“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Time We Spend at Work
Most of us spend more time at work than any other activity, even sleep. Greater than 70% of our waking-hours are spent working. Whether we are entrepreneurs, employees, managers or even unemployed, work-life dominates the majority of waking-life.
If we believe the words of Christ in Matthew 5, our influence is overwhelmingly experienced by those at work. The truth is, every person in that sphere of influence will either be affected by the light of Christ in us, or we will be impacted by the darkness in them.
Lampstand or the Basket?
That means we get to choose – the lampstand or the basket. Of course, the easy way is the basket. Since we are greatly outnumbered in the global marketplace, it’s tempting to believe what the business world constantly yells at us: Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat (JP Sartre).
One glaring (if not outright scary) example is the recent controversy surrounding one of Google’s software engineers, James Damore. He who wrote an internal memo speaking out against discrimination within the corporate giant. In his document he discussed how Google “shamed into silence” anyone who disagreed with their ideology. I have no idea if this man is a follower of Christ. I do know his facts were fair and reasonable and written with absolute humility. He was fired.
Legalistic vs Moralistic
We live in a legalistic world. Even though we are Christians, it would be easy to follow every requirement of the U.S. legal system and still slip past morally ambiguous obstacle in our dealings.
I have a Christian friend who is the owner of a very successful Charleston-based business. He recently discovered a surge of drug use within his company. He had already relaxed drug-screening policies by the time he found one of his star employees was using heroine. That employee then identified at least three others who were actively using. My Christian friend was strongly considering suspension of all future drug screening. Why? So he would have no disruption of business. Instead, he would look the other way and keep the revenue flowing.
Thankfully, in humility, he listened to reason and changed his stance. He chose to put his light on a lampstand and immediately tested everyone in his company, even though it surely meant missed deadlines, tons of rework and time spent hiring new employees. He approached his largest customers, apologized, and proclaimed his company would become known for clean and trustworthy employees, committed to excellence in their work.
We Are Called
If God would choose for us, he would certainly choose the lampstand. We know this. He calls us to it. His word is lovingly jammed with wise instruction on how we are to conduct ourselves in the world. And the one that stands out most is the wisdom of Romans 12:2
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
When we choose to follow the pattern of Christ instead of the worldly way, we choose to shine a bright light into a dark world. This will lead us (and others) to a renewed mind, a different way forward and renewed success. We are called to a kingdom influence. May God be glorified through it.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to bring the power of Christ’s word, as the foundation of career success, into corporate and small business America.