Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What do our co-workers witness?

My wife and I host a college life group for our church. I have been leading them through a study of Thomas Merton's No Man Is an Island. In my preparation for last week's study, I read this:

The Christian has rejected all the values of the world. He does not set his heart on temporal security and happiness. But it does not follow that he cannot continue to live in the world, or be happy in time. He works and lives in simplicity, with more joy and greater security than other men, because he does not look for any special fulfillment in this life. He avoids the futile agitation that surrounds the pursuit of purely temporal ends. He lives in peace amid the vanity of transient things. -- (Chapt. 6:13, par. 2, pg. 113; copyright Trustees of Merton Legacy Trust; Harcourt, Inc; ISBN 0-15-602773-9).

This passage hit me as a lightning bolt of self-questioning, that I unfortunately have not tested myself with daily. The question I ask is, do my co-workers, associates, and friends witness such behavior in me? Do they see someone who works and lives with simplicity--someone not concerned with glory, personal achievement, and materialism? Do they sense a peace or security even in the midst of stress and chaos? Do they see calm and magnanimous behavior even in the face of anger or hurt? Do they see quality and deliberateness of effort?

Or do they witness aggressiveness? Or someone concerned with personal glory, material trappings, monetary success? Do they see agitation and restlessness? Do they see someone who reacts with anger or bitterness when wronged? Or, worse someone always on the look out for being wronged? Do they endure lack of effort or less than my best?

If they witness the latter set of characteristics and know of my claim to Christianity, why in the world would they want to be a Christian? What glory am I giving God and my Savior?

We are not to hide our light under a bushel. However, being a witness in the world is more than telling others that I am a Christian and telling them about Christ. First I must show them the positive effect it has on my daily life. Then demonstrate care and concern for them. Then when they notice a difference that is desirable, I can tell them it is not me, but Christ living in me. Only then is my light not a apparition, but a flame.

What is the picture I am projecting to my everyday world of Christ and of Discipleship--not with words but with my life?

Pray for me to be a true witness and not a hypocritical heretic.

1 comment:

Brandon Scott said...

Tony--
great, convicting thoughts today. I am right there with you. If it's any help--those qualities are what really bless me about you. You're a great servant hearted guy. Let's get together soon.
Peace!
BST