I’m a Department Director at my job. I have been there almost two years. I have 15 employees under me. I have some influence over my employees since I am their manager and they really esteem how I’ve handled the department. Praise God!
Just as many Adventists in the workplace, I am often looked at as either odd or extreme because I follow a special diet, in my case Vegan. There have been many comments directed at me because of this, but most of them are humorous and I take them as such.
I have been encouraging my employees to lead healthier lifestyles in general. I have lent out the DVD “Forks Over Knives” to each one of them. I’ve also given several employees books on health and nutrition by Seventh-day Adventist authors. One lady who had been struggling with Weight issues had been telling me that the book I gave her quoted several bible verses on the importance of eating a plant based diet. It was amazing how she was quoting the verses out loud, without me referencing them or explaining them to her. When I began explaining to her how to gradually lose weight over time by making lifestyle changes she eventually bought into it and lost 60 lbs total. Isn’t that wonderful?
The other day, for the first time, we all went out to eat together to a local restaurant. Obviously my menu choices would be limited so I was careful with what I selected. Once we ordered, the waitress brought our meals. As we were getting ready to eat, my mind quickly thought what if I “forced” everyone to bless the food before we ate. (It would be more of a friendly suggestion of course). For a split moment I hesitated with my suggestion because I didn’t want this to be a case where an employee felt obligated to pray before a meal just because their manager directly above them suggested it. I also remembered that we had an employee that stated that he wasn’t very fond of religion and he didn’t really like talking about anything religious or spiritual at work, he liked to keep those two things separate. I had to be real careful how I came across to him. Further, I wanted to make sure I was abiding by workplace rules. So, as you can see, all these thoughts were racing through my mind.
With all that considered, I took a chance. I felt we were not technically inside our workplace, we were at a restaurant, so I suggested we pray/bless the meal before we ate. The minute I verbally suggested blessing our meal there was mere silence for about 2 seconds as everyone looked at each other. Then, my coworker sitting immediately to my right, said “Of course, we can all bless the food”. The same guy I had been praying for since he had been going through marital struggles. I let out a sigh! Isn’t that wonderful?
How did this open doors?
That one act of blessing the food in front of and with my employees really opened the doors for me to start speaking individually with several team members about spiritual matters in their life. It has been a great opportunity since some of them have confided in me of personal struggles.
I plan on bringing some of them to future church events that I feel would interest them.
I pray for them all, but especially for an intellectually bright individual who is an excellent moral person but who’s had his shares of challenges in his life and expresses no interest in religious or spiritual matters. I know that at some point God will provide the way for either myself or another person to reach out to him.
I continue to pray that God opens up opportunities for me to talk with all employees individually.
On another note, isn’t it wonderful how all these people are willing to change their lifestyle little by little? The entire facility at work is catching on to the whole healthy lifestyle meals and living. Several weeks ago my entire staff, including myself prepared a Vegan/Vegetarian meal for the Facility Administration. Not only did the Administrative staff love the meals, they asked for recipes and wanted to know when we could do it again.
Praise God for opportunities that he is providing. Apparently God had been working on hearts before I was ever employed there. This experience also reminded me how we’re being watched wherever we are. What is our witness saying about us? Are we being positive Christian examples whereever we are?
A Richardson Seventh-day Adventist Church Member.