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2012-03-04 How to Live Out Faith in our Workplace

Time: 2012-03-07 Click:

By Cathy
04 Mar. 2012 Sunday





Worship song: 在 乎 你

Verse 1 祢的慈爱比天高 比海深
Ni de ci ai bi tian gao bi hai shen
比我的生命更好 祢怜悯受伤痛苦的人
Bi wo de sheng ming geng hao ni lian min shou shang tong ku de ren
Verse 2 祢的能力比风强 比山高
Ni de neng li bi feng qiang bi shan gao
没有难成的事情 覆庇软弱无助的生命
Mei you nan cheng de shi qing fu pi ruan ruo wu zhu de sheng ming
Chorus 祢的眼睛看着我 从来没有离开我
Ni de yan jing kan zhe wo cong lai mei you li kai wo
我是祢宝贝 重价赎回的人
Wo shi ni bao bei zhong jia shu hui de ren
祢伸出施恩的手 把我紧紧拥抱
Ni shen chu shi en de shou Ba wo jin jin yong bao
我平安 我生命 在乎祢
Wo ping an Wo sheng ming Zai hu ni


Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.




Good morning. Please join me in a very short prayer. “Lord of love, Lord of wisdom, Lord of creation. We know and we are so grateful to you that above all you loved us first and gave us your sprite please today. So the words from my mouth and meditation from my heart are pleased in your side. Open our hearts, so we can get to know you more. In Christ name we pray, Amen!”



In the previous two weeks, we have been talking about work and Christian faith. We have said, work is not a punishment, but God calls us to work. God also works, and also God is honored and God honors us in the work. The second week, we talked about attitudes. In the workplace, we should work diligently, honestly, and also with a very balanced attitude, we work and we also know how to rest. We have God as our audience in our work. Today, we are going to further on about how to work, and how to live out our faith. It’s a little bit same with the second week’s attitudes. So today we are going to focus more on the conflicts, the tensions. Yes, as a Christian, in your workplace, you know that, there is always tension and conflict. What should we do? And how can we do?


I was quite blessed. Several weeks ago, I was given this topic and we started to meditate on that. Then I got a chance to hear a lecture at Peking University, was given by Old Testament professor from the UK, his name is Chris Right. And he talked something about work. So I’m quite blessed by that opportunity. So what I’m mainly sharing here is quite inspired by him, so I want to thank him here. Today, I will also work with my friend Michel, he will come later. So I will focus on the principles.


Mainly, we have two principles. First one, as Christians, how to live out our faith? First, we should be engaged. And the second principle is to be distinctive.


To be engaged, we’ll focus on these two images, salt and light. From the PPT, you can see that I have this kind of that lamp which is called salt and light lamp. Outside is the salt, inside is the light.


To be engaged, like a salt and light, means that you have to be used. The salt if you don’t use it, it’s tasteless and is going to be trampled. If the light is being hidden in the basket or in a bowl, is not going to shine in the whole room. So to be Christian, first of all, should be actively engaged in service. So the first principle, to be engaged means that we have to serve actively. Serve the country, serve the people around you, to be a good servant.


I once was asked about what it means to be a leader. I didn’t get it. Actually, to be a good leader means that you first of all should be a good servant. Think of those great leaders, they are the great servants first of all. Serve the country and serve the people around you. So you can like Joseph and Daniel, they are ministers or high officials in the foreign country, whose faith are quite different from theirs’, but they serve for the people there.




Secondly, you have to pray for the people. Pray for the country, pray for the people, pray for the authority. Like Jeremiah once said, people in the Axial, they were grabbed to Babylon. The letter to them is there, “live there, accept the reality, and then multiply. Pray for the people, and pray for the welfare of the people there. In this way, by praying for their welfare, you also be benefited.” Same in here. We have to pray for the country, pray for the people around us, no matter they are believers or not. We have to pray for the benefit and welfare of all, not only in China, but also everywhere.


The third, specifically to be engaged, is that you have to keep the good spirit – hard working. Sometimes people think that it’s a disasters’ world now. We have disasters everywhere, it seems to be the end of the world, especially in 2012. With all of the disasters, does it mean that we just wait for the destruction of the world, and we do not need to work anymore? No, never, but pray, work, serve, and also work diligently. So that like the scripture told us, you are like the light shining in the room, and because you are work with good attitudes, you have good witnesses in front of the others and people may see what you are believing.


Second principle, be in distinctive, like the salt, you have to be salty, like the light, you have to be shining. Everything is dark, maybe around you. People corrupt, people bribe to get the positions, and people cheating to get good scores in the exams. You can’t because you are a Christian. You should keep the light and the righteousness in your heart, and be salty. So to be distinctive, like Lev. 18:3, God is saying: “You were in Egypt, but you can’t behave like them, and I’m not going to bring you to Canaan, you can’t behave like them either, because people in Egypt and Canaan are pursuing profits and power.” So do not seek for profit and power only, like the others, but seek the welfare of the others, seek for the goodness of the others like our Christ has done. It is here be in distinctive, that is going to be hard. And that is going to be the tension and conflict part.


At the end of the lecture of professor Right, two questions were asked to him. One student stood up and said that: “Yes, I Agree with you, we should be actively engaged in this public area. So you know in China, to be actively engaged in the public area, you need to be a Party Member. See, if you want to be a head master, if you want to be a professor of a very important university, you have to be a Party Member. To be a high official, or like today, if you want to get a good job or to be secured you have to be a Gongwuyuan, you have to be Party Member. What should I do? See, if I work in a good place, I can help many. If I have the authority, like Joseph and Daniel, I may have the power to help the other Christians, but Party Member, that’s atheist, what should I do with this conflict?” The other question was raised by a girl. She said she has to hide her identity of being a Christian in her work place, because others couldn’t understand her. She tried to say something but people would look at her strangely. Sometimes she would be excluded from the opportunities or the works or something that is important for her to do. So she has to hide her identity, she was confused and frustrated. That’s this kind of thing bothered. And I know that other places and other occasions is that maybe you are working for a corporation or a company, the boss ask you to work overtime on Sundays. Are you going to do that? If you do not do that, you are going to lose the job. And if you do that, you feel disturbed, because you want to use that day for worship. Things like that are all conflicts and tensions.


Professor Right answered very wisely. First of all he admitted that, as a foreigner, especially only as a guest here in China very briefly, he couldn’t answer those questions, because he comes from a country that these are not his living station. China is different. Truly. In China, we Christians are minorities. So living in a country that Christian faith is not yet the majority, what should we do? He talked about the story about Ester. We all know the story of Ester. The first part of the story, Ester didn’t tell the king her identity of being a Jew and her faith. And later, when things became urgent, she has the courage. She took the courage to show her identity and to do the things right, pray to God. So for this kind of conflicts and tensions, there is no one answer for each of us. And no one can make decision on our behalf. We are the ones to make the decision finally. We have to pray to God to make the right decision. We need the wisdom and we also need the courage.


Yes, wisdom and courage. We need wisdom to find a way, to bare good witnesses, live out our faith, and also get along well with the others. But when time comes, we have to testify and defend our faith. We should have the courage to do so, and always trust that God is with you, God sees everything. Yes. When the decision is hard to make, pray to God in your heart, and always trust that God is love, God loves us first instead of judging us. God always gives us opportunities to change and to be transformed. God will be there when you are facing all the tensions, sufferings and conflicts. Trust that God is there.








Good morning brothers and sisters. I often hear people in China talking about a certain group of people. They call them the 80 ‘hou’, the 1980s’ generation. And that’s the generation I identify with in China, because I first came to Beijing in 1982, and first came to work in China in 1985. So I’ve grown up in China as same as many of you at the time of very rapid change. But I’ve also seen God work in my life to change me greatly during that time as well. God is the automate changer of people. When I was in Collage I became a Christian. Some friends of mine taught me how to read the Bible. And I saw that God was changing me in dramatic ways through that experience. His goal is very clear to make us more and more like Jesus. I found that one of the strongest ways he has done that he used very simple concepts ideas from Bible, such as what we were talking about today being salt and light.


I’m a PHD in Chemistry, so I know a little bit about salt. But in this context, thinking about the impact of salt, probably the clearest image for me is what I see in the Chinese restaurant. When I go in, I watch the chief, he stir-frying the dish, at the very end, which is out, he gets a little bit of something in, put it in and finish it and serve the dish and it’s great. What is that little bit? It’s a little bit of salt, the soy sauce, some kind of spice. A little bit of salt goes a long way to make something good. In the late 1980s’, I was living and working in Tianjin. I read a newspaper once. There is a village outside of Tianjin, where many people have become Christians. The newspaper found out about this and sent a reporter out there to ask the head of that village, the government official. What was it like to work in the village where there are so many Christians? He reported that there are very few crimes. He had very few conflicts to mediate and resolve. Husbands and wives were getting along very well, children are doing well in school, and actually he didn’t have very much work to do. Today I think we call that a very harmonious society.


If you go back and look at the United States’ history, where I come from. There are   periods of time and places where a number of people become Christians. There is documentation, that shows that the jails emptied out, fewer crimes were committed, much fewer social problems. Families were stronger. In fact, there were stand and live in Christ.


A little bit of salt goes a long way. Number of years ago, I was running a company here in China, and we had over 2000 employees. At once I found that one of the employees was in the hospital, very serious and needed blood transfusions. And I asked my Human Resource’s manager:” Is there something we can do? Go and talk to the hospital, if we willing to donate blood can that help to reduce the cost.” He said:” Yes. But Chinese don’t like to donate blood.” “So that’s ok, I’m willing to donate blood and maybe some other employees are willing as well.” So the first year we had about 15 employees donate blood to help our fellow employee. So you might ask why you were doing this. I said God had blessed me, now I want to be a blessing to other people in need. The second year we had about 50 people donating blood. The third year, the Red Cross in that city ranged 2 days to come to our factory to accept blood donations. They were surprised when over 200 people volunteer. In fact they couldn't take that many volunteers. So the day of the blood donation I was there. The head of the Red Cross came here, he was very excited about this, because it was hard for people to donate blood. They actually brought the TV station. So I was there with a needle in my arm, I can't move, and I had been interviewed by the TV station. What's the secret here? I think you know the secret. It is a little bit salt in society. God has blessed me, I want to be a blessing.





We have also talked this morning about light, being light. Jesus is the light of the world. He says that without him, we live in darkness. Have you ever been in a really dark room with little light goes on? You notice it, it makes a big difference. I've talked to a lot of Christian friends here in China, and ask them how did you become a Christian. They often tell me about a number of people, maybe an aunt or uncle, a teacher, a friend, a classmate. One person told me about a pastor they met on a train and they said, talked for hours. Maybe they were given Bible to read. In each case I found that there is a long list and chain of people and events that God uses to bring us into his kingdom.


Now I realized that I am not responsible for that entire chain God uses, but I'm responsible for my day to day interactions. What the great thing about China is there is a lot of people, and you've got a lot of opportunities to apply this in your life. But there are also a lot of challenges as Cathy shared. I worked in a company where we had very strict rules about any sort of religious activity, particularly for managers, and I was the general manager. What could I do? I thought about this for a long time and prayed about it. And one day I was reading Romans and I got to Romans chapter 12. Romans 12:15, Paul says, “to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to mourn with those who mourns.” I thought I can do that. There is no restriction against that. So I began actively trying to do that in my life.


We were a relatively young company. We have a lot of young employees. The rejoicing part was very easy. A lot of young couples, we had a lot of weddings and marriages. Those were a lot of fun. A few years after the marriages, there were a lot of babies. We got to go the Manyue dinners, celebrations. So that was a lot of fun. The only hard part was I went to a hotel where 2 or 3 couples were getting married to make sure I found the right one, because often the woman were so beautiful. They didn't look like what they were look like when they were in the office. That was a lot of fun. We had a lot of opportunities to talk about God's blessings in marriage and in family.


The mourning part is harder. I tried to visit every employee who was sick, or injured, or hurt in the hospital. One of my employees got burnt at home who was in a burnt hospital, very painful, and far away from where I worked. So one day during lunch, I went across the town to the hospital. I found the building he was in and I found the floor he was on. The nurse took me down to his room. As I opened the door when in the room I saw he was asleep and his wife was sleep with him on the bed. You have ever been to hospital, it is a very hard place to rest. So I told the nurse “just let them sleep, I will come back.” And I left the hospital. I came back that evening by then everyone on the floor knew that I had been there to see them. And we had a very public conversation, because everyone was curious what I was doing there. I had a chance to talk with them and to pray with them. They were not Christians. In fact everyone I have asked in China when they are in trouble “Can I pray for you?” The answer is always yes. So we prayed together.


I had another employee young man. He got married to a very nice young woman. A couple of years after that, they had a little baby boy. They also bought a new apartment. They were very busy renovating that, renovating an apartment in China takes 6 months. They finished all that, they bought the furniture, and put all the furniture in the new apartment. There was one day with their little boy and they opened all the windows. You know how a new apartment smells. They want to get rid of that smell, so they could move in to the new apartment. They settled the little boy down on the sofa. This little boy has just started learning how to crawl. He crawled up the sofa, and he crawled onto the window, and he fell, 4 or 5 stories to the ground. The little baby boy died. And his parents were waiting in the hospital that day. I found out about that a few hours later. And my employees told me “You should not go”. They knew what I would most likely do. They said “You should not go. You don’t understand, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say, you shouldn’t go.” They were right. There is no Chinese text book for foreigners that tells you what to say at a time like that. But I felt I was to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. So I went, very sad a day for me to be with them, to listen, to cry, to talk together, and to mourn with those who mourns.


Did God promise this is going to be easy? No. I find it very interesting when I was interviewing people this week for a job. They had lots of questions, when I come to work, what is my job, what do I do, what will happen here, what will happen there. Those are all great questions. But when Jesus calls us to follow him, he simply says “Follow me.” He doesn’t tell us where we are going to go, what’s going to happen. He does leave us some tremendous promises. Promise to love us, promise to be with us, and promise to cause all things in our life to work together for good.


Probably the best role model I can think of in the scriptures in Cathy’s refer to him already is Daniel. I have been encouraging you to read the first 6 chapters of the book of Daniel this week, if you want to try to put this into practice. Daniel had a very dramatic start. He saw his country, his city, his people, the temple of his God destroyed. He was deported to Babylon. And he had to serve the king that had done all these terrible things. I think most of you who are Chinese know what it feels like to see destruction in your country. I took some friends once to Yuanmingyuan not far away from here. You know how strong some of those feeling can be. Daniel went through that once his grandparents went through, he went through that yet he served that king. And he served him well. Near the end of his career, there were some people who wanted to destroy Daniel. They were trying to find something to use against him. And what they said in Daniel chapter 6 verse 4 is amazing. They couldn’t find any corruption in him. He is a high government official who had been in the position for years and years and years, and no corruption. In fact they said, couldn’t find any corruption in him. He was neither corrupt nor negligent. He did a very good job. And what did he do?


I think we will have experience as I had experienced as when people tried to destroy my career. And we have some chances to retaliate, to do something back to them. And all our natural impulses encourage us to do that. Our friends, I said friends said you ought to do something against that person. But God calls us to be salt and light, and to act in the way that pleases him. I believe God has us here in Beijing for reason, his reasons. I believe he wants us to be salt and light in our school, in the place where we work, in our neighborhood, even in the Beijing subways. He wants us to be salt and light. And he will use us there. The last verse that we read this morning, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Thank you!





Media Resources:


Sermon: How to Live Out Faith in our Workplace video   ppt   doc
Worship song: Above All video audio lyric
Worship song: 在乎你 video audio lyric
Worship song: You Raise Me Up video audio lyric
Worship song: Here I Am To Worship video audio lyric



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