Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.
It was wonderful to be invited into the Reserve Bank of Australia, an august institution which helps to regulate our economy. Its values are integrity, respect, excellence, intelligent inquiry and promoting the public interest.
I had just finished talking about how we should remove the sacred-secular divide, live out our faith at work, give people a taste of the kingdom, and the first question was: “Should I wear purple?”
Wear it Purple Day is an annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day based in Australia. Supporters wear purple to celebrate diversity and young people from the LGBTIQA+ community.
The responses from others in the room was interesting.
- One person said she throws all the paraphernalia (rainbow lanyards, leaflets, posters) in the bin and tells others she has no purple clothes to wear.
- Another said she tells her colleagues that her faith expects her to demonstrate love to the vulnerable every day of the year, not just one day.
- One more admitted he is tempted to take a day of leave to avoid the confrontation.
- Another said she doesn’t wear purple, and tells people she forgot.
My comment was that you don’t want your first stand as a Christian to be a moral stand, playing into the stereotypes of the church as exclusive, outdated, and focused on don’ts.
How can we demonstrate God’s welcome and love, a taste of the kingdom values of justice, and the beauty of grace in risky and innovative ways, every day at work?
The foundation of purple day was bullying and harassment of vulnerable youth. Confronting this is a good thing. We may not agree with the lifestyles of those around us, but we cannot expect them to live kingdom values without knowledge of Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman; he also went into the home of a greedy tax collector, and healed the daughter of a military usurper.
Radical love and uncompromising moral reformation were tensions he held.
The challenge to Christians and the church is to be an inclusive community with an exclusive message.
Think it through
Is this one of the challenges you face in terms of your workplace?
How do you respond: speak out, embrace, deny?
What does the Bible say?
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered round him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
11 ‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’
We live and work in a complex and challenging world.
Please help us to know how we can navigate the complexity in grace-filled ways.
Give us the creativity to find ways of demonstrating God’s welcome, while upholding his standards.
Let us not expect more of others than we live ourselves.
Help us to have your vision for how our lives can demonstrate Jesus.
Help us to work out our faith at work in humility.
Help us to win the right to speak out through our good deeds and excellent work.
We are so grateful for your mercy and forgiveness, and for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross,
Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organisations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.