Its Off to Work We Go

I’ve been working with the U.S Army quite a bit this past month assisting with training for our Homeland Response forces. These soldiers could be providing assistance to a community or region affected by a terrorist event or a natural disaster. They could be working for a Mayor, County Commission or a Governor. Their mission is designed so that it doesn’t matter who they report to, but that they consistently execute their missions. I wrote a post in February of 2012 called “Who are you working for?”. We often hear the phrase in response, “working for the man” when people describe their jobs. Do you know who you are working for?

I’d like to suggest that you consider yourself working as though you are working for God or Jesus Christ and that God shows through in everything that you do. If you had to go to work for God everyday, I bet you would approach your work much differently than you do today. Change your outlook, do your best at all times and at the end of each day pause, close your eyes, tilt your head towards heaven and imagine God’s smile and a wink. You’ve done a good job today!

Colossians 3:23-24 “What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

 Do your friends and family ever wonder why you work so hard or have the patience that you do for your work? The “man” doesn’t care how hard you work, just that you keep showing up, keep your mouth shut and do your job. Working for the “man” is what many people feel destined to do. But the “man” in Paul’s letter is the Lord! Feels different now doesn’t it? We are a reflection of the goodness of God and all that Jesus Christ taught us about living our lives. He didn’t say, “go and work just for yourselves and leave the others to suffer”.

Jesus taught us to care for each for other and give willingly. While many of us do just that, we know how hard it can be at times. We do a good job and are thankful for the opportunity to serve others. God’s plan for us includes using us as examples for others to see His goodness. When you smile at or encourage someone at work, you are reflecting God’s goodness. When you continue to work hard when everyone else is taking advantage of the workplace, you are reflecting God’s goodness. When you un-jam the copier after someone else walked away from it, you are reflecting God’s goodness. We can see God’s goodness if we just look for it – its everywhere. It is the Lord you are serving, do it with all of your heart!

 

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We reap what we sow

I’m in Washington DC this week to learn new techniques for governance and to work on Capital Hill with our Congressmen on issues that connect with our city. Tomorrow, the President will address the National League of Cities attendees, I’m sure, to express how important cities and towns are to America. We’ll be meeting with Senators McCain and Flake on Wednesday before we head home. Today, as we walked around the US Capital I said, “There are 535 Congressmen and thousands of staff people working here and nothing gets done”. It’s funny, only because it’s true. I walk around this town and can’t help but think of all of the wasted effort that has gone on for the past six years. Back home in Arizona, our legislature and Governor reached a budget deal that they have been working on for days – behind closed doors. It was finally released to the public on Friday and will probably be voted on by Wednesday this week. Its a budget that defunds education and increases prison spending – welcome to Arizona!

The whole concept of politics is starting to feel disgusting to me. My wife told someone tonight that if you want to insult me, call me a politician. It’s true. Why do we do the things that we do? Why are you doing the things that you are right now and who are you serving when you do them? I serve as an elected council member to serve my community and hopefully make a difference. I see others who serve in these capacities simply to feed their own egos. I was asked earlier this week why I’m not on twitter and my response was, “I don’t think that I’m so interesting that people will want to follow me”. I believe that I’m simply a servant. My work on this blog is about serving God and bringing the Word to the world. So, back to my questions – why are you doing what you do and who do you do it for? It’s okay to work to support yourself and to have fun. Some fundamentalists don’t want you to know that it’s okay to have fun but it is. You will reap what you sow; let it be something good.

8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction: whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:8

As I look around Washington DC, I feel the sense of pleasing the flesh. In other bible versions of this verse, “the flesh” is replaced with “sinful spirit” and right now, that’s a better description of politics in Washington DC. What part of your sinful nature is driving your decision-making? We are all guilty of sin and will pay the price with our death. This verse reminds us that if we are pleasing ourselves, we will pay reap destruction (earthly death). However, if we are reaping to please God, we will be rewarded with eternal life; an eternal life found through the sacrifice of Jesus. Galatians 6:10 tells us exactly how to live our lives – “10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Serve God and His people but also serve others (do good to ALL people). There are no politics in that statement, there is no spin and there are no favors, its simple – do good! Our reward for working hard, getting shot down and working hard again is our eternal life with God the Father. God did not give us a pass or any vacation days from being His children nor does He deduct from us our sins that guaranteed our salvation through Jesus Christ.

“Take one for the Emperor”

I just returned this week from participating in an U.S Army “ROC Drill’ or Rehearsal of Concept” drill with the Nation’s Joint Task Force-Civil Support Command. A ROC drill is where they review deployment, employment and re-deployment maneuvers for an upcoming mission, which in this case is the National Level Exercise “Vibrant Response”. This is a month long (+/-) exercise that tests the military response to a major event on U.S. soil. I wrote extensively about this last year in blogs under “First Alarm” on this site. The best way to exercise the entire Command is to use the worst-case scenario of all worst cases – a nuclear device detonation. Major General Mathis, the Commander of the Joint Task Force, which is comprised of approximately 5500 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen took the idea of “service to others” to whole new level with his phrase “at some point, someone is going to have to take one for the Emperor”. He was referencing the Fukushima nuclear reactor failure in Japan several years ago when someone or many would “have to take one for the Emperor” and despite the danger, go into the radioactive area to obtain the data needed to make critical decisions. Brave men from the Japanese Army entered the lethal area to get the information they needed to start the containment process – they did it at the request of the Emperor. If we had a real-world nuclear detonation in this country, we would be asking our military to do the same. It really made it clear to me that none of us really understand how to serve others when you compare it to acts like “taking one for the Emperor”.

To bring this back into our daily reality, we have public safety personnel risking themselves everyday for our safety not to mention all of the “troops” dedicated to protecting us world-wide. What about the average person? What kind of service to others do we do? Sure, some of us “serve” others in our jobs while some think that “I just work”. I’d suggest that there is no such thing as “just work”, every day we do/can serve others; its all in how we perceive it or our attitude toward it. Each one of us is important in our own way and we should never forget that. Reacting to the “Good Morning” sent your way by the always happy co-worker with a smile instead of a grunt turns your attitude toward serving others simply by returning the positive back to them. We spend a lot more of our day serving others and much of time we don’t realize it.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

There have books written on Jesus’ servant leadership – besides the Bible. Jesus came to us to: teach, lead, and provide an example of how to live but most of all, He came to serve us. He gave Himself for us so that we can all have eternal life with God our Father through Him. His service is even greater than “taking one for the Emperor”. On the last night before Supper, Jesus took the time to wash the feet of His disciples in what many believe to the greatest show of being a servant. The night before He would be turned over to start the process of a long death, Jesus washed feet. Serving His fellow man was important and while the disciples didn’t know what was coming, Jesus did. He knew that continuing His life of service was important to His mission and ironically, it’s a message that still continues to resonate 2000 years later. People remember the little things like washing feet before they talk about ALL of the other things He did. We aren’t much different. People will remember the little things you do for them before they remember the one or two big ones. Go out with the intent to serve others; pick up that piece of parking lot trash instead of stepping over it. When a co-worker looks stressed, help them with something small like a coffee refill or an offer to assist with something small. Sometimes it’s just the timing of a smile that can make all the difference in the world. Please pray for those who work everyday to safe guard us and be comforted by the knowledge that there are people who are willing to “take one for the Emperor” for you.