Must a Christian work only for a Christian? Does the company or organization that a Christian works for, and which gives them a paycheck, have to be a “Christian” one?
I used to think so. I’m a Protestant Evangelical, born and reared in a Pentecostal home and church – and currently attending both Pentecostal and Southern Baptist churches. I have four years of university teaching experience in English – three years at a Catholic school and one year at a Baptist one. English is known for being a “liberal” field of study. But somehow I had survived the onslaught of brainwashing.
I had no teaching experience when I arrived at Catholic University (Washington, DC) as a graduate student. But with the help of teachers, classmates, and time, I learned the ropes. And yet it was a long time before I enjoyed my job and felt like I knew what I was doing. It was my final year at CUA that changed everything. Suddenly I became more evangelistic. My secular classmates and teaching supervisor preferred to call it proselytizing. And therein lay the rub. I was also shocked to learn that a fellow classmate was teaching pornography for her honors English class. Ironically I found more faith and virtue among some of my Catholic students, whom I don’t consider Christians, than I did among my peers and teachers. The rule of the English department was secular liberalism – at a “Christian” (Catholic) university. Eventually, I couldn’t abide by the rules – no proselytizing – and was fired.
By the time I left CUA, I was fed up. I decided that I wanted to work only for (and with) Christians – and teach only Christian students. This desire led me to apply to Liberty University, a campus with a heavy evangelical atmosphere. Yet even there I learned that many students weren’t Christians when they arrived on campus and some were suicidal. I also didn’t like some of the English professors whom I would be working with. It’s almost as though I were too good for them. So I turned down Liberty’s teaching offer.
Oh stupid me! I see that now, but I didn’t then. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus tells us to be salt and light in morally dark, tasteless places. But I didn’t want to be that. I wanted my own private Christian enclave – like the first-century Essenes. Ironically, the Baptist university I later taught at also had some non-Christian students. And there I learned to be salt and light – to instruct the mind, heart, and soul. I had a chance to do it over again. And I think this time I performed a bit better.
To those who think I may be wrong about all this, look at the Bible. Paul was a tentmaker. Nehemiah was a king’s cupbearer. Daniel was a king’s eunuch. Esther was a king’s wife. And a little Israelite girl served Naaman’s wife. God strategically placed each person where they could be His salt and light.
S o does it matter, Christian, if the company you work for isn’t “Christian”? No. Does it have to be Christian? Must any (or all) of your co-workers be Christians? Emphatically no. It’s probably better if they aren’t. Then you’re living in the real world, with a chance to be the salt and light of Jesus to others. There are some exceptions of course. You shouldn’t do anything that goes against God’s word and your conscience. If refusing to do something like this makes you lose your job, so be it. In the meantime, be salt and light. And don’t unnecessarily antagonize anyone.