How do people of faith express that faith — show it, live it, remember it, honor it — during their busy and demanding work lives today, especially when challenge and often conflict can be part of the workday?
Fox News Digital asked an array of faith leaders and others in the limelight this question in September 2023.
“As a writer, faith is not merely worked out in relationships with people, but in how I actually pursue my craft,” responded Brian Godawa of Dallas, Texas.
Godawa is a screenwriter (“My Son Hunter”) as well as an author (“Cruel Logic: The Philosopher Killer”).
“My storytelling,” he added, “reflects my Christian worldview and values through the drama of human choices and consequences.”
Said Godawa as well in comments shared exclusively with Fox News Digital, “I do not exploit evil for entertainment value, but as a necessary component of redemptive storytelling.”
He added fervently, “In all my writing, I seek to obey God’s commands. Have no gods before Him: I do not seek success or fame, but to honor God with my craft of excellence regardless of results and sometimes despite being rejected for its message.”
He went on, “Thou shall not bear false witness: I do not write falsehoods in order to support my beliefs. I seek to honestly portray opposing views fairly.”
“I do not plagiarize — I seek to give credit where credit is due.”
“Thou shall not steal: I do not plagiarize — and I seek to give credit where credit is due for the ideas or profound insights of others,” he also said.
“Thou shall not covet: I do not write to inspire victimhood,” he said, “grievance or envy in my audience, or to inspire violent or illegitimate means justifying the ends.”
Finally, he added, “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you: I refuse to try to screw someone on a deal in the name of ‘that’s business.’”
Remember that ‘all people’ are made in ‘the image of God’
Bruce Sidebotham, a consulting expert at Telios Teaches in Monument, Colorado, told Fox News Digital, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44). Like that treasure, people want desperately to matter, to be esteemed, to be valued and to have dignity.”
He added, “That significance, esteem, value and dignity flow from who people perceive that they are — it flows from their self-identity.” Sidebotham received a doctorate in ministry from New Geneva Theological Seminary at Colorado Springs in 2004. The Rocky Mountain Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) ordained him as a teaching elder and evangelist in 2004.
“If I base my self-worth in being smart, then smarter people have more value, and dumber people have less value,” he went on.
“If I base my purpose in campaigning for justice, then people campaigning better have better purpose, and people campaigning worse or not at all have less purpose.”
And “if I base my self-esteem and dignity in being a certain race or gender or in being a victim,” he continued, “then people of a different race or gender or who are oppressors are less esteemed and have less dignity. People esteemed to have less value and lower purpose are at risk of being mistreated leading to racism, sexual harassment, child trafficking and many other social ills.”
“People esteemed to have less value and lower purpose are at risk of being mistreated.”
However, said Sidebotham, “In the kingdom of heaven, significance, esteem, value and dignity flow from conviction that all people of every race, intelligence, occupation, status, age, ability, gender and protected class are made in the image of God — and will one day worship together at the throne of Jesus Christ.”
He added, “When my identity flows from an eternal relationship to the King of the kingdom of heaven, then temporal physical, social and intellectual features become comparatively irrelevant to that identity.”
And “minority peoples and majority peoples, oppressors and victims, all genders, all classes, all ages, and all intelligences have equal significance, esteem, value and dignity whether inside or outside the kingdom of heaven,” he added, “because all are sacredly created in the image of God.”
He concluded, “That is an invaluable treasure.”
Understand that ‘you are not there randomly’
“When you abide with Jesus you will bear much fruit, and that includes where you live, work, learn and play (John 15:4-5),” said Pastor Jesse Bradley of Auburn, Washington, who runs Grace Community Church outside Seattle, to Fox News Digital.
He noted that “abiding with Jesus is the primary focus for living out your faith” — and that, today, “there are a wide range of work settings, policies, supervisors and cultures.”
As a result, there is a need, he said, to “transcend some of the specifics” and have a roadmap for living in a “vibrant way spiritually” at work.
Said Bradley, “God places His people” where they need to be.
So “the assignment is not insignificant — it is saturated with purpose. A paycheck is a blessing, but it is not the ultimate goal. You are God’s ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). You are the light of the world, so let your light shine (Matthew 5:14-16).”
Bradley — who himself found a faith-forward purpose in life after a health crisis — also said that “being able to work and having a job is a gift from God.”
He added, “Finding the right job and fit is a prayerful endeavor. Work is not always going to be easy, but it is part of being faithful to God and brings meaning and potentially great joy, too. Your work is a calling — not just a ‘to-do list’ each day.”
“Bring your top effort. Look for opportunities to go the second mile repeatedly.”
And yes, he said, “work environments can be stressful, demanding and at times grueling. Many people turn against each other, and strife can emerge. But when you show a consistent compassion, people appreciate you (Ephesians 4:32).”
And “when you are a good listener, people feel valued (James 1:19). When you refrain from gossip and slander, you are protecting unity (Proverbs 26:20).”
Said Bradley, “Set the tone, lead by example and bring out the best in the people around you during the week.”
He noted, “There’s no higher compliment than that people see God’s love and truth in you.”
Bradley suggested that expressing one’s faith through work “includes keeping your word, completing your tasks and serving with all of your heart. It is significant to work the same way whether you are being watched or working alone.”
He added, “Bring your top effort. Look for opportunities to go the second mile repeatedly. You can finish tasks that are not on your job description, but that the team needs. Integrity, flexibility, and humility go a long way and bless your co-workers and customers.”
Ultimately, he said, “thank God for your health, strength, talents and people who serve next to you. God encourages and empowers you daily at work.”