Monday, June 7, 2021

On the Frontline

We hear the term "on the frontline" a lot more these days.  In the past, it was often used only in reference to military positions.  Those on the frontline were those leading the charge, those facing actual conflict or struggle.
But today, we hear about frontline workers in the health sector, especially those working with COVID-19 patients.  We hear about frontline workers in the social work field, working with those struggling with the effects of racial tension, drug/alcohol abuse, and more.

But as ambassadors of the Most High God, all of us are on the frontline, especially in our places of work.  It is where we bring light into darkness.  It is where we work for the flourishing of individuals and communities. It is on the frontline that we are to bring the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

The frontline is a place that is the least protected from criticism or attack.  It is a place of vulnerability.

Therefore, it is a place where we need strategies and direction.  It is a place where we learn to worship God through our work so that He receives the glory and people flourish.  

It also needs to be a place of faithfulness.  

But what does this look like on the frontline?

At DML, we define faithfulness as following God's three great directives:  the Great Commitment (Gen. 1:28, 2:15), the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission.  We spell that out by saying that no matter where we work, every Christian needs to have an economic, environmental, social, and missional bottom line.  These four goals will result in flourishing as well as glory to our God.

Most of the time we think about faithfulness in terms of explicit opportunities through witnessing or talking about God.  But faithfulness also needs to be present in how we do our work:

  • Do I do it with excellence?  To the best of my ability?
  • Do I strive to get better at whatever it is I have the opportunity to do?  Is there a goal of continuous improvement?
  • How do I use my time while at work?  With integrity?  
  • How do I preach the gospel through my actions (not my words)?  
  • Who is God calling me to love at my place of work?  That difficult colleague or customer?
  • Am I being a disciple at work?  Is there an area of my work where I am not representing God well?
  • Who might God be calling me to disciple?  How can I begin to pray for that person?
  • Am I working for the Lord and not for man?  Meaning, regardless of what I think of my boss, or the place where I work, I strive to do it with excellence because ultimately I am working for the Lord and the flourishing of His people?

For some people, the only gospel they will ever see is how we act when on the frontlines.   

Wherever your frontlines may be (and we have them at home, church, and in our communities in addition to our work), receive this blessing:

Now go, Church.
Leave here.
Go in the name and in the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Go and extend your worship into your work.
Go and extend Christ’s service into your service.
Take the grace that you've received at this table and extend it to all for whom you care.
Remember the hospitality you found here.
Offer it to others tomorrow.
Go and work.
Honor the one who is working on you.
Do so by making beautiful things, by serving in beautiful ways, by speaking up for the weak whose beauty is being maligned, by filling the city with the aroma of good and beautiful work.
Reflect the beautiful work of your Heavenly Father, nourished now by the grace and mercy of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
God has already accomplished the great work.
God goes before you and behind you.
God works at your side.

(Taken from Work and Worship, Kaemingk and Willson, page 140)