Blog - Embodying Truth

Child of God: Family Resemblance

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My birth certificate says I was born "Larry.” But when I was a preschooler, those who knew our family often called me "little George.” They did that because they thought I looked like "big” George, my Dad. Even today we can see the family resemblance in our children and grandchildren.

Those in our work circles should be able to see the family resemblance in those of us who follow Jesus. This likeness, of course, shows not in facial features but in actions and attitudes and accents. To represent God’s family on the job, we need to be clear about who we are. Recent blogs here have described several biblical identities. Rather than "laypersons” (a label with no New Testament backing), we go to work as lights, branches, priests, and seed.

The New Testament also identifies us as "children of God” nine times (NIV) and "sons of God” a few more. Jesus, who taught us to call God "Daddy” (Abba), calls us his "brothers” (see Heb. 2:11). So as you and I take our places among coworkers, we are to do so as those who remind others of our Father and Brother.

Satan strategizes to get us to forget who we are on the job. After hauling Daniel off to Babylon, the pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, renamed him Belteshazzar after the false god Bel (Baal). Today, the work world pressures believers with all sorts of false identities. In interviews for his book, Working, Studs Terkel heard many of them. One of the most frequent: they—companies, unions, supervisors—treat us like we’re just machines.

As a child of God, of course, you are not simply a unit of production or a cog in some corporate apparatus to rake in money. Because your Father God is Light (I Jn. 1:5), you are a child of light (Eph. 5:8). God has deliberately sent you into a workplace and among coworkers where darkness still blinds hearts and confuses priorities.

Whether that be a factory, field, hospital, office, school, or shop, it is precisely there, in that place, that we Christ-followers are to "become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life . . . .” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Daniel became blameless and pure, because he never forgot who he was on the job. In spite of the new identity foisted on him by the king, he knew himself as "Daniel” (God is my Judge). His most malicious coworkers tried to dig up dirt on Daniel. But "they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Dan. 6:4).

Nora Watson told Studs Terkel, ". . . nobody pays you for being you. . . .” While it won’t pad the paycheck, let your family resemblance show through on the job. Even in the workplace setting, be who you are.

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