“You are a flower with such a sweet, wonderful fragrance! I bet that’s how people feel when they see you in the workplace,” my friend exuberantly proclaimed. While I appreciated her sincere compliment, I cringed inside knowing it wasn’t always true.
Confessing to her that I’d encountered plenty of people in my workplace that found me anything but a flower wasn’t easy. My experience has always been that some people don’t like happy, positive people. My guess is that people who feel poorly about themselves are the people who most frequently react negatively when my gregarious personality comes on the scene. As I talked to my friend, I thought of negative coworkers as being like weeds in the garden of work.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Thinking of a particular coworker who was reacting negatively towards me, knowing that everyone does not know God, I thought to ask my friend to pray. Prayer is always the right answer in every work predicament, just as it is in every life situation. I asked her to pray that I would have compassion for those who don’t know Christ. It seemed certain to me those appearing so overwhelmed with negativity must not have a relationship with Him.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul talks about the aroma of the Christian when he wrote:
To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 2 Corinthians 2:16
While weeds in a garden attempt to choke the life out of the healthy plants, flowers should breed life, demonstrating peace, love, and joy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. . . Galatians 5:22-23
As a Christian, I bring that certain fragrance to my workplace— it is something that not everyone will like. Accepting this can be hard. Like Paul asks, who is up to the task? I must strive to be a Christ-like presence in the face of negativity and adversity.
Bloom where the Lord has planted you—bloom for Him. Stand firm in His glory and don’t let the negativity of others cause you to wilt.
God is with you. Love is walking in the garden with you.
Taken from Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement for the Workplace by Shari Harris – Copyright © 2011 Shari J. Harris – Used with Permission
Shari is currently serving as a Hospice Chaplain at Olive Grove Hospice. Shari is a certified coach who lends a blend of business and ministry experience to her every endeavor. God has given her a passion to encourage people to integrate work and faith. You can learn more about her book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement on her website: www.sharjharris.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org