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how-to-be-a-christian-at-workTalking over this idea of persecution with my co-author, he points out something which seems so obvious, until you forget we often forget it – and that is that witness to Christ begins with us.

That’s a bit scary. As I said to him, “Me, oh goodness, well there’s no hope. I’m no use as a role model.” But as he pointed out to me, I can’t get out of it that easily. So we went through it, and I want to share it here and see what you all think.

The point he made to me was that it was not the big things, but the little ones which mattered. If I am rude to someone, if I don’t do my work with the dedication I should, if I am slovenly or sloppy in the way I behave, then I just failed to witness to my faith. Not, to be sure, as much as if I were to run off with another man, or to take to drink or something really terrible, but since most people don’t do those things all the time, it is the daily drip-feed that matters. So, when I ask what I can do to witness to Christ, the answer is simply to do my duty as I ought.

Put like that it didn’t sound very much, indeed, compared to the deeds of the martyrs it sounded nothing. But as he asked me, did I really want to be a martyr? “Such testings”, he said, “are not to be sought after.” And of course, as ever, he was right. I have no idea what I’d do if really tested – and frankly I’d rather not find out.

Newman’s great friend and exemplar, the saintly John Keble, knew this, and put it best of all in a hymn I have always loved:

The trivial round, the common task,Would furnish all we ought to ask; Room to deny ourselves; a road To bring us, daily, nearer God. 

Do we, do I, take those opportunities?

Very often we voice the complaint that secularists seem to think we should keep our Faith as a private matter; but is that not just what many of us do in real life? However much we complain about secularists, how often do I, me, personally, live as though my Faith was something for one day a week?

There is a sense in which I began this blog because I wanted to do more than simply pray every morning and evening and read my Bible. They are good things to do, and they are at the heart of my life, but they are a private witness. Here, I have to make my thoughts public and to witness to what I believe. The joy that there are others who respond is the great and unexpected pleasure. But might the same not be true if I were to bear more witness in my daily life?

If I just get on with things and try to bear witness through my actions, that may be worth more than any number of words. As my co-author said: “Remember, that if people know you are a Christian, they will expect more of you. Give it.” There’s a challenge.