Overview: Our Options and My Questions

Our Options

I'm starting out assuming the Great Commission, that faith comes by hearing the Word, that Jesus sending out all His disciples shows we all share it, that we take initiative to do that, and free will means we do it as often as we want to. Between Scripture and real-world experience, I've seen God work through many things people tried in their free time. We still can't sin, though.

When we share the Gospel, we must be obedient to God's Law in how we do it. If we do, we show others who Christ is, are blameless per God's Law, and can't be accused of hypocrisy. If they attack us, it's for our righteousness rather than our foolishness. A few passages says to submit to human law (or "institutions") where we might be concerned about breaking their laws, too. If under God's Law and some of man's, in what situations may we share the Gospel? Is doing it while on the clock one of them?

These are at least three options when assessing if we should maximize sharing at work:

1. We are commanded to share the Gospel as often as we want in any time or place. All authority in heaven and on Earth was given to Jesus Christ. He has sovereign rule over everything. No other authority can contradict Him. From this perspective, we'd start from there before asking what restrictions might apply. We'd share as often as possible only restricting ourselves when it was clearly a sin.

2. We are commanded to reflect Christ's character in everything, we're to give the employer all of their time, we're to maximize our productivity to reflect Christ's work ethic, sharing on the clock would be stealing from our employer, that's sinning, and so we can't share on the clock at all.

3. Same as No 2 with helpful compromises. We should spend almost all of our employer's time serving them. Employers in many workplaces already allow breaks, short periods for chit-chat, getting to know customers, and so on. Except, we'll exclusively use them to share the Gospel and/or show love for others. For the Gospel with tracts, it's seconds to minutes each day. A few tracts or short conversations here and there... small things with zero to near-zero impact on productivity... aren't stealing from employers. An alternative view is that we're doing what employees are already allowed to do. We're just using our time differently.

(Note for all of these: If sharing the Gospel, it will be optional for the listener, there's no further pushes if a coworker says no, and it's clearly a personal opinion that doesn't represent the company. This is all just being considerate.)

If you're wondering, I'm thinking either No 1 or No 3 are going to be true. I'm mostly weighing them. Some believers hold to No 2. I've been doing No. 3 with tracts. That's what they'd fire me for.

Also, I want to be clear that I'm not asking what we want to do or legally can get away with. I'll still collect advice on the legal aspects of this issue. My main concern is what the Word of God commands or permits us to do. Where would Jesus Christ and the Apostles be on this list?

Questions to Ponder

Are we commanded (or permitted) to share the Gospel at every opportunity and in every place? What is God’s Law on this matter?

Does Acts 4:18-20 and Acts 5:27-42 apply today? Are those general principles for any situation? If so, Acts 5 might settle it immediately forcing a compromise between productivity and sharing.

One, worrying question keeps popping into my mind: "Do we let the world and the devil decide which times and places where sharing Jesus is allowed?" If man or Satan bans the Gospel at home, work, and public, would you stop sharing the Gospel? If not, how would you use God’s Word to justify breaking those laws and policies?

Let go in the other direction. Rom. 13:1-7 and 1 Pet. 2:13-17 tells us to submit to legal authority when it doesn’t contradict God’s law. Do we treat employer policy this way? Do we do that when the issue is sharing the Gospel?

Quick note on that. In 1 Peter 2, suffering for sin is bad, suffering for doing good is good, and he compares that to Christ who was reviled. Christ was reviled for His preaching, good works on the Sabbath, and identity which was blasphemy to them. The authorities of the time had man-made rules against each of these. Our Lord didn't appear to be on the clock in those situations, though.

Follow-up: Did people share anything and talk to each other at work back then? As in, is it God’s design that we socialize while we work so we can share Christ with and show love for others? Did God intend for us to layer the Great Commission on top of that design for work? Did business owners later add for selfish gain rules banning employees chit chatting or sharing personal views while working? What God's design allowed on productivity vs sharing in the workplace back then would probably hint at what He expects now. I have no data on what work was like in Christ's time.

Some jobs make sharing inherently difficult due to the nature of the work, like an assembly line. Others make sharing difficult due to owners' control over customer interactions. Examples of that might be scripts, support forms that restrict users' input, and "this call may be monitored for quality-assurance purposes." Jesus and Paul did jobs that would make them "independent contractors" today. "Be your own boss!" Did they intentionally work those jobs partly to be able to talk to people at work and in between jobs? Or just common jobs with God's providence creating that opportunity?

How do those in South Asia and China approach sharing in hostile environments? Would they use the productivity over sharing argument? They might do that just for their safety, though. The losses are manageable for most of us in America. So, I think that applies more to a safety vs sharing debate.

What about the people who were in position No 1 risking it all who God blessed afterward? One nurse said she'd be fired before shutting up. Later ended up many countries on missions. Ted Fletcher was a sales manager for the Wall Street Journal, was dedicated to Christ, even left tracts on peoples' desks, later retired to start a mission group, and God built Pioneers through that man. Are these one-off incidents that tell us nothing? Or do high-impact, soul winners all share the Gospel no matter what? Or were  some high-impact, soul winners never sharing on the clock?

Last Question

What might vary among people is what's best for each one in different contexts. What shouldn't vary is what's permissible or righteous in a specific situation. What is permissible and what is righteous under God's Law on God's clock when also on man's clock?

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