Social Justice at Work: 5 Ways to Serve the Least of These

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Tim Miller 2010 08 21 Trekabout Photowalk 480x300

Immediately after I hear—through a hashtag on Twitter--about the hundreds of girls who were stolen from their school in Nigeria, I dive into an online search and devour every article and video clip I can find on the unspeakable kidnapping.

The images haunt me. I feel hot and shaky, and I start to cry a silent cry, which gets stuck in my throat. I read about the kidnappers’ plan to sell the abducted girls, and feel a strange mixture of thankfulness and guilt because my own daughters are sleeping safely in their bedroom.

I wake up my girls. We eat bagels and talk about homework, and I drop them off at school before driving to work. While I’m there, job responsibilities overtake my thoughts, and I don’t think about the abducted girls again until I’m driving home.

For the first time in mankind’s history, we have front row seats to the world’s struggles. With one click, you and I have twenty-four hour access to almost any injustice another human faces.

However, we walk away from online peeks into pockets of injustice and walk into our jobs, where parent meetings, staff trainings, and unsent faxes overtake our thinking.

Still, though the “least of these” fade from our thoughts, their needs remain. And whether we file taxes or traffic tickets, there are numerous ways to keep social justice related issues at the forefront of our minds, even when we are at work.

Consider these five ideas:

Fundraise in a creative way. Wearing jeans to work is the ultimate weekday indulgence, but alas, jeans are not allowed at my workplace. However, twice a month, for $3.00, my employees and I can buy a jeans pass. Money obtained through Jeans Days (which totals over $300.00 a month) goes to help fund field trips or buy school supplies for local at-risk youth.

Serve others together. Instead of dressing up and attending another Christmas party with appetizer in hand (yawn), schedule a time for you and your fellow employees to serve a meal together at a local shelter. If it’s successful, repeat the project every so often. Meaningful service creates lasting changes in those you serve--and those who serve.

My neighbor, Tammy, works with a group of people who barely tolerate one another. One day, Tammy decided to ask a coworker to participate in a fundraising walk for a local woman with cancer. The coworker agreed and asked another coworker, who asked another coworker, etc. Soon, the entire bank had something to talk about besides each other. The walk helped a suffering single mom, created camaraderie among bank employees, and generated positive community relations.

Volunteer to share your skills in a local classroom. You don’t need a teaching degree to share about job and life skills in a classroom. Programs such as Junior Achievement encourage companies to recruit employees to teach pre-made curriculum in the classroom.

Listen to the needs of your coworkers. Because we see our coworkers every day, and their needs aren’t broadcast through a two-minute video with a moving call to action, we often forget to be attentive to the hurts around us. Make time for interruptions and time to listen to the hearts of those who line your life.

Make a place for the marginalized. Why not encourage your business to train or even hire someone who is trying to enter (or reenter) the work place? Is there a place at your company for people with disabilities, the elderly, or people in transition? If not, consider ways to include them.

Have you discovered ways to care for the least of these at your workplace? How did your efforts go? Share your ideas with us, below in the comment section.


Social Justice at Work

When God asks us to take care of the orphan, widow, and the poor, what does that mean for our workplaces? How do we follow a social justice mandate in our offices, schools, warehouses and retail establishments? And how does it change our world when social justice works the way God intended?

In the series Social Justice at Work, The High Calling explores social justice in the places we work and the ways we work. Join us as we discuss how our calling to the "least of these" affects us outwardly in our jobs, and inwardly as we perform our jobs, via theme-related Bible reflections, featured articles, and discussion starters. We encourage you to add your questions, concerns and comments, engage with us on social media (especially Twitter and Facebook), and invite your friends and colleagues to do the same.

Featured Image by Tim Miller. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.