Most days out of the week I work on staff at Koinonia Fellowship as the Music Director, and have been for the last 12 years, but few days a week, you will find me slinging a tool bag instead of a guitar case, in the City of Rochester NY. Having worked as a maintenance tech full time for 15 years, and now part-time for over 12 years, I probably could have written a book on my adventures and the people I’ve met.
I stumbled into this field looking for extra work in the early days when my guitar teaching didn’t pay enough to support my young family and I simply worked hard and learned on the job. I painted, cleaned, and learned basic handy man skills to take care of standard home repairs.
In my earliest years, I worked in some of the toughest areas of the city. Areas that you went in early and never left when it got dark for fear of robbery or violence. I’ve done repairs in drug houses, gang handouts, basements with pit bulls chained to the wall while I worked, I’ve had tools stolen from my van, a co worker one time was robbed at gun point while I went for supplies, I’ve seen apartments completely trashed with every window intentionally broken out of it, young kids left to fend for themselves while the parents were gone or missing, and I still have the scar over the left side of my lip from the two guys who cornered me, jumped me and kicked me in the face knocking me unconscience, “just becuase.”
I’ve seen squaller beyond anything I could imagine and poverty that would turn your stomach…all in the city of Rochester. I’ve met some of the kindest people and some of the most vilest of society.
Many times I have opportunities to share the Gospel with homeless people that wander through, with residents who open up in conversation, and some I’ve even been able to pray with to receive Christ as their Savior.
It is sometimes tempting to make judgement calls and assume I know why they are in low income housing situation or living at the poverty level. I sometimes can get angry or cynical when I see young healthy men hanging out at home instead of working…but I’m not God and I don’t know all the details…every person has a story and a broken road.
If there is one thing I have learned about working in these environments as a Christian is that I can work in such a way as to bring a redemptive aspect to the people and the places that I come in contact with.
The work place, regardless of the circumstances or situations, is an arena by which we can work for the glory of God and the good of people. I try and do this in a few simple ways.
1. Treat every person with respect…regardless of age, race, or socia-economic status they are image bearers of God. I smile and try to be as helpful as possible with any of their needs. My faith should be evident even before I speak about it. Jesus loves them and so should I.
2. Complete the work requested and leave the place better than how it was before. Stewarding time and resources honors The Lord and leaves the tenant/customer feeling that they matter and were worth a good job.
3. Realize that my work day is a mission field, just as spiritual as working at Church. Pray for divine appointments and be faithful to interact with those God brings in your path.
Redeeming the work day and the work place is something every Christian should seek to do. Compartmentalizing our “secular work” and our “”sacred work” as if they were two separate worlds is un-biblical and un-Christian, and un-helpful.
How will you seek to redeem and serve those around you for Gods glory and the good of people? Be faithful and be obedient… Jesus will show you and do much more than you could ever ask or think! Let’s not just talk about the Gospel in the Church, let’s live it out in every avenue of life.