Tag Archives: work

First, Do Good. Then, Speak Truth.

 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong…While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people…Acts 3:6-7, 11-12

Are you old enough to remember when it was said of the U.S. that our “national pastime” was baseball? I can remember it being said. I’m not sure I ever really believed it. Those were simpler times, to be sure. Nicer times. Less complicated. But what about today? What would you suppose is this culture’s favorite pastime? My educated guess is this: having a “take” and making it known. We are living in a culture obsessed with finding creative, persuasive, (controversial?) ways of communicating our beliefs or opinions about every single happening or news item or public personality. Racism? Here’s my take… Same sex marriage? Here’s my take… Abortion? Here’s my take… Politics? Here’s my take… Evangelicals? Here’s my take… Muslims? Here’s my take… You get the idea. It’s an obsession. All of us feel compelled to have a take and make it known. And we spend an enormous amount of our time either reading/listening to other people’s takes or coming up with our own.

In the Christian world, we usually call it “speaking the truth”. We may or may not want to be seen as going along with the crowd, so we may or may not intend to jump on the social media bandwagon of “have a take and make it known”, but we do …

Your Calling to Do Hard Things

Tuesday Re-mix –

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

 And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.  Isaiah 6:8-10

Believe me when I tell you there are parts of my work as an attorney which I do not like.  Likewise, there are parts of my work as a church mediator which are hard and not very rewarding.  Likewise, there are parts of my various assignments as a church leader which I would definitely rather not do…things I definitely do not feel “gifted” to do, but which my leadership requires nonetheless.

struggling-turtleIsaiah’s calling was almost certainly not to do something he enjoyed doing.  It was a calling to do a very hard thing…for over forty years…with practically no visible return whatsoever.

So, I hope my pastor friends will understand when I tend to look with some skepticism at their desire to just do the part of pastoring which they enjoy doing.  Some would like to just focus on the preaching and teaching without having to bother with the “pastoral care” parts.  Others would like to focus on the administrative aspects without having to do so much preaching and teaching.  Still others could be content just doing hospital visits all day long and never having to attend another insufferable committee meeting.

Shepherding God’s people includes all of those things.  You don’t have to be good at all of them…but you do have to do all of them.  If you don’t feel called to visit sick people and to counsel grieving people…you probably are not called …

The Lies About Church Unity

Tuesday Re-mix –

“…being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

I am now more than a year past the half-century mark on this earth.  Quite the accomplishment, it seems to me.  When I was a teenager, I honestly never wanted to still be alive by this age.  It just seemed unbearably old to me then.  I have recently changed my mind about that.

I see a lot of things differently now.  I have developed a patience…a longer-term perspective on things.  I have learned that many of the things I thought as a young adult were just lies.  Here are some of the lies I have checked off my list as “learned” over the years:

If you can afford the mortgage payment, you can afford the house.

If you can afford the car payment, you can afford the car.

No matter how old you get, you’re never more than 90 days from getting back in shape.

You can work long and hard, or you can get lucky…lasting success can come either way.

When two good people get married, good marriages always result.

Lies, lies, lies…all of them.  In all these ways, I have learned that the same God who created the world in six days expects us to take significantly longer and work significantly harder to accomplish anything of real worth.

It makes perfect sense to me, then, that our job of “preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” in the church is a tedious, difficult, long-term job which we cannot expect to happen overnight.  Because we are talking about real, human relationships, this job is messy and complicated and takes lots and lots of intentional effort.  In short, our responsibility of preserving the unity of the Spirit …

Do You Know Why You Work?

Tuesday Re-mix –

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Col. 3:23-24

My dear friend, Dr. Ann Farris, taught me that in this world there are 4 kinds of people: those who ask “What?”, those who ask “How?”, those who ask “Why?” and those who don’t ask any questions but just like to party.  Every good task force or team needs each of these types of people.  I so get that!  Of all the different “temperament” and personality profile studies I have done and seen (isn’t it  shocking how many very bright people over the centuries have devoted themselves to dividing humanity into four categories?) this one may be my favorite.  I  like it because it explains so much.  And I like explanations…

…because I am definitely a “Why?” person.

In every job, with every assignment, even in every game I play, I just need to understand the “why”.  If I don’t, then I’m not very useful, not very effective.  Motivation is everything to me.  That is true in my work with churches (I really do insist that the church understand WHY each of its ministries exists) and it is true in my individual life as well.  Life is just too busy to engage in activities with no purpose at all.

And so it is with our work.  Having a strong work ethic has everything to do with having a grasp of WHY we do it in the first place.  If the best reason you can muster for showing up at work everyday is “to collect a paycheck” (and by the way, I strongly suspect this …