In my last post, I suggested that being prayerfully attentive was the key to anything that passed as a missional life. I applied this first to our neighborhoods and suggested walking the neighborhood as a way to cultivate a missional presence. But, I’m convinced that the same kind of attention should be given to the places where we work.
The challenges of a missional identity at work can be inhibiting. This is in part because loyalty to the company is part of being a good employee, and wearing your faith on your sleeve might not be the best way to demonstrate that loyalty. Also, as I mentioned in my last post, relationships at work can be asymmetrical, some holding power over others, which can make the free exchange of lives difficult–a necessary condition for the gospel to be seen, in my opinion.
So, I’m not suggesting that mission at work take the form of Bible thumping or bumper sticker displaying. Instead, I’m suggesting an incarnational approach rooted in hospitality. That is, the open character of your life should be the leading edge of your missional witness.
I’m convinced that hospitality is not simply a good practice for Christians to do. Rather, hospitality is central to God’s life. The very identity of God as Father, Son, and Spirit reveals the divine as making room for the other. When we practice hospitality in Jesus’ name, then, we are participating in the very life of God. We learn this as our way of life in worship as we gather around a table to enjoy the hospitality of God.
I once taught a class where I suggested that the words, “This Do In Remembrance of Me,” should also be found in our kitchens and living rooms. A few weeks later, my friend Cari Bonneau, showed me a picture of the new border in her kitchen displaying just these words. Awesome.
But I also think these words should appear in our desk drawer at work, the one we open the most, to remind us that the shape of mission at work means being open to the other. Your office or cubicle should be a place of welcome. And by this, I mean that you should be interruptible and available. And I mean you should be just as welcoming and attentive to the person who empties your trash as you are to the person who signs your checks.
This sounds obvious, right? But my hunch is that we aren’t intentional about these kinds of things, we lapse into the paths of least resistance which usually tend toward currying favor and protecting our space and time.