When I interviewed for a position as a barista at Cafe 920 located in Southeast Christian Church, the manager conducting the interview asked me a question that typically doesn’t get asked during an average job interview.
The question I was asked was this: What would I do if a co-worker or fellow staffer started talking about another person on staff?
I must admit, I was taken aback just a little bit by that question, though now I get it. Southeast strives for excellence as a church and workplace. I winged my answer with something to the effect that I wouldn’t engage in that type of conversation, and I would hopefully express that in a polite manner to the person I was talking with. And then I added, just to be clear, that I’m pretty sure I have not only been involved in such conversing in the past, but most likely I had been an instigator at times.
Hey, I’m not perfect.
I was somewhat surprised, after I started working at the cafe, to learn that people were people after all, and even in this amazing place I have the opportunity to work, well, it’s filled with flawed, fallible people. There will always be those who have the need to feel significant by making others seem small.
But that question has stayed with me.
The Bible tell us in Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one misses out on God’s grace, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and thus contaminates many…
One of the most significant ways we can offer grace to others is by treating them with respect, kindness and love, even when they don’t act in a Christ-like manner.
Grace is an amazing thing, but did you catch that last part? The result of not extending grace will cause roots of bitterness to spring up and cause trouble thus contaminating many. Contaminating many? That’s a pretty big deal.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s usually easier to engage in those conversations, or nod, chuckle or acquiesce in some way or another, but as soon as we do that, we have joined in the tearing down, even if we never utter a word..
And then there is Romans 12:3 with these specific instructions: For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to have wise thoughts, as God has given everyone a measure of faith.
It’s not only important to walk in grace where we work, it’s important to the Body of Christ as a whole. It’s important that we esteem others more highly than ourselves, especially to those who don’t know Jesus. This reminds me of the adage accredited to Francis of Assisi, Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. .
And then Philippians 2:3 reminds us of this: Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
What if we actually lived in such a manner? What if we dared to put aside those petty, overwhelming feelings of insignificance and trust that if we esteem others above ourselves, extending grace, it may make a difference in someone’s life? An intentional, eternal difference.
I don’t want to be the person who talks about others because they______(fill in the blank however you wish).
I don’t want to be that person who thinks I’m better because I serve faithfully and volunteer often.
I don’t want to be that person who thinks I’m more spiritual because I never miss church, or my daily quiet-time.
I don’t want to be that person who thinks more highly of myself because of what I do or don’t do.
I want to be the person who prays every day, “Lord, let me see people the way you see them”, even when they don’t measure up.
Do you dare to highly esteem those you work with, live with, serve with? Do you dare to highly esteem the Body of Christ and the entire world as well?
Lord, let us see people the way you see them.
No matter what you do, where you work or where you serve, it’s always about people.