Your life, a 'silent sermon'
When it comes to workplace evangelism, very often we rightly consider the words that we hope to speak to our colleagues about the Christian faith. Words are essential for rebirth (1 Peter 1:23) and faith (Romans 10:17). However the Bible has much to say about the importance of those words being accompanied by a distinct life. How you live matters, how you work matters, in either attracting or detracting from the Christian message (Matthew 5:13-16). Indeed you might say your life is the context in which the text is spoken.
19th century Anglican bishop J.C. Ryle captured this truth powerfully in his book "Holiness":
"Our lives...are a silent sermon which all can read. It is sad indeed when they are a sermon for the devil's cause, and not for God's. I believe that far more is done for Christ's kingdom by the holy living of believers than we are at all aware of. There is a reality about such living which makes men feel and obliges them to think. It carries a weight and influence with it which nothing else can give. It makes religion beautiful and draws men to consider it, like a lighthouse seen afar off...You may talk to persons about the doctrines of the Gospel, and few will listen, and still fewer understand. But your life is an argument that none can escape."
With the changes that have occurred to how and where we work in the past 18 months, with many of us having less physical contact (and therefore fewer incidental interactions) with our colleagues, it may feel like the chances to speak of our Christian faith is even less than it was before. But the opportunity to be a "silent sermon" is still there.
Today as you respond to that email, as you speak in that Zoom meeting, as you teach your students online, as you serve that discouraged customer, how you do this matters - in all these instances you can still choose to act with patience, kindness, gentleness, hope, and love - that opportunity has not been taken away just because you're online, or seeing fewer customers in person! You are building a powerful and persuasive context when the times inevitably come for you to speak the Gospel text into your colleagues, clients, and customers lives.
Yes, take the incidental opportunities to speak which come, even if they feel fewer! But do not be discouraged that all opportunities to bear witness to your colleagues have been lost as you work remotely. Your life is a silent sermon - what message will it communicate today?
Great reminder. Thanks