55: Avoiding gossip at work (2 Timothy 2:23–25)

Scripture Reading2 Timothy 2:23–25

Paul counsels Timothy with a number of exhortations that could directly apply to the workplace. He repeatedly warns Timothy to avoid “wrangling over words” (2 Tim. 2:14), “profane chatter” (2 Tim. 2:16), and “stupid and senseless controversies” (2 Tim. 2:23). This is a good reminder for Christian workers that not all talk at the water cooler is profitable, even if it is not downright evil. Are the con­versations we engage in and the ways we speak helpful to those around us? Do our words serve the causes of reconciliation and redemption?

The most important form of witness to Jesus is the way Christians talk with co-workers when we’re not talking about Jesus. Three words of gossip may destroy three thousand words of praise and piety. Christians who consistently encourage, appreciate, respect, and dem­onstrate care by their words are a powerful witness for Jesus, even if their words are seldom directly about him. Humility and strictly avoiding judgmentalism are the surest ways to avoid unnecessary and senseless controversies. As Paul tells Timothy, “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness” (2 Tim. 2:24–25a). Indeed, much of the portrait Paul sketches of Timothy in this letter could be held up as something for Christian workers to strive toward.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve engaged in gossip, profane chatter, or senseless controversies, especially at work. Turn my heart to embrace humility and grace. I pray that my words would consistently encourage and show kindness, appreciation, respect and care. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read 2 Timothy: Encouragement for a Faithful Worker from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.

Author: Theology of Work Project

Theology of Work Project Online Materials by Theology of Work Project, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work), and remix (to adapt the work) for non-commercial use only, under the condition that you must attribute the work to the Theology of Work Project, Inc., but not in any way that suggests that it endorses you or your use of the work.

© 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc.

Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.