Who Are You Working For?

Recently, at a Christian women’s retreat, I asked my small prayer group for strength and wisdom to deal with difficulties I was encountering in a volunteer position. One of the women responded with advice I have heard many times in similar situations: “You are a volunteer, just quit.”

This time I responded a little more vehemently then I intended. As we struggled to understand each other, the difference in our underlying assumptions became clear when I finally said “I can’t quit because God hasn’t released me.”

I knew that God had sent me on this assignment, and therefore if I quit, I was in essence saying no to God. I wasn’t giving up on the other people, the organization, or even myself; I would be giving up on God. It has taken me a long, long time to reach this point, but I understand that everything I do, whether paid work, volunteer, recreation, chLogos Col 3 23ores or rest, I am to do it all to God. Lest you think I have my act together, there is a difference between what I know in my head to be true, and what I am able to consistently live out on a daily basis. But I have also learned that I will never be able to put anything into practice unless I recognize it first. But, I digress –

How we respond to difficulties in whatever positions we find ourselves in is largely determined by our perspective of why we are doing it. If it is all about us, our desires, and our plans, we will be quick to anger and quick to give up. If, on the other hand, we have heard and obeyed God’s direction, even if we didn’t hear God clearly or interpret what we heard correctly, we will respond very differently. The key difference is that we will be much more likely to seek God’s direction and try to see and understand what God is doing and why He has us there at this time.

God is less concerned about the specific tasks of this temporary world then He is about our eternal destiny. God is focused on building our character and helping us to understand who we are in relationship to Him and others. He is revealing Himself to us and teaching us our unique God-given identity as well as how to live that out in this world and the next. Part of this is for us to learn how to work together in unity, without competition, focusing on God and His directives while trusting God to protect and to guide and to take care of our needs. How we deal with other people reflects where we are in this journey. If you are like me, you have a long way to go, but can take comfort in looking at how far God has already brought you. When I look back over the decades of my life thus far, I can see example after example of God’s tender care and provision for me, even when I misunderstood how He was directing me, or was running away from Him at full speed (that never works, just ask Jonah).
So, next time you find yourself getting frustrated at work (whether paid or volunteer) ask yourself:

Who Are You Working For_

 

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Are You Prepared?

About a week before Irma was expected to hit the Florida Keys my husband and I were driving back from dinner and decided to stop to fill the almost empty gas tank. The first station we passed by as it was already full, with lines beginning to form. “Everybody must have had the same idea” my husband remarked as we drove on to another, larger station, once again finding every pump occupied (except one). After filling the tank, our next stop was the grocery store. As we started to pick up the items on our list, we noted how many people were in the store, but still did not realize what was going on until we arrived at the aisle where they sell water. Well, if I were to be accurate, I would say it is where they normally stored the water they sell. This evening the shelves were bare. Finally, the light bulb went on and we realized that people were afraid that Irma was going to make it all the way up to Charlotte, North Carolina, and people were rushing around trying to get prepared.Nahum 1:7

Over the next few days, as I mused over the different reactions people were having, some scoffing and some panicking, I became aware of the differences between preparing for an earthquake and preparing for a hurricane. When the Northridge earthquake hit, a few short miles from where were living, we were not prepared. Fortunately (i.e. due to God’s providential care), we were living on top of a hill of bedrock and the quake went through our house at an angle, leaving us with only minor damage and days (as compared to weeks) without water or power. Some of our friends and neighbors did not fare as well. It took a long time for services and lives to get back on an even footing. After that experience, I went and purchased everything we would need to survive after a larger earthquake. What I learned through this was the benefit of perpetual preparedness.

Isn’t this what Jesus was trying to teach us in the parable of the ten virgins? Matthew 25 1:13

If we wait until we think we are about to leave this life and enter eternity to prepare for eternity, the store will be sold out or closed. None of us know when “the big one” is coming. What we can do is look around at what is happening and read “the signs of the times” and recognize that the end is growing closer, and we need to be prepared. How prepared are you to enter eternity? This is not a matter of being good enough or good works. Rather, it is a matter of the state of our relationship with our heavenly father.

Will you join me in asking God today what one thing each of us should either start or stop doing to prepare for eternity? It may be very simple, or it could be very difficult. It could be developing a habit of spending time with God each day, it could be to stop working so hard and just rest in Him, it could be to go out and have fun and fellowship. Whatever it is, my experience with earthquakes teaches me that it is worth the effort to prepare.

Matthew 6 20:21