I traveled halfway around the world to take a job with a high-end company in the Middle East that I had long dreamed about. I thought I could juggle the challenges. I was a good worker; I felt I could have a positive influence without unsettling everyone about my peculiar faith.
At work I met other Christians who were also far from home. (We kind of know how to find each other!) I was glad to meet friends; I thought I had a lot in common with them. But I began to feel uneasy.
I watched as their lives, pushed by loneliness and with no focus to guide them, drifted into a world with far different values than I knew I'd been given. I slowly began to realize that being a Christian by name only and floating along with the group would undo everything I once professed.
I remember thinking, “If I don’t stop and choose what I believe, and plan how I will live my faith, I will turn into whatever is around me.”
So, intentionality in my workplace began by asking for Sabbath off.
Like others have experienced, as soon as my coworkers learned I wasn’t exactly like them, I knew I needed to be intentional about everything I did: How I explained my faith, what kind of friend I was, the attitudes I expressed, my work habits, my appearance. That one decision turned me around and gave my whole life focus.
I don't know where I'd be now without that one crucial decision to honor the Sabbath. But I know an honest witness has to be more than a title. It has to be my life. --JT
When one works with intentionality everything he does has a purpose. It is not enough to just drift through life and react to what comes one's way. Intentional people choose their actions to accomplish their goals. To make sure they stay on goals, they hold themselves accountable for living purposefully.
Intentionality creates a lifestyle they are free to pursue in all their everyday activities. They are committed to making a difference in the lives of those around them on behalf of God’s love.
To be intentional is to have a purpose, a plan, a process and to be accountable for the results. People who live intentionally are deliberate about their calendar, their actions, their relationships and their lifestyle.
When one lives with intentionality he doesn’t add more activities to his calendar. Instead, he makes sure that the things he does in his daily routine provides opportunities to live fully who he is and what he can share to uplift others.
The intentional tentmaker asks, “What if God gave me a way to see everything in life as an opportunity for discipleship and mission?” Well, He has! And it’s found in the rhythm of life God has placed you in.
For some practical examples:
- You work with the same people day in and day out. Do you know them personally, their challenges, their families? How can you support them and encourage them?
- You eat three times a day. Make a point of eating with those outside your social circle or comfort level and build relationships with them.
- Every culture, every family observes celebrations. Participate in the festivals and celebrations that are part of their routine life. The ones you choose depend on the culture you are in and the people you want to intentionally influence for God.
- Listen to those around you. How can you intentionally become a part of their world, and share hope and love with them?
- Listen to God. He is intentional about where He has placed you in your neighborhood, your workplace, and He knows those around you whose hearts can be influenced for Him.
The principle of intentionality applies to all of life if we want to live meaningfully, purposefully. But the most important INTENT is to live under God’s intentions and to fulfill His plans.
Adapted from TENTMAKING BRIEFS, http:/globalopps.org/tentmaking-briefs-2/