Success or Significance

Right or Wrong

I led workplace Bible studies over the lunch hour during my days in the military.  I was part of the leadership team for the chapel parish council, which met monthly during the duty day.  In this capacity, I once stayed behind a meeting with the vice commander to share my spiritual views on an issue that had a significant bearing on troop morale.  Over the years, subordinates and others asked for guidance on personal problems they were facing.  I offered general advice and lessons from my experience as a follower of Jesus.  Was I right or wrong in sharing my Christian views?

In the introduction to this series of blogs, we considered some points from the book, Your Work Matters to God.  One of the myths the authors refute is that the main value of work is to provide a strategic soapbox for sharing the gospel.  They conclude work isn’t a game we play with non-Christians in order to accomplish a more important agenda.

It seems to me the myth and their conclusion are two extremes of a very important issue.  While our work has inherent dignity in its own right, it also provides opportunities for us to have an eternal impact on those with whom we come into contact.

We often view our professional lives and our spiritual lives as separate.  When we enter the workplace, we hang our Christianity at the door.  Spirituality comes into play Sunday mornings and when we read a passage from the Bible or pray.

God wants us to understand the spiritual dimension of our lives is inextricably tied to our work—in fact, it is tied to everything we do.  The character traits we’ve reviewed should be lived out in the workplace so others can see we are different — that we are followers of Christ.

Though perhaps, God has put us with some of our co-workers so that they can learn what faith in Christ really means.  Are we available, as Isaiah was when the Lord was looking for someone to accomplish an important mission?  The Lord asked for a volunteer without a hint as to the task at hand.  Isaiah responded, “Here am I.  Send me.”

It was only after the prophet expressed availability that God briefed him on his mission.  He was to go out and tell Israel bad news:  Because they’d rejected the Lord, tough times were ahead for the Jews.  Today, God is looking for Christians who are available to go out and tell people good news:  He wants mankind to enjoy a loving, eternal relationship with Him through faith in His Son as Savior.

Significance or Success

The military places a high premium on individual success.  While serving our country might not make us wealthy or famous, we can gain fulfillment as we climb the ladder of increasing rank and influence.  But perhaps our goal should be significance rather than success.  Our legacy should be to help others experience a more meaningful existence—during and after their days on Earth.

Apostle Paul calls us to serve as ambassadors for Christ.  The eternal lives of those around us hang on how we respond when God says to us, “Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?”

Reflection:  How do you view success and significance?  Which deserves a higher priority in our lives?  How do non-Christians at work view those who follow Jesus?  Is God calling you to serve as His ambassador in the workplace?  With whom would you like to share the good news of Christ?  How can you do so without violating the requirements of your branch of the armed forces?


Series:  A Christian’s View of Work in the Military:

6. What Are We Sacrificing?

7. Glorifying Me?

8. The Safe Zone

9. Success or Significance


Other blogs on Humility from Terry Tyrrell

What is Humility?
Why be Humble?
Paul’s Requirements for Humility
The Rewards of Humility