“Who do men say that I am?” is the question Jesus asked his disciples on the way to Caesarea Philippi. Easy enough one would think. After all, the people witnessed the miracles and wonders he performed firsthand. They were with him for three days. They hungered and he fed them, he even healed a blind man. Surely, they would be able to identify him based on what they knew.
Jesus and the Disciples
The disciples replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” Okay, so maybe there was a bit of confusion. Perhaps defining who he was and what he represented was somehow misunderstood. He then asked the disciples, his closest colleagues “But who do YOU say I am?”
How Are You Identified at Work?
Now imagine yourself as Christian at work. Are your colleagues aware that you are a Christian? Does this affect how you behave? It’s usually wise and even recommended in most workplaces not to discuss politics or religion at all. But religion, depending on what your beliefs can oftentimes dictate how you interact in social circles…even at work.
So how should you respond when you are required to participate in “team building” activities that go against your personal beliefs? Maybe you’ve been invited to join your co-workers after-hours for drinks. Do you attend or graciously decline?
Casual hours are sometimes as important as the actual work day itself. They can define an employee’s status with their peers and even managers. This is the time real deals are made and bonds and relationships are built. Successful interaction can sometimes make or break your career. Figuring out how to navigate that fine line between work and worship might be challenging. But can you truly maintain your identity as a Christian and still remain a “team player’?
Kelvin Beachum Jr. is an NFL player for the NY Jets. While he knows what it means to be a team player he is a Christian in the workplace. His workplace is the field and the locker room where it is not uncommon to hear profanity or in his case prayer.
CFU: There’s a general public perception surrounding today’s professional male athletes. They see a life of partying, fast cars and even faster women and in some instances substance abuse. As a Christian how have you managed to separate yourself from those activities yet still be a “team player”?
KBJ: I spend time with my teammates in different ways. Grabbing dinner, doing treatment together– it’s not about separation it’s about standards. My standards don’t permit staying out late and going certain places, so once I see the evening heading in a different direction, I call it a night. My teammates respect my choices but I have to stay consistent. I have to hold on to that standard consistently.
CFU: Discussions regarding religion or politics are generally frowned upon in any workplace. Has this made it difficult for you to witness to others in the sports world?
KBJ: Not at all. I say this all the time: for some people, I may be the only Bible they see. I don’t need to preach and beat them upside the head with a Bible. What’s important and impactful is living a life that’s pleasing to God and allowing others to witness that. When God lays on your heart to witness, one can do it and there not be strain on the relationship. Being true to your faith and living in a way that glorifies God genuinely, allows others to see God.
CFU: Has being a Christian ever caused any conflict in your career?
KBJ: None whatsoever. Being a Christian football player is validated, in my opinion. Samson was violent. David was violent. Jesus was violent when he needed to be! I’ve been blessed with a gift. Playing football is one way I worship every single day!
CFU: What advice would you give to Christians who find themselves in compromising positions at work?
KBJ: Don’t compromise. Either be hot or cold. It’s very simple.