The 9-to-5 Missionary

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The 9-to-5 Missionary

My name is Alex and I’m a missionary. No, I’m not in a remote jungle. Nor am I in a village. I work for an organization that employs thousands of people, and my desire from day one was to make an impact for the cause of Christ. I would like to share my story with you with the hope that a little part of my history may influence you to be a missionary for Christ where you are. Everyone has been called to be a missionary for Jesus, whether in the actual jungle or the concrete one!

My Background

At the age of 16 I was baptized at a prophecy seminar. Prior to that, I was in the world with aspirations to become a rapper and a street fighter. I had come to a point where things weren’t making sense in my life. I had everything I could want materially, but there seemed to be a hole in my life that I could not fill.

Starting with my friends, I began my search for God. Looking to my Buddhist, Baha’i, and Catholic friends, I searched for answers but was not satisfied. Narrowing my search to Christianity, and even further to Seventh-day Adventism, I started the It Is Written Bible study series. Astonished by the truth I was learning, I made a commitment to God at a prophecy seminar in 2005.

Soon after, an intense desire came over me to spread the gospel. I started sharing all that I had learned with my best friend, a Pentecostal. As he became convicted of the truth, we began to share the good news with our neighbors, classmates, and teachers.

Hoping to become a pastor, and then realizing it was not my calling, was a turning point in the way I viewed evangelism. God closed the doors for me to serve in Adventist institutions in the way that I wanted to serve, and rather opened a door for me to serve Him in a place where I never thought I would find myself.

An Unfortunate Reality

It is unfortunate that we put much of the burden of evangelism on the pastor and elders. Though missionaries in remote lands are doing a mighty work, there are souls in our office buildings who need to hear the same message.

The Bible conveys that we are all called to be lights for Christ regardless of region, profession, or background. All who are in Christ are called to take up the ultimate mission of representing our loving Lord and proclaiming the three angels’ messages to a dying world. Matthew 5:16 tells us to “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (NKJV).

What drew me to the pastoral profession was the potential for evangelism and witnessing. What I eventually realized was that many Bible characters who did tremendous things for God, such as Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah, were not pastors.

One of the paradigm shifts that I have experienced is the understanding that Jesus Himself, for most of His life, was a 9-to-5 worker. Speaking of Jesus, Ellen White states that “He was doing God’s service just as much when laboring at the carpenter’s bench as when working miracles for the multitude” (The Desire of Ages, p. 74).

What encouragement this provides for the 9-to-5 worker! It gives hope to those whose mission field consists of computers and staff meetings. Even this work can be extraordinary if God is in it and directs it. Though we may not see it, many of our coworkers are suffering and could be comforted by Jesus. Who better to introduce the two than the Spirit-filled 9-to-5 missionary?

Tragedy Strikes

One day the unthinkable happened. One of my supervisor’s daughters was kidnapped and murdered. Our hearts ached for him and his family. My coworkers and I rallied around in prayer, and soon a prayer group was formed. We prayed every day for God to help the authorities who were investigating the crime and to place His healing hand upon the victim’s family. It was a gesture the family appreciated.

Even after our coworker’s daughter was found, the prayer group continued to meet. There was a sense of unity that we wanted to carry on. Many people were touched by the prayers offered. Many of the attendees were hurting and suffering and wanted prayers offered up for them and their own families. Ever since then we have been meeting most days for 15 minutes to lift each other in prayer.

To my surprise, a prayer group attendee suggested having an actual Bible study. I was elated. Praise be to God! We added a weekly Bible study to our agenda. After the end of the first Bible study, a friend spoke up and stated that she had been seeking God for five years. She never knew how she would attend a church due to difficulties in her home, but she expressed joy because she felt as though God had brought church to her!

After I completed the Amazing Facts Bible study guides with her, she decided to get baptized. I fondly remember her getting into the baptismal tank with tears in her eyes, and having a look of freedom and relief on her face. She had found her Lord, and she was and is eternally grateful.

Another friend, who was a regular at our prayer and Bible study groups, shared with me her struggles. She expressed that she had issues with money, with her family, and even with her church. One day she was deeply concerned about her spiritual life and the way her church was headed. I shared with her some Bible truths about church and spirituality, and she used these truths to select another church. Though she wasn’t ready to attend an Adventist one, she did pick another church that was more gospel oriented. Sadly, she passed away a month later from a heart attack. Though I was heartbroken, I found joy in her mission to find the truth.

Tips on Being a 9-to-5 Missionary

You may be asking how you can be a 9-to-5 missionary. Perhaps you are tired of a non-vibrant spiritual life, and you want to share Biblical truths with your coworkers. Consider the following four points:

1. Have the vision and pray. What would you like to see happen at your workplace? Do you really have a passion for your colleagues to be in heaven? Are you praying for them? Remember that we can do nothing apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Meaningful devotions each day are critical.

2. Be the example. If we don’t follow Christ’s example, we have no credibility and therefore no appeal. Are we like Jesus when go to work? Are there smiles on our faces? Do we look for ways to make the load easier for others? We have to be careful when witnessing in the workplace. The best way to begin is to be an example, and let people be naturally drawn to the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you.

3. Follow Christ’s method. Consider what Ellen White says in The Ministry of Healing, p. 143: “The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” Follow Christ’s method and His method alone.

4. Watch, pray, and then act. A person once told me to gauge where people are in their spiritual lives through conversation. For instance, if someone asks how your weekend was, say that you attended church on Saturday and completed errands on Sunday. If they pass by the part about church, you know they may not be ready for further spiritual conversation. However, if someone asks why you attend church on Saturday, then you know they are interested.

As colleagues get to know you more, you may have opportunities to offer life-changing answers to their questions. You may even reach a point in your friendship where they would like to have Bible study. It is very important to pray at each step, watch for opportunities, and then act.

May God bless us as we seek to be a light in this world for our loving Lord, Jesus Christ!

 More: Corporate executive David Kim shares how he witnesses in the workplace

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Alex Karras was baptized at age 16, and ever since has had the overwhelming desire to see lost souls enter into the loving arms of Jesus. After studying five years to be a pastor, he recognized his calling was to enter the 9-to-5 world and be a light for the Lord. He is currently a graduate business student and works for a multinational organization in Washington D.C. In his spare time he enjoys spending time outside with his wife and dogs, watching documentaries, and reading.