The workplace is becoming a very challenging environment in which to live as a Christian. Recently, one evening while on a camping trip with my son, I learned a very valuable lesson that will help in these times. In Philippians 2:14-15 we read, “Do all things without complaining or arguing so that we will look very different than the world, a crooked and depraved generation; then we will shine like stars in the night sky.”
Our camp site was far away from any small town or large city so there were no artificial lights to be seen. As we were walking back to our tent after the evening campfire, I happened to look up and noticed how bright the stars looked that night. It was a sky like I had never seen before; there were thousands of very bright stars. As I thought about this, I was reminded that the stars are always there, even in the daytime. The reason we cannot see them in the daytime is because the SUN’s light is much brighter. The darker it is, the more stars we see and the brighter they are.
The illustration Paul is giving us in Philippians 2:14-15 is that the darker the world becomes, the more Christians should stand out. When Christians are in the company of other Christians, there is not much difference. But when God sends us into the workplace, there should be noticeable difference. As the world continues to move at a rapid pace away from God’s way, we will feel more and more like second-class citizens. Do not despair though because God is not caught off guard by this. As a matter of fact, He told us it will happen.
Philippians 2:14-15 says that if we do all things without complaining and arguing, we will stand out like those stars in that dark sky I saw that night. Why does Paul put so much weight on complaining and arguing? Arguing and complaining as a Christian is an oxymoron in action. The Christian community is an ambassador for God. In other words, people will see who God is by the way we live our lives. Complaining says God is not fair, I deserve better, and that my needs are more important than others. Complaining also says we disagree with His plan. Arguing with our Christian brothers and sisters shows division (see John 17 and John 13:35). Arguing with the world shows a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty, although we can (and will) disagree and should speak up for what is right. However, we are to do that with grace and love (see James 1:19-20).
I know it can be difficult at times, but we should not get discouraged. We should look at this time as the greatest opportunity in our lives thus far through which we can minister to a lost and dying world. So if you want to stand out like those stars, a good start would be to stop arguing and complaining. When we do that, God will do great things in our lives and in the lives of those He has put around us. Just as those stars caught my attention, so will the Christian in the workplace catch the attention of those around them.
The next time you think about how dark the world is, also think about this … As you live for Jesus, how much brighter your life will look to others. When the SON returns, no one will see us because His light will be much brighter and our time to shine will be no more. But for right now, it is our time to stand out like the stars I witnessed that night. (GSB)
This article was written by Scott Bowman. Scott is a Delta Air Lines mechanic and also serves on our FCAP Board of Directors.