Charlie's Story – App Developer
“I don’t know necessarily if this job is my calling, but I know that God is working together for good. I see that in my relationships with my coworkers,” says Charlie. Charlie is an app developer working in a university town.
Most of the time, software developers are under a ton of pressure at work. Design sprints take place every two weeks, meaning the demand for app updates, improvements, and changes to projects is unending. The stress that teams experience daily can make it hard not to prioritize work above all else. Even Charlie admits that he tends to zero in on the work at hand, rather than pay attention to the other members of his team.
Charlie enjoys his job but knows that he must approach his work differently as a Jesus follower. What does this look like? For him, it means shifting priorities. Rather than work being his only focus at the office, he decided to intentionally pay attention to the relationships around him.
“Because if you care about your boss,” Charlie explains, “then you’re not going to just slack off and not work. And if relationships come first, it’s easier to care about your coworkers.”
Charlie describes this perspective shift as having a “kingdom mindset.” In other words, it means paying attention to those he works with and around, even when his to-do list is long or he’s feeling worn out from the daily grind.
It’s a people-first rather than project-first approach to his work and team. Because of this shift in mindset, Charlie recalls an opportunity that God orchestrated for him to speak into the life of one of his colleagues.
Sharing an office with a colleague visiting from China presented a natural setting for Charlie to live out this relationships-first mindset. Throughout the day, conversations would pop up about anything and everything: from chatting about work-specific details to discussing Chinese politics.
“Having that kingdom-focused mindset meant engaging in conversations and caring about what he cared about,” Charlie shares. “(It meant) trying to be a friend.”
And on his colleague’s very last day before returning to China, those small acts of investing in the relationship day-to-day paid off. For three hours, Charlie answered questions about the existence of God.
“By me caring for him and caring about what mattered to him and choosing to listen to him – even on the busy days– (it) opened up the opportunity for that faith conversation. I’m still praying for him,” Charlie says.
So, how can we start shifting our priorities from all work, all the time, to pay attention to the people we work with? For Charlie, it starts with focusing on and prioritizing our personal relationship with God.
“If (our relationship with God) is deep and something we treasure and value, then we naturally want to share it with our friends. And if we care about our work relationships, then they become friends and we will want to share that part of our lives with them too.”
Long-term, Charlie doesn’t know where exactly his career will lead, but for now, God’s placed him in this job, on this team, and in this city for a reason. “I see God using this work opportunity for as long as I’m leaning into what God has for me,” he says.
So, what about you? Are you feeling worn out by the endless cycle of stress at your work? Are you looking for something more? Start by asking God to change how you view the people you work with every day. Does someone, in particular, come to mind? What small steps can you take to invest in that person? Because just like Charlie – God has purposely placed you in your job, on your team, and in your city.
How can you live kingdom-minded in your workplace today?
Scatter Stories is a monthly series spotlighting how God is using everyday people in everyday jobs around the world for His kingdom.