The great thing about perspective shifts is that they can happen to anyone. It’s that moment when you think, “WHOA I never thought of it that way,” and all of sudden you have a cosmic shift in how you view something or someone. The other great thing about perspective shifts is they happen fast and can have massive impact. I want to talk about the power of perspective shifts and how they can impact our work and our community.
Let me tell you a quick story that illustrates this beautifully. This ordinary dish drain changed my marriage. Yes a dish drain… I love to cook, but my husband does NOT cook, at all. However, he is an amazing self-proclaimed “Kitchen Grunt”. He cleans up after I trash the kitchen like nobody’s business. The only problem is that he will finish cleaning the kitchen and leave the dish drain full of whatever went into our sink that night—veggie skins, scraps, dish washing gunk, dog food. You name it and he just leaves it all in the drain and walks away. I would come in a while later, look at it disgusted and ask him why he did that. He would say sorry and then we would repeat this dance night after night. Finally one night, Ned said to me, “Hey, I wonder what it would look like for us if when you saw the dish drain, instead of getting mad you saw it as a reminder of all the cleanup I had just done over the past 30 minutes and all you had to do was a 3 second dump out of the drain.” Well, that didn’t go over well. I was none too happy about that suggestion. However, when I sat with what he had said I realized he was spot on. Since that moment when my perspective changed, I see it and smile, grateful that I didn’t have to clean the kitchen.
What’s powerful about this story is nothing changed except my perspective
PERSPECTIVE – A WAY OF REGARDING SITUATIONS, FACTS, ETC, AND JUDGING THEIR RELATIVE IMPORTANCE
So same man, same woman, same situation, different perspective. Perspective shifts are powerful. This was a light bulb moment for me as I realized how fast one can change their perspective. It can happen in seconds and you will never look at something the same way. So how can this impact our workplaces and our communities?
Let’s talk about integrating Faith and Work. I bet many of you, some Christians and some non-Christians, are sitting there right now saying, “Heck no, those two do not mix.” You could probably list a million reasons why. Why do I know this? Because I myself had such a list at one point. But then my perspective changed. And this is exactly where I need you to be as you read this. Without that reaction we can’t have a perspective shift.
I became a Christian 15 years ago [a big dish drain moment in my life] and I was focused on living out my faith as a wife and a mom. I understood that Salvation is a gift to us from God. We can’t earn it by self-improvement or good works; it is only by God’s grace.
This was life changing for me but it never occurred to me that I had a role in ensuring others heard this good news. After all wasn’t that my church’s job?
Then I read the Barna Study that stated:
… the religiously unaffiliated and unchurched are concentrated in New England and the Northeast. Touted as the foundation and home-base of religion in America, and a region that often sets the political tone of the nation, New England dominates the post-Christian metrics, claiming five of the top 10 most post-Christian cities, including Boston, MA (65%), Providence, RI (60%), and Portland, ME (60%), with eight of the top 10 in the greater Northeast region.
This broke my heart, as I believe at my core that Christians can impact their communities with the love of Jesus and their servant hearts in a way that makes our communities better. So how do we get the hope of Jesus to our communities if fewer and fewer people are going to church?
I belong to a Christian CEO group where I learned that Jesus wants our workplaces to be places where people can hear the good news of Jesus. Then one month we were asked: Would the community you do business in miss your business if it were gone?
And quite honestly, I knew the answer was no. The town of North Kingstown RI was no better off because North Star Marketing was located in it. Ouch. You got it, another dish drain moment for me. My perspective on how I thought Jesus felt about my work completely changed. I now see that it is people like me and companies like North Star Marketing that God is calling to improve the findings of the Barna study.
If people aren’t going to church then walking our faith at work becomes super important. For some this may be the only place they hear the good news of Jesus. There is clearly a shift happening; I know it when I see quotes like this:
“I believe one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace.” – Dr. Billy Graham
“Our work is an honor, a privileged commission from our great King. God has given each of us a portion of his kingdom to explore and to develop to its fullness.” – Richard Pratt
The challenge is that Christians don’t know how to navigate what it means to bring our faith to work. Christianity Today published an article quoting a founder of Cincinnati-based marketplace ministry, At Work on Purpose as saying, “The local church doesn’t deal much with everyday realities for the working people in the pews.”
Princeton University scholar David W. Miller. Author of God at Work notes that most marketplace ministries “have formed outside the authority, involvement, or impetus of the church.”
I believe this breaks God’s heart. Marketplace ministry should not be separate from the church. We need a perspective shift for churches & Christians regarding the power of integrating faith and work in New England. Right in our community the Center for Faith at Work was launched in August. It is a combination of Christians in the workplace from around RI and the pastors and elders of Christ Church in East Greenwich that see the power of working together to help bring faith, hope and love to the workplace.
Integrating faith and work will require a perspective shift for many of us. When this shift happened for me, I became a more humble boss, a more encouraging co-worker, a more understanding vendor and quite honestly – just a whole lot more fun to be around. I shifted my thinking about business as a place to “use” people to make money to a place to use money to help people. With that perspective shift I see my work differently, I see my community differently and feel blessed to be on this planet, at this particular time, with the people God has put in my life.
My hope is that some of you had that “dish drain moment” after reading this. You recognize that you are the same person, going to the same workplace but you no longer have the same perspective regarding your workplace or you have a new perspective about integrating faith at work.
Christians should make our communities better, living for a purpose beyond ourselves and that can happen through our work.