Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Does God call garbage men?
God cares about our work. Period. God calls all of us to serve him in what we do every day.
My daily work is pretty humble. All I do is tweak other people's sentences. I often write about (and for) businessmen, so forgive me for glorifying their callings a little bit in my last post.
We do tend to put our leaders on pedestals, though, not our garbage men or our grocery store workers or our car mechanics or our retirement consultants or our butchers or our elevator operators.
When I wrote that last post I was thinking of some pastors who have come to think of their churches as a business. That means in some ways they think of themselves as the CEO.
It's a model that gets a lot of criticism, but we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss it. The business model challenges churches to a high standard of excellence, and that is a good thing! Of course, it can also lead to an unhealthy emphasis on the bottom line numbers of attendance and giving.
Shep's question is a good reminder. We shouldn't think more highly of others than we ought to think. We shouldn't think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.
Before this degrades too far into abstract discussion of other people, there is a more important issue here.
- * God cares about how I edit today. He cares about my interview with Dr. John J. Medina this afternoon.
* God cares about my wife. He cares about how she serves him when she takes our kids to their swim lessons.
* God cares about my dad, a FedEx Pilot--how he serves his crew, how he treats the desk manager of any hotel he checks into, and simply how well he flies the plane.
* God cares about my friend Karl, who is preparing for a seminar in LA this Saturday. That seminar is a gift to God because it is a gift to the people who will be attending it.
* God cares about my brother-in-law who is a database administrator. When Greg changes the code to make the database run faster, God smiles!
* God cares about my brother who is opening a new doctor's office in Ruston, Louisiana. God cares about how he treats the nurses he interviews. God cares about how he treats the other doctors he meets. God cares about the conversations Nathan has with real estate agents.
* God cares about stay-at-home mothers, Jessi! (Although I would call them "work-at-home" mothers.) My sister is one. My wife is one. My mother is one. Just yesterday I was reading about the incredible plasticity of the human brain during the first six years of life. When we serve our children with good teaching and enriching experiences, we serve God Himself.
Are these examples too fancy? These are just some of the people I know going about their every day work. It is good to remember that God cares about what they do.
But your daily work is the issue here. Can you accept the place God has given you? Can you accept the task he has entrusted to you? Have you buried your talent? Are you grumbling about your work? Are you full of discontent and jealousy and envy and covetousness? Have you learned the secret of being content in all circumstances? (If you haven't, read Philippians 4!)
Do you believe that God cares about your daily work?
Just as important, do you care about your daily work?
My work should be a source of joy. We've all seen the people who love their work. I love teaching. I love editing. I love what I do each day. (And I have a somewhat melancholy personality, so this isn't just absurd optimism.)
God cares about what I do, but he also gives me freedom to choose how I will serve him. Several years ago, I realized that I needed a break from public education. I felt backed into a corner. I struggled some weeks to find the joy in my lessons. I grew bored, restless, angry, suspicious, impatient.
I prayed for a change, but I also sought out change. I trained to teach different subjects. I sent out resumes. I applied to other schools, other school districts, other professions. And one day God called me on the phone. He sounded like my friend Karen, and he asked if I was interested in working for the H. E. Butt Foundation.
And here I am.
God calls all of us on the phone sometimes. Be sure to answer. Be sure to listen. Be sure to consider his offer. He wants you to find joy in your work.
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