Saturday, October 16, 2010

Starting Trouble!

What made them do it? Bone-crushing hunger, Frightful desperation, suicidal itch, heroic madness, hopeless guts, insane spark of logic, tombstone insight, survival tactic, divine destiny, God’s super-intension? Before you decide to call it ‘whatever’, hold-on, there is more! They do it again? This time call it can’t-keep-it-to-themselves-overflowing-abundance, fear of retribution, better-late-than-spontaneous inclination to share, and such. 

What is this build-up about? In bits, pieces and in-between the lines, it’s the story of the 4 Samaritan lepers that unfolds in 2Kings 7:3-10 that I am encouraging you to wonder about. Out of all of what unfolded, there are two distinct moments when they make up their minds to do something. It is these two moments and the line of unique variables that led to the two decisions that I am building up your attention towards and if I ended up achieving that, I would like to hold it there a wee bit more. The two lists of variables have a practical contemporary connection to what goes on in every professional Christian’s head when he goes through the ‘do-I-say’ or ‘do-I-not-say’ perplexity of workplace evangelism. The devil with his murky intentions or classical Christianity with its misplaced high intentions have made the first list of imaginary variables sink deep into every Christian’s thought-realm, that whenever workplace evangelism becomes a personal choice, these ‘call-it-whatever’ issues freezes him even before he would start. I am convinced that you don’t need to even consider the first list of variables to pass Jesus around in your workplace. If you look at the whole Samaritan incident as the bible depicts it as, it seems a perfect analogy for resolving personal workplace evangelism challenges. The devil builds up so much pre-hyper-heat about workplace evangelism, but the bible assures you that it just could be like the middle part of that story - walking in to a deserted enemy territory and claiming the free spoil. But it is a personal choice. If you want to be there, it’s a decision you got to make for yourself. That’s the truth on how you should handle the pre-hyper-heat.

Coming back to the second list of variables, it is one that I earnestly urge you to consider. ‘Can’t-keep-it-to-themselves-overflowing-abundance, fear of retribution, better-late-than-spontaneous inclination to share, and such’. Maybe this is a list of issues that we all need to let linger in our conscious mind spaces. I am not attempting to dwell more than this into strengthening your Christian convictions of obligation and call to duty; rather I am convinced that you would make the personal choice of ‘yes-I-decide-say’ in your workplaces.

This magazine space last time around answered the question on whether one can be a corporate missionary and promised more subsequent inputs in answering the how side of the question. Here it goes, four practical pointers to crack the mission field of your workplace:

1.   Be Available - “Hey! You can count on me…”
2.  Build Relationships - “Wow! You are doing a good job…”
3.  Be Sensitive to the Felt Needs - “Oh! I understand I went through a similar phase…”
4.  Be Prayerful - “O! Lord, hear my prayer for my coworkers!!...”

Be Available: In the present day workplace, one of the biggest traps that a Christian falls into is that, he is not available for people. Do remember that God always used people who were available irrespective of their ability. “People don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care”. 
The only ability that’s a genuine eligibility is availability. When people know you are available, they will count on you. This creates an open door to share your faith. Of course, this comes at a cost. You cannot be available to people without that hurting you. Even when you don’t want to, even when you feel like saying ‘I-just-can’t’ and when you find it the most difficult; it is then that you need to be most Available. Having ‘Compassion’ for people helps, which will automatically enable you to enjoy being available for other people, to listen, to care, and to be with them and so on.
Luke 10:33 - But a certain traveling Samaritan came upon him, and seeing him, he was filled with pity. (MKJV)
Mar 6:31 And He said to them, come aside into a deserted place and rest a little. For there were many coming and going and they had no opportunity even to eat. (MKJV)
In the Good Samaritan parable, the Samaritan, had his own things to accomplish, but when he happened to see the person in difficulty, made himself available. This is expected out of every Christian. In every walk of life, in every kind of moment we are expected to be available. In Mark, chapter 6 - Jesus is rejected in his own hometown, hears the news of his first cousin John’s sad demise, is physically exhausted, wants to be alone with his band, but didn’t have the heart to deny people with need. In both the above incidents, we find that “Compassion” led them to go the extra mile making themselves always available for people in need.

Build Relationships: When two persons have something in common, a relationship begins. This is defining relationship in its most elementary form. But, to have a quality relationship, it needs to be “Worked On”.
Relationship is a big topic in itself and here it is limited to a very basic practical understanding needed to build and work on relationships. Find common areas of interest and build your relationship starting from there. Once you find yourself in the ‘Accepted Realm’ of a person, they will listen to you.
Act 17:23 For as I passed by and saw the things you worship, I also found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Not knowing then whom you worship, I make Him known to you. (MKJV). Paul finds a common platform to communicate the Scripture meaningfully. It is no manipulation to build a genuine relationship with your peer while sharing the Faith. Conversation and activities in the common areas of interest will provide you the space, freedom and comfort to build relationships and make them count for better. Moreover, this gives us an opportunity to understand the person more clearly and Gospel can be shared in context to that person’s life Sports, Politics, Music, Art, etc. are few examples of areas you could trace a common interest with your peers. Only be cautioned to avoid loose moral conversations and activities that could pave your own spiritual downfall. Keep the bar safely high, and don’t sell yourself cheap by trying to please everyone or every bit of someone.

Be Sensitive to the Felt Needs: Felt needs, are areas of active struggle in a person’s life which are real and genuine. Only the Lord is able to fulfill the felt needs of any man. Identify that area and introduce Jesus - the only way, the truth and the life. But let them be informed that Jesus promises no shortcuts to ‘nirvana’. Accepting Jesus is only a Start. For the solution of problems and completeness of life it requires growth within Him. Once relationship with Christ is initiated, discipleship has to follow, which most often than not, involves TIME.

Luke 5:5-8 Simon said to Him, Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing. Yet at Your word I will let down the net.  (6)  And doing this, they enclosed a great multitude of fish. And their net was being torn.  (7)  And they signaled the partners, those in the other boat, to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they were sinking.  (8)  And seeing, Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus, saying, depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.

Here Peter is in need. In outspoken terms it is strictly business! Jesus answers the felt need of Peter and it paves the way for Peter to accept Jesus as his Saviour. The business need being met seems like having pulled strings within his heart and making him realize that he is a sinner, making him aware of a deeper need; that is the need of Jesus. So watch out for unmet needs of your colleagues, for they could be doorways of their salvation. And these unmet needs could be physical, emotional, relational, mental or spiritual. A possible way to identify an un-met felt need of a person is to trace an exhibited sense of frustration or irritation due to failure or insecurities. Smarting from past hurts is a felt need too which when healed could trigger a more God conscious conscience.
Be Prayerful: you come across many people in life who are smart in seemingly outsmarting the Gospel message itself. In the times that you happen to be the person sharing the message and find yourself cornered for truth by force of argument by a smart and aggressive colleague, quite often you find yourself being despised too. It is possible that there is a hidden spiritual context that requires prayer to unravel. Deal the situation spiritually while sharing the Gospel. Prayer is one of the key elements which cannot be ignored nor substituted. For we know that everything has a root spiritual implication. If we take grip of the implication in the Spiritual Realm in the authority of the Holy Spirit, He can help in releasing people from Satan’s bondages and thereby bring them into God’s Kingdom.

Mark 9: 17-29 “He replied, this kind of spirit can come out only by prayer…” (29). In a normal practical view, the disciples had the right intentions and were formally empowered by the Lord Himself, but they faced outright defeat because of the lack of prayer. A person who is not able to be controlled by anyone might have spiritual bondages that need to be dealt with in the spiritual realm by Jesus. So ‘go in’ after having strengthened and prepared yourself with adequate prayer.

Be Available! Build Relationships! Be Sensitive to the Felt Needs! Be Prayerful!

A PROFIT (PROfessionals Fellowship of International Talents) recommended formula to succeed as a CORPORATE MISSIONARY.

Arun Venkit
Arun Venkit serves as the Research Associate in GEMS R&D and also as the International Facilitator of PROFIT a mission initiative of GEMS for equipping professionals to be directly involved in workplace evangelism.

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