Transforming presence in the work place

By Hiwot Alemayehu

Are you ever frustrated at work? Does it sometimes feel like a waste of time? It is worth remembering how Jesus’s presence can transform situations. As leaders and change facilitators we can learn a lot from his example – it’s a theory of change.

Imagine the scene. People were crowding round Jesus by the edge of the lake. They were jostling him so much that he asked some local fishermen, cleaning their nets by their empty boats, to take him a little way out into the lake. When he finished teaching the crowd he asked Simon to take them out to deeper water and let down the nets. Simon agreed very reluctantly as he’d just spent a fruitless night at work. The nets were suddenly bursting with fish. (Luke 5: 1-11)

In the midst of the noisy crowds pressing in on him, Jesus noticed the empty boats. But perhaps more significantly he noticed ‘empty’ people; normal people with frustrations and questions. He was not afraid of their discouragement and fears. Instead, he asked them to help and gave them directions. As leaders and change agents, do we perceive what really matters or are we overwhelmed by our crowded lives with so much on our lists to do?

As a leader, Jesus spoke and taught. But he did much more. He performed a miracle in the day-to-day work lives of the fisherman. It was an unforgettable moment – an experience of Jesus in their work that transformed them and their whole direction. Jesus first took them deeper in their work, accompanying them into unchartered territory. Then he asked them to obey.

Perhaps sometimes our work seems unproductive because we remain in the shallows; because we try and do things on our own; or simply because we do not listen and obey. To experience Jesus’ transforming presence in our work we may have to go deeper; to suspend our preconceptions about what works; to be obedient to his leading. Ultimately this is more than a theory of change, it’s a theology of change.

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