Posture Change: Being Open in an Aggressive Sales Environment
Ever found yourself saying, ‘I guess I’d be more open about my Christian faith if my workplace/school/club/family were a bit less…, or a bit more….’?
Ed used to say something along those lines. ‘Macho’, ‘aggressive’, and ‘sales-driven’ is how he describes the culture within the IT company where he works. ‘It’s the kind of place where the only sign that you’re doing a great job is that nobody has shouted at you that day.’
Like many of us might in a place like that, Ed took a raw chicken approach to his faith in Christ: it was something good, it was something real – but it needed to be wrapped up and kept on the bottom shelf of life’s refrigerator (i.e. in church gatherings and personal life). Yes, his love for God was deepening; his character, changing; his involvement with church, growing; and the exhortations to the kids in Sunday school to introduce their friends to Jesus, consistent. Yet when Monday morning rolled around, Ed’s own faith was Clingfilm-bound at the bottom of the chiller.
Then one day, after a fairly straightforward challenge in church, Ed decided he would be more open at work about his Christian faith. First ‘a few safe people’, but it wasn’t long before he’d talked to ten. It wasn’t like he had to force the issue either, nor did he have to say a lot. So when one colleague asked, ‘What did you get up to over the weekend?’, as well as mentioning family time, jobs done, and films watched, Ed also mentioned that he’d led the children’s work at church.
While a few colleagues make jokes about Ed being a Christian, most of them have actually been surprisingly accepting. His great fears about going public weren’t confirmed. This brave but simple change of posture has opened up a whole new world of opportunities. Lots of his colleagues now confide in him in ways that they never did before. One colleague shared with him how his wife had a very serious health problem, and that he was desperately worried about her. Ed offered to pray. The guy accepted. Further down the line, the wife of this colleague got completely better. Praise God!
Another time, during a lunch break, Ed was preparing his slides for the children’s work in his office. One of his colleagues popped by to ask him something and saw ‘JESUS IS ALIVE!’ illuminated across his 27” monitor. ‘That’s not work stuff, is it Ed?’ enquired the colleague. ‘No, but it’s true’, quipped Ed. And they spent the rest of their lunchbreak chatting about what it means to be a Christian. A conversation that Ed never envisaged having at work, especially with this guy.
Your frontline might not be like Ed’s. You might not be like Ed. Being more open on your frontline might cause you more problems than it did for Ed. But when we stop treating our faith like raw chicken, and treat it more like a Tex-Mex dip that we leave out on the table for all to dip into (if they so wish), who knows what God might do?