulted in service to the Lord and will please and honour Him. •to do everything without grumbling or arguing •to keep shinning as light in the place she lived and worked.

PRISCILLA

Acts 18:1-4,11,18-19, 24-26, Romans 16:3-4, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Timothy 4:19

What do we know about Priscilla? She was:

•A Jewish immigrant expelled from Rome like all the other Jews, and now lived in Corinth.

•Hard working successful mobile Tent maker (with her husband Aquila)

• Financially comfortable / well off •Well-travelled e.g. Italy, Rome, Corinth, Syria, Ephesus

They were all large important trading and commerce cities with travel routes by road and / or sea. They also had an open space (forum) which served as a market place, political meeting point and social centre with shops, workshops, public baths, variety of pagan temples, theatre; and there were homes for the rich and slum areas in the cities. Priscilla could have worked in one of the shops with Aquila and Paul in their tent-making business.

What type of people do you think she would have come into contact with closely / in passing: Buyers of tents, sellers of the materials, fellow travellers, rich, poor, servants, slaves, sailors, merchants, people from all works of life, nationalities (Jews, Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Etruscans, Lycians) and beliefs (Judaism, pagans, Christians). merchants, soldiers, travellers on ship and on land, travel sick, the locals, servants, slaves, children, elderly, widowed, families, orphans, ex-prisoners, gladiators, intellects.

What type of influence would she now have on those around her as she went about her activities or work in Christ? What did she become renowned for: She was:

•Religious, God-fearing and served God even though she had a business

•A good listener, avid learner, learned a lot from Paul while working with him

•Used her talents and personality not only to sell excellent quality tents at honest prices but also talk about Christ to others e.g. Appollos.

•Laboured in the service of the Lord and worked with Paul in sharing the gospel of Christ

•Happily, shared her faith and used any opportunity to spread the good news and was not ashamed to do so

•Helpful, kind, generous, patient, amazing willingness to serve and support

•Hospitable in opening her home to the church and visitors and allowed Paul to work with them in making tents

•Extraordinary love, dedication and extremely courageous, brave and risked her life for others

Like Lydia, she may have listened or read some of Paul’s letters to the churches and been encouraged greatly.

They were not commended for their jobs, wealth, houses or travel. They were commended for their faithful work in Christ, seen in their actions to others. They showed humility, complete trust in God, in all they did, and were bold in any situation they found themselves while showing the fruit of God’s Spirit as they went about working. They looked to the interest of others not just theirs while they worked and God was glorified as people were saved.

I think this would have given them joy and purpose in their workplace. Like them, and all the faithful’s of old, we too walk by faith each day. Yet, how do we think we are doing in our work places? How well are we coping with difficult managers / employees / colleagues? How are we at handling blaspheme, disregard, discredit, exclusion, monkeys, irritations, disrespect, complaining customers or being unacknowledged? Like you I have been through some of these, and still face some today.

I believe we can follow in the footsteps of the old faithfuls and Jesus Christ. Their actions can be summed up in what I call “The 3Ps in Christ”. I know this works! I have used it and though it can be extremely hard sometimes, it calls for patient endurance!

THE 3Ps in Christ – PRAYER .. PRAISE .. PROCLAIM

(James 5:13-20, Ephesians 5:15-21)

Christ: Is the focus. His LIFE: The cross, the tomb, the resurrection… THE POWER!

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:15-17

The power of PRAYER IN CHRIST

We are in Christ in heaven right now. We are constantly in God’s presence. We should always talk to God. How would we feel if people around us do not talk to us? His Holy Spirit is also helping us with our prayers, so let us continue steadfastly in prayer (Romans 8:26-27,12:12; Hebrews 4:13-16).

God says He hears us and answers even though the reply may not be what we expect or want. Jesus said we should ask and it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7). God keeps all His promises. Jesus kept His promise to the disciples to meet them in Jerusalem after his resurrection.

James tells us that the prayer of the righteous is powerful. •Elijah is like us. He prayed and God answered (1Kings18:41-19:8) •The Christians prayed and Peter was released from His jail (Acts 12:1-17) •Hannah prayed and God answered (1 Samuel 1:9-20).

When one door closes, God opens a window. Every cloud has the blue sky still above it or peeking through. Let me challenge each of us to continue steadfastly in pray with faith at any time through the day and watch God work according to His will. It never ceases to amaze me how He answers from the very mundane to the most complex. From dealing with difficult situations and managers, to opening doors for me I thought not possible. Even to making it possible for me to be moved from an area that caused much stress.

The power of PRAISING IN CHRIST

Lifts up, puts things in perspective & reminds. Remember we are to rejoice always. In Christ we can sing when we are happy or in the midst of trials and pain because of who and whose we are; because all things on this planet are temporary and have a “sell buy date” but they all have a purpose in our life to make us mature and display God’s wisdom. Praise reminds us that we don’t need to worry or fear because God is with us always. He holds the future, is in control and we are already victors in Him.

Psalm 117 shows God should to be praised. Singing while making music in our heart is our fruit offering to Him. (Philippians 4:4, Hebrews 13:15, Ephesians 5:19, John 3:13-21, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Singing brings a smile to our faces, cheers us up, even when we are down. It can make others smile and in so doing we use less facial muscles and wrinkle less.

Songs like: •What a friend we have in Jesus •I’m a hard fighting soldier on the battlefield •Because He lives I can face tomorrow •I am happy today, I am happy today, In Jesus Christ I am happy today, •Only in thee O saviour mine •God will find a way where there seems to be no way •Show me your way LORD that I may walk with you •Just a little talk with Jesus

Imagine singing songs like these when things are not going well at work. I guarantee you your work colleagues will notice and comment immediately or later. Sometimes when they ask me what I am singing, I sing it to them. Even if it’s off key!

Let me challenge each of us today to rejoice in hope, sing more at work & watch its effect on you and others.

The power of PROCLAIMING IN CHRIST

Actions & Deeds

2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17, Ephesians 6:10-20, Joshua 1; Ephesians 4:7-16, Romans 12, 2 Peter 1:1-3, 1 Peter 1:6-7; 3:13-17;4:3-6; Colossians 3:14-16,22-24, Hebrews 12:4, 2 Timothy 1:3-8

The world badly needs God’s light to be displayed in us. We need to:

Study God’s word so we can use it correctly, boldly and unashamed KEY Wear the whole armour of God all the time, never take it off KEY Share our life experiences in Christ to help others. Tell them how God helped us overcome especially at work. Stand up for Jesus when people blaspheme His name. Tell them He made them, He is King and He loves them so much He died for them. The least they could do is respect His name. Be patient in the difficulties and trials at work, display godly attributes & watch God work Be honest, generous, humble and displaying the fruit of the Spirit in us Be calm when chaos is reigning. Help calm things down in the midst of stressful, irritating and challenging situations. Bring peace when there are problems and issues in our work area Be the voice of reason and hope when it seems all else has failed Be the listener when no-one knows what to do or say Be hospitable & benevolent and be the hands that stop to help and the arms ready to hug. Give hope in Christ when people are in pain or bereaved. Lovingly tell them about the gospel.

We can start by: Saying “Hi”, smile and brighten someone’s day. Stopping for a few seconds or minutes to chat or help someone. Inviting someone for lunch with you or a cup of coffee. Let me challenge each of us today to be bold and not fear but stand up in love for Christ.

FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real… There is no spoon!

In the FILM: The Matrix:

Neo meets a boy who bends spoons. Neo is intrigued and asks the boy how he does it. Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realise the truth. Neo: What truth? Boy: There is no spoon. Neo: There is no spoon? Boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. Why?… because the spoon is not real. It’s only a digital computer data. Neo kept dodging bullets until he fully realised they were not real and then just stopped them.

In Christ, whatever we fear is not real! Be bold and courageous! We are reminded 365 times in the bible not to fear… one for each day of the year.

Don’t get weary and stop. We are fulfilling our heavenly purpose in making God’s wisdom known. Shine Bright and Bold For God Let us show our love for God, others and each other’s while we work and glorify God. So…. Pray, Praise and Proclaim; and shine brightly. Let’s keep working and making a difference in people’s lives. They will miss us when we leave!!

DO THE EXERCISE ON YOURSELF: MY LOCATION: PERSONALITY/TALENT: CONTACTS (Closely & in passing): INFLUENCE YOU CAN HAVE:

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 16:33

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