The average person spends 92,000 hours of their life at work. This equates to about 35% of their waking life.
In those 92,000 hours, you are going to meet thousands of people who don’t yet know Jesus and are therefore not currently destined for salvation. When they spend time working with you, are they likely to encounter Jesus? Not just, “will you speak about Him with your words?”, but will they meet Him through your actions? A real difference will be made when people encounter Jesus through the way we treat them and the kind of culture we cultivate, and I believe we do this best when we prophesy (or encourage) in our workplaces.
When you prophesy to people, you are essentially just encouraging them with the truth of who they are in God's eyes.
Prophecy is one of the most powerful gifts God has given us, and it is, simply put, using our words to share how God sees a person or situation . “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” (1 Corinthians 14:3) When you prophesy to people, you are essentially just encouraging them with the truth of who they are in God’s eyes. God sees people as full of the potential to be righteous, free, world-changing sons and daughters. He sees the same gold in them as He saw in us when He died to save us.
I have the privilege of line managing about 50 people – mostly aged between 16 and 21 – who are playworkers for children with learning difficulties. When I first began the role, I quickly discovered that although the team was full of incredible, kind, compassionate people, many of them did not know their worth. So, I went to the source of my own worth, Jesus, in order to draw out theirs. I introduced a system called the ‘gifts’ system, which involved taking the list of Spiritual Gifts from Romans and 1 Corinthians, simplifying them (evangelism = people person, words of knowledge = perceptiveness, etc) and then encouraging the playworkers to call out each other’s gifts. I also began to message each staff member every 6-8 weeks to tell them how well they were doing, as well as regularly taking an interest in them when I saw them.
In time, I started to see a workforce that was valued and confident, providing a beautiful service to those in need. Very few of these workers knew Jesus for themselves, but they knew me and through my encouragement and investment, they were encountering Him every day.
In time, I started to see a workforce that was valued and confident, providing a beautiful service to those in need.
When we encourage others like this, we will stand out. It wasn’t long before I was having opportunities to talk about Jesus’ difference in my life, pray for healing, and even have the privilege of explaining the Gospel to a friend who texted me at 5am asking how they could confide in Jesus. All of this was great, but it came at a cost…
We are called to celebrate the gold in people around us, but we’re also called to love them as Christ loved us when we were sinners. When we start acting like Jesus, we may be noticed, but we may not be liked. Take Jesus and Judas, for example. Judas followed Jesus for three years, operated in His ministry, and shared a close friendship with Him, yet, Judas also betrayed Jesus. Can you imagine how that felt? Maybe you don’t have to imagine. Sadly, many work environments are full of gossip, complaining, and backstabbing for personal gain. That’s why, when we do the work of Jesus, we powerfully challenge the culture, but we risk being betrayed ourselves.
As I look back on my time with my team, I can say with certainty that I have encouraged people and built them up, revealing aspects of God’s Kingdom. However, I have also been criticised, scrutinised and cast aside by people I invested heavily into. Sometimes, it feels like I’ve wasted my time, but then I have to ask whether Jesus wasted His time with Judas? Absolutely not. Jesus revealed the full force of the Kingdom of Heaven to Judas, He befriended a child of God, and loved him for all he was worth.
Jesus is just asking you to love like He loved. Walk like He walked. Give like He gave.
Your Kingdom mission at work is not to see everyone get saved. That would be incredible, but really Jesus is just asking you to love like He loved. Walk like He walked. Give like He gave. This will cost you, but as you encourage those around you and giving them the same opportunity that Jesus gave to Judas, I can guarantee your obedience will resound in Heaven and make ripples around you. Through your encouragement, integrity, faith, hope and love, let you workplace encounter Jesus, and then let Him do the rest.