“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.”
Like many of you, I work in an office where I am the only (openly) Christian believer. As a result, I often feel vulnerable about being considered “the religious one” in the department. I am firm in my faith, but there are moments when it feels uncomfortable to be alienated for it.
There have been many times when my co-workers will pull a Biblical reference out of context or make a reference to Christianity in an irreverent joke. Whenever this happens, my heart stings, and I blush. I am at once angry and afraid because they are mocking my Lord and essentially mocking me as a believer.
What I realized is that in these moments, I have a choice. I can stay silent and allow the opportunity to pass without comment, or I can take the advice given in this verse to heart and “make the most” of it. There have been many times that I have allowed this opening to pass for the sake of not making waves, and I now look back with regret on those times. But there have also been a few times when I have summoned some courage and spoken up with boldness. To my surprise, I was not met with attacks or hurtful comments. It was actually the opposite—my co-workers were impressed that I believe in my faith enough to speak up with conviction. They may not believe or even agree with the Bible, but they understand that I do, and as a result, they treat me with respect rather than contempt.
Culturally, we are conditioned to blend, to conform, and to do our best to go along with the majority. However, as Christians, we are called to be “salt and light” in our world. Navigating between these two drastically different mindsets is a daily struggle for believers. So, how do we do this? By realizing that our devotion and priority is with Christ and our ability to fit in and be accepted by our peers must always fall behind our faith.
Rather than staying silent, I encourage you to look for small openings to discuss your faith. Look for moments when a co-worker expresses some curiosity or interest and then rather than shying away from this opportunity, embrace it!
If you are willing, God will use you. A passage I often think of when I am hesitant or afraid to be bold is found in the Old Testament book of Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther was faced with a decision—to act in obedience and be bold or hide in her position of worldly acceptance. But the message of this verse is clear: if she refuses to act, God will still triumph but she will miss out on the blessing. Like Colossians 4:5, this passage in Esther motivates me to seize opportunities to share my faith. I’ve learned that God has placed me in this department for a reason that I need to live wisely with my words and actions so that I can reflect Christ.
I encourage you to pray that God would present more opportunities for you to share with the non-believers in your life. It will be uncomfortable and it will sometimes feel scary but these feelings won’t compare to the regret that comes if you allow these opportunities to pass you by. God has placed you exactly where you are for “such a time as this,” so be bold!
A native Texan, Kristen Golden moved to NYC 3 yrs ago for her job in publishing. When she’s not busy making books, she loves reading them! Kristen also enjoys visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, watching classic movies on TCM and cheering for her beloved, Pittsburgh Penguins.