It’s almost RUOK? Day again (September 9). And perhaps this year more than others, the day will take on particular importance. More than ever, especially in those states enduring long lockdowns, people are likely to not be OK … and perhaps more willing to admit it.
As a Christian I love the RUOK? Day movement.
Which is why as a Christian, I love the RUOK? Day movement. An initiative that encourages us to be a bit more vulnerable with our colleagues and reach out to ensure that they are coping is to be commended. It’s also why I hope that this year especially, Christians around the country will take advantage of the rare opportunity this day provides.
Why is that? So often we’d love to go deeper in our conversations with colleagues—to the bigger questions of life and faith—but the normal culture of our workplaces discourages this. RUOK? Day gives us permission to do just that! Indeed the official RUOK Day? website invites us each to become an “RUOK? Workplace Champion” by taking the initiative to plan activities for the day, and who leads by example—being the one who:
Asks, Listens, Encourages Action, and Checks In
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Christians across Australia being ‘Workplace Champions’
This is of course all fairly common sense, and yet it is often counter-cultural behaviour in the workplace. We are not ordinarily encouraged to open up and be vulnerable in such environments. But in light of the last 12-18 months—and especially in light of the permission this day gives us—wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a movement of Christians across Australia being “Workplace Champions”, and leading the way in reaching out to ask personal questions of their colleagues (and being vulnerable in return). Who knows where such conversations could go, but there is every possibility they might lead to us having the opportunity to give “the reason for the hope that we have” (1 Pet 3:15) in this season—despite our own struggles with it.
Because, as well as sharing our hope, the Christian faith encourages us to be vulnerable; to be honest and open about our weaknesses. And it’s as we do this that Christ’s strength is seen more clearly in our clay-pot lives (2 Cor 4:7-12). We should be quick to “boast” to our colleagues about our weaknesses so that Christ’s power is able to be seen even more clearly in our lives (2 Cor 11:30, 12:1-10).
But let’s not contain this kind of practice to RUOK Day? In his excellent course Sharing Jesus at Work, author and evangelist Dr Sam Chan encourages us to become not “Workplace Champions” but unofficial workplace chaplains. Each of us should seek to become known as the person in our workplace who is safe to open up to about the deeper, more challenging, aspects of life that inevitably all come our way. We become this by being just the kind of person RUOK? Day encourages us to be: by asking our colleagues how they are going; by genuinely listening, and remembering to follow-up what they have shared with us on a later occasion. And we might add that, in addition to genuinely asking—and listening to, and following up our colleagues—we might also then offer to pray for them.
So let’s take the opportunity RUOK Day? provides to ask our colleagues how they are really going. Let’s try to be RUOK? “Workplace Champions”. But let’s also keep it going beyond the day as we seek to genuinely love our colleagues; enquire about their well-being and listen to how they are going. Let’s be people who are known for following others up; let’s try to become unofficial chaplains in our workplaces.
First published at citybibleforum.org