In the parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14) Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son and goes on to tell us of a guest who was thrown out for not wearing a wedding garment. He concludes the parable with the promise that Many are called but few are chosen.
This is a rather startling end to a parable that seems to show us that all we need to do is accept Gods invitation.
But think about the time period when Jesus was telling this parable. At that time it was common for a wealthy person who was throwing a big wedding feast to provide special garments or robes for the guests. Putting on the supplied garment was a sign of respect for both the family (the father) hosting the feast as well as respect for, in this case, the son.
So the guy came to the party because he was invited (when the other invited guests refused to go) but he wasnt going to put on a robe to be there. He took the positive action of accepting the invitation but his actions showed his heart wasnt completely in what he was doing.
We do the same when we say were people of faith and yet dont demonstrate that faith in our words and actions.
Our behavior is an external demonstration of our internal beliefs and thoughts.
We do this a lot in our lives. For example, we can say were worried about our high blood pressure and our health but if we dont take our medication, dont eat right, and dont exercise then our behavior would say we really arent too worried about it.
And the same is true of our faith. We may say were Christians; we may go to church regularly; we may donate to charities; but, if were mean to the people we work with those we spend so many hours with and who really try our patience the most then were really not living our faith. Our external actions are the true indicators of whats in our hearts.
Here are 3 ways you can translate your beliefs into action in the office:
1. Assume the best about people. We can be quick to assume that someone is out to get us or make our lives miserable. We think that someone is ignoring us when in fact they just didnt hear us. Nobody wakes up in the morning planning on getting on your nerves. Listen for the statements you make about people and the beliefs they indicate you hold. Correct yourself by removing negative, judgmental ideas.
2. Be a giving person. Share information, ideas, and kindness with no expectation of receiving those in return. Give people attention and your time. We all want to feel were important and valued. For inspiration and concrete tips pick up the books How Full is Your Bucket and Love is the Killer App. Theyll both help you see that it is in giving we receive as well as the danger and low productivity that results from negativity.
3. Be a forgiving person. People make mistakes. Genuine mistakes. They disappoint us and we disappoint others. That doesnt mean that you dont hold people to performance requirements or that you allow them to steal from the company, but it means that you dont hold grudges. It means that you help someone learn from a mistake and then you help them move on.
None of us is perfect but we should be constantly moving forward to try to become as Christ-like as we can.
Its incredibly challenging to live our faith at work each day. Its where we face our greatest test as Christians. But its where the light of Christs love is sorely needed and needs to shine as brightly as possible.
Were called to be that light to others.