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!

 

Advertisements

“Work’n for a Living”

The work you do, no matter what it is, can bring glory to God. The actions that you take (or don’t take) can bring glory to God. Some people have had opportunities open that put them in the right place at the right time – in our house we call that a “God thing”. God can guide your path by offering you choices that can lead to your calling. Some people will search their whole lives for a calling, while others know they are in it. The choices that we make can influence how quickly we find our calling. Moving into any role takes just the right combination of education and experience, planned by God of course. It can be a calling that allows you to glorify God; if you want to see it that way.

Today is Labor Day in the United States; a day that we celebrate the American Worker. People often times find themselves simply working a job but God wants us to be in a calling. There are times when our work can be frustrating and we’d like to “just do our job and be done”. That isn’t what God called you to do. Your life at work and at home will influence what type of person you are. Take notice of what you do, read, view and spend time doing and you’ll see that it’s reflected in your work and your personal behaviors. Your work influences your life, be sure that it means something more that collecting a paycheck. If it doesn’t, change your point of view or your position. You will labor less at work and your life will improve.

Ephesians 4:1 “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

“Live a Godly Life” is great advice and probably one of the hardest things that we, as sinners, can follow completely. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. By being nurturing, forgiving, understanding, slow to anger, patient, honest, trustworthy and caring is how we start. These characteristics will help us at work and honor God by living our lives that please Him.

You have received two callings in your life, both from God, one to love others and the other is to do it as a disciple of God. Live your life in a way worthy of God’s grace through His son Jesus, who taught us how to live a life of calling. You can be assured that every action you take will be pleasing to God if you are following the examples set by Jesus. No amount of good deeds or works will get closer to God or secure you a more righteous place in Heaven. We often ask ourselves as we toil in our jobs, what are we working for? If we are working in a calling, the answer is Eternal Life and Salvation found through Jesus Christ alone. He did the hard work for us by taking our sin upon Himself. The least we can do is live a life worthy of our calling.

A gift from God

Happy Labor Day! This is the day that usually marks the end of summer for most of the United States, except in Arizona. We will continue to have summer weather for at least the next 45 days. The forecasted high for today is 107 but dropping to 104 by Friday. We are celebrating the holiday weekend, never the less, with a traditional barbeque and an extra day to just hang out. For us, that usually means more homework or getting to the things that we didn’t do all weekend – they don’t call it Labor Day for nothing! While it’s easy to complain about the extra work around the house, this holiday does represent a celebration of us, the workers of the world. We are given the opportunity to use our talents, skills and abilities to make a difference for someone. In exchange, we are paid for our work. Granted, some are paid more than others but we are able to provide for ourselves. Each of us has special talents that we can use to make a difference for someone. Restaurant staffs make a difference for their customers, accountants provide a service and peace of mind to their clients, the grocery clerk who bags our purchase and so on; everyone makes a difference. If you think your labor is a waste, stop and consider whom you make a difference for. We all have our specific jobs, at this specific time and for a specific reason that we simply don’t understand. So what should we do? I’d suggest that you enjoy your time and learn how you make a difference in everything you do. The word LABOR means that it is supposed to be hard but it doesn’t mean that it is without purpose. Enjoy the holiday and look forward to the changing seasons that are coming – even to us in Arizona.

“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work- this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

I’m reminded of the old expression “a gift from God” with this verse. Our human nature is to think that we’re responsible for all the things that we’ve done. “It was me who…” is how we start our sentences when describing an accomplishment. We often think of ourselves when it’s something great but we blame God when its something less desirable. Why did God give me this disease? Why did God let me get fired from my job? We forget that God gives us ALL things; the good and the bad. He put the right people in our lives so that we met the manager who was looking for a new employee and we landed that awesome new job. God gives us what we can handle – not too little and not too much. God also wants us to be happy with what He has given us. He doesn’t want us being envious of the new car that our neighbor just got. He doesn’t want us to be angry when we are passed over for promotion. He wants us to accept what we have (be content) and be happy. It is ALL a gift from God and that is something to be thankful for. Everything, good and bad, is a gift from God. We are supposed to learn from the bad and model God’s grace for others. We are supposed to share the good with others too. God loves a cheerful giver but it’s not always money we need to give. God has blessed each of with talents and those should be shared too. Work should be less about labor and more about celebrating the gift of opportunity from God. Go out and continue to make a difference.

The work out

Nothing like being twelve plus hours late in getting a weekly blog post out! For now in only the second time, I’m late in getting this out. The “holiday” weekend threw me off cycle; I thought I still had a day to go. In any event, I was moved this week following a bible study at church to write about working out. While I wish I could give great fitness advice, I’m not doing that here. We all use the phrase “work out” in a coupe of ways: “I hope this works out”, “I will make it work out”, “I’m headed to the gym to work out” and “can’t we work this out”. Each one of these phrases has a slightly different meaning. At work, we all try our hardest to be the best that we can; some days are better than others. When our motivation is low, it takes everything that we have to “make it work” or simply “make work.” The word WORK for some has become a four-letter word. The number of people who hate their jobs is high, the number of people looking for jobs is high and the number of people retiring from jobs is high (I skipped any Colorado reference here). I read that the number of people quitting their jobs is a good sign of the economy improving; who knew? Most people simply want their “work” to be satisfying and others simply want to find some work. No matter your desire, working, while highly overrated, is still a critical part of our lives. How we behave, what we say/do, how we work, will all say a lot about our character. It’s not the work it’s self, it’s how we approach the work. No matter what you do, you are still important to the people around you and the people at home. While we would all love to sit home and have good money deposited into our checking accounts each payday, most of us have to “work” for a living. Our work however doesn’t have to be a four-letter word, no one makes us miserable, we simply let them make us that way. Take control and work hard for yourself; besides you never know who’s watching.

12”…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  Philippians 2:12-13

There is often huge confusion about part of this verse: “work out your salvation”. Some people believe that you must work for your salvation; you need to earn your way to salvation. However the concept of justification says something quite the opposite. We were justified by Jesus’ death and resurrection. This means that those who believe in Him are “not guilty” of their sins in the eyes of God, we are forgiven!  The Holy Spirit works in us through sanctification so that we may live out our lives in faith. It is the combination of justification and sanctification that we can remain steadfast in our faith of eternal life. It’s certain something better than sitting home and having good money deposited into our checking account! Like a trip to the gym, we “work out” our salvation by studying the word of God and participating in the sacraments much like a cardio and weight regimen. Like a personal trainer, St. Paul’s letters are filled with great advice for us to maintain our workouts and remain strong in our faith. God is working in you to be the best person that you can be. He is working in your life not to satisfy your wants and needs but to fulfill his good purpose for you. Let the hand of God guide you no matter what is happening in your work life; He has a purpose for you, let him reveal it knowing that you are not guilty of your sins through His justification and sanctification.

Confession, work and priorities

I’ve been writing this blog since January of 2012 and have produced a weekly devotion no matter what – vacations, out of town for work, projects, etc. I made it a point to make sure that I had one scheduled to post so that no matter how busy I was or where I was traveling; I would keep my self-imposed deadlines. I failed this week in making my deadline – 4am Arizona time. I’m never up at that hour but my blog is working to keep my commitment to myself and to my witnessing. I wrote a post in February of 2012 called “Who are you working for?” I found the answer to that question this weekend: I’m working for the “man” and that the “man” is me! I was working to finish a project for a client while completing a proposal for another project and I lost control of my weekend. I even worked late into the night on Sunday! So much for remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy. Now that I’m done confessing, let’s turn back to the work at hand – sorry pun intended. I was caught up in doing my very best work not only for our current client but also for a future one. My name is on those documents and I want them to be a reflection of the pride that I take in my work. We often hear the phrase “working for the man” when people describe their jobs. 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 everyday for God, I bet you would approach your work much differently than you do today. Change your outlook and do your best, at all times and at the end of the 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 patience for the work you do? The “man” doesn’t care how hard you work, just keep showing up, keep your mouth shut and do your job. Working for the “man” is what many people are destined to do. 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 other and give willingly. Many of us do that and while it can be hard at times, we do a good job and are thankful for the opportunity. 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!