Right around the time I started taking some proactive steps toward growing in my faith, something struck me about my lifestyle that made me want to reassess how I spent some of my free time. Midway through the first semester of my junior year at college, I came to the realization that I had planted myself firmly in the middle of the Christian subculture that existed at my school. Quite literally, all of my close friends were Christians. And, deep down, I knew there was something wrong with that. I knew I needed more motivation to be connected with people who wouldn’t call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.
The truth was, however, that I was surrounded by non-believers all the time every day on campus. I ate meals on campus with them, I was in a study group or two with them, and I even sat next to them every day in classes. So why wouldn’t I call any of the people I interacted with outside my Christian world a true friend?
I wondered what I could do to be more intentional about reaching out to the non-Christians in my life who were already in my natural circle of influence. Then it hit me.
“I’ll get a job,” I thought. “That’s what I’ll do! I’ll get a job. A job would give me an ongoing opportunity to show the people I work with that God loves them. Face-to-face interaction with people who don’t know what it means to have a personal relationship with God would provide me with the ministry to reach out to others and not be so firmly entrenched in my Christian bubble.”
The only thing left to do was to find out where that job should be. It made sense to seek employment at a place that was close by, so I chose a job on campus. And while I was working, I might as well choose a place that made delicious food for the masses, right? Naturally, my quest brought me to the home of the chicken sandwich paired so perfectly with the tasty waffle fry: Chick-Fil-A.
I applied, was accepted, and began working within a week of making my decision.
Now, I don’t want to fool you into thinking that I spent all of my spare time with my coworkers from that point on, because I didn’t. I still went to social events put on by our Cru movement and attended spontaneous get-togethers with my closest Christian friends. I continued to place a high value on fellowship with other believers.
What I did do differently, though, was think more intentionally about how I could show my coworkers what it meant to follow Jesus. In turn, that presented me with the opportunity to be a designated driver for a few of their parties (which, admittedly, were a lot of fun). I went to a few of their sporting events (which were kind of boring). And I even attended a fashion show one of my coworkers organized as a class assignment (I refuse to comment about my feelings on that at this time).
I developed relationships with my coworkers and, honestly, going to work for two days a week became one my favorite parts of college. When we’d talk at work, people would remember me driving them around on Saturday night (which was a bit of a surprise, knowing how much alcohol they had consumed). They would thank me for coming to their games and cheering them on. They loved that I was a normal person who cared about them, but most importantly, they knew where I stood when it came to my faith.
I shared the gospel with quite a few of my fellow Chick-Fil-A employees in my time working there. None of them ever expressed any real interest in Christ or desire for a personal relationship with Him. None of them ever came out to something that I was doing on campus with Cru or expressed interest in digging deeper into their spiritual journey. Sure, that made me sad and even frustrated with why God had placed me there for the last two years of my college experience.
But I know that regardless of what happened (or didn’t happen) back when we were students, they were able to see a Christian who cared about them, loved on them, and stood up for his beliefs when tested. I believe God used me to lay the groundwork in some of their lives for what He would do at a later time. In other words, I was able to plant and water some spiritual seeds.
I didn’t see any fruit, but I’m thankful I was there. Plus I got one free chicken sandwich for every shift I worked. I’d call that a win-win.