Tag Archives: work

Jeremiah 38, 39, 52; 1 Peter 2

18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect.[k] Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered[l] for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

22 He never sinned,
    nor ever deceived anyone.[m]
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
    nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
    who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
    in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
    and live for what is right.
By his wounds
    you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
    who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
    the Guardian of your souls.

We had such a wonderful time discussing this recently in my small group. It was used in correlation to the verses in Colossians 3:22-25.  I have to admit, I kind of got hit alongside the head with the proverbial 2×4 as I thought about those verses in relation to my job.  It really made me question my attitude at work.  Why do I behave certain ways at work?  Quite frankly, my answer was to get along with people and not burn bridges.  THAT was my reason for “doing good”!  Plus, of course, the more you do the better your review—who doesn’t want that affirmation they are doing a good job.  It totally fills my significance bucket!  Not once did I think of doing right because it is what we are called to do.  Not once did I think of it in light of finding that significance from working for God—especially in a secular place of business. My thoughts were purely selfish and all about me!

There is a verse in Colossians that isn’t included in today’s reading but has the same theme:

Colossians 3:23–Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

One of the ladies in my group stated, “We should work as if Jesus is sitting with us. Because He is!”  Wow!  Truth spoken in love!

The above verses tell us to do good, even if it means suffering. You mean if my coworker gets that promotion that I think should have gone to me?  Yes.  You mean if I work for a boss who curses constantly, is always yelling, and will cut you down with his words?  Yes.  You mean if I have a coworker who takes personal calls all day, is out on the internet looking at Pinterest, and you have to pick up their slack?  Yes.  Those examples are just ones I thought up as an example.  But, what about the time I was called into my boss’s office for my annual review and told I wasn’t getting a raise this year because it is perceived I add no value to the company?  Yes, even then!  I have to admit I had a big “fail” on that one because it totally changed my attitude about the place I worked. Those 10 minutes in his office undermined an entire career spent pouring my heart into that company.  Where I was once a pitch-in, help others, we’re all on one team kind of person, I developed a bad attitude.  I let what he said define me even though I knew in my heart the contribution I had made to that company.  Instead of trusting God, and believing I am who He says I am, I spent two years in misery.  I am sure many would tell me I was justified to feel the way I did, but if I am going to follow Jesus’ example, that is not how to handle it.  You see, “He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” What would have been right would have been to continue working the same way I had always worked—with a smile on my face, pitching in to help others, and trying to find ways to make work fun for others.  I really had to repent to God over my actions.

One thing about God, I’ve found, is He will give you a second chance to take that test you fail the first time. As an example, after being unemployed for over a year due to the company being closed down, I was finally hired by a new company.  I worked beside a lady with the most unfriendly attitude.  The boss I had was unapproachable.  No one talked to me for almost a year.  Yet, every day I came in I said, “good morning” as cheerfully as I could and when I left I said “have a good evening” or “have a good weekend” whichever was appropriate.  I got a card for the one lady when her beloved dog died.  I picked up work for her when her brother was sick and she had to take off work.  I kept reminding myself that God was my ultimate boss and I was there to work for Him!  I wanted to quit and find another job so much during that time.  But I really felt God had placed me there so I decided to stick it out until He said it was time to find another job.  Over that time I managed to develop a rapport with the two people I worked with.  At the end of the first year I was there, the company reorganized and I was moved to a different department with a different boss.  Because of the training I had in one department, I was the perfect fit for the new department.  I have friends now and people to socialize with.  I had to patiently endure a little suffering trusting that God is sovereign.

And yet, I still have so much I need to pray about for change in this area! I still grumble and complain when I think things are unfair in regards to work situations or they change some policy that seems ridiculous to me instead of heeding the verses prior to the ones I quoted that say: 13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed.  I have been put in this place to be the representative of Christ.  I so want that to be my reason for doing things!

Thank you, Father, that you give us a new day to start over, a new day to look to Jesus as our example in everything we say and do. You are quick to correct us in love when we need it.  We are so grateful to you for showing us a better way to live when we look to You.  In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45; Psalm 133; James 3

This past summer I went through my email inbox and cleaned house. Daily, the inbox was so full that if I missed a day of checking or deleting, I was overwhelmed and consumed in no time. So many things in life already vie for my attention that it seemed like I was losing my focus–and I want to be intentional in my relationships (my family and my friends right in front of my face), in my service (at home/work, at church and wherever God leads) and in my walk with the Lord (seeking him, growing closer to him, obeying him). The subscriptions were a symbolic mental hustle. I needed to pare down.

The scriptures in Jeremiah make me think on what happens when priorities get shuffled. How the Lord will speak, but a life can be so distracted or a focus otherwise engaged, that He gets put aside. Where a people pursue conflicting interests and worship other things, a merciful God calls out, “Stop!” and they can’t hear. Or worse, they burn the warning.

In James 3, controlling the tongue–and I think long on influences (what I read, what I watch, what I hear, what examples I imitate, whose advice I seek, whose company I keep) and I put these before the Lord for his guidance.

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18, NLT.

A summer favorite blogger advised (against burnout by) sorting through the to-do for the essentials and then cutting out extras until there was peace. This is where I find myself, looking at the non-negotiable activities of this season and committing to those, building from there–being careful not to tip the scales in favor of burnout and hustle. For me, at least, God is harder to hear in the overwhelm.

Father God, when I read these scriptures, I see how easy it is (and how costly!) to lose sight of you, to get so far off track (preoccupied or busy) that your voice is drowned out. Lord, I put before you my thoughts, my relationships, my dreams and my actions for your guidance. Help me to discern what is good and fruitful and pleasing to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2; 2 Thessalonians 3

King Hiram sent a master craftsman to help build the temple. Solomon had a sizeable workforce. When people come together with a common purpose, great things can be done.

Second Thessalonians 3, Paul warns:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14, NLT.

A message in the day’s reading on work, focus, purpose.

Paul writes of an example worth imitating–whose example do I imitate? Who is imitating my example? Just as when people come together with a common purpose, great things can be done, so too can great damage be done when idle hands let things fall into disrepair. Whether tearing apart what should be built, or neglecting the tasks at hand–idle living is linked to disobedience and shame.

How does that happen? Does it stem from a loss of focus or purpose? Or is it a shift in focus–towards self rather than towards the Lord? (Oh Lord, let me keep my eyes on you in the work you’d have me do at home, at church, within a greater community context.)

Lord, help me to keep your call on my life in perspective so that I don’t grow tired of doing good. I want my days filled with praise for you, and not complaint. You have given me wonderful work, and I am grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 35-37; Psalm 26; Philippians 4

Arghhhh!!! Work sometimes stresses me out so much that I want to take my computer and turn the screen toward the wall, just like putting a child in timeout until it learns to behave. This was especially true this week when the pressure was on to prepare for inspection of my work. Just when I thought all was well, a glitch – probably pointing back to my miscommunication with this binary speaking, error messaging, bleeping, cyber silencer -dropped hundreds of brain-draining, meticulous eloquence of thought into the miniature round basket in the background’s left corner,  snatching hours of deliberate labor in a nanosecond of apathy.

I wonder if the work went smoothly for the artisans, craftsmen, weavers, perfumers, and others building that first Tabernacle that God designed. I used to hold the view that the pastors, the musicians, the maintenance crew, and so many others involved in the daily upkeep of our own sanctuary were somehow more holy and at peace because their work was devoted to the house of God. I still have tender thoughts towards churches, in sync with Psalm 26:8 “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.”

In fact, I like to watch the podcast of a service streamed from Trinity Fellowship Church http://www.tfchurch.org/ , the place of worship that I attended for over 30 years before moving to another state. When we started attending there, we met in a small church building quickly outgrowing the crowded sanctuary of about 300 people, I never envisioned the again bursting at the seams House of Worship that now seats more than 10,000. Yet when I watch these services, listen to the worship, see the glory of God on familiar faces and the declaration of praise with uplifted hands of the congregation, I see a parallel to that first Tabernacle of God; I see years of devoted work to create a setting for God’s Presence to dwell.

I say that I use to think only those who served in the House of God emanated holiness because I now believe that every Christian’s work is an offering to God, even that which serves a secular purpose. God gifts each of us to perform our work just as He did to those building the first Tabernacle. Exodus 36:1 says, “The gifted artisans in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord commanded.” How secure and humble I feel when I focus on God’s good gifts and leave off obsessing on all the stress about my performance. So it is with a sigh of relief when I read and remember the truth in God’s Word: Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy –meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and  the God of peace will be with you.

Guess I’ll bring a soft cloth to work next week and wipe all the smudges off of that expectant face on my desk…a more appropriate act of holiness than my actions at our last signoff.

Janet

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Ezekiel 46-48; John 16

Offerings. Boundaries. Understanding.

Reading of a prince’s offering, the best of grain and animal. I think about offerings and the “best of” what I have. Who and what get my best? Where does God fit in all this? Some days, I feel really spent and have little to offer. God has been teaching me a lot about offerings and boundaries this year. And in this, I’m learning how I can offer my best and not feel exhausted or unbalanced. (This has nothing to do with over-achieving, showy super-stardom. My 8-yr-old gave me a simple example of the best of yesterday–leaving co-op, I passed through the lunchroom and wanted to say goodbye to her. She gave me the best of her in a squeezer of a hug and telling me, wide-eyed, of the important things that happened to her that morning. She gave me kisses and spoke love to me.)

Boundaries. It was no wonder that I had little to offer when I felt overbooked and overwhelmed. Old Testament reading of actual land boundaries–but that word is key to my lesson this year. Boundaries in what’s asked of me. Boundaries to protect my family time. Boundaries in relationships, especially those unhealthy ones that want to sabotage other areas of my life.

Understanding. Jesus tells the disciples that (in a little while) he’s going to leave, but that the Advocate will come.

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ John 16:12-15, NLT.

Lord, my mind will make up all kinds of scenarios as I try to sort things out and fill in the blanks. I want to focus on what is true. I want to be mindful of the land you’ve given me–a home, family, tasks, relationships. I want to offer what you think is the best of me, and not someone else’s definition of best. Lord, please guide my steps.

Courtney (66books365)

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