The title could be taken a number of ways. By it I mean to communicate that we are strangers, aliens if you will, at work. It is not always the case that the Christian’s workplace is pleasant. It can be rather difficult. There are places Christians cannot work (e.g. abortion clinic). However, most jobs we can work but there will be many difficulties along the way.
At my job, there are particular difficulties that I encounter that others would not. And they encounter difficulties that I do not. That said, I think it’s apparent that the gospel collides with various things in our jobs. I’m not sure specific examples would be helpful in this public post but we need not assume our employer will do the will of God in all matters.
I am not saying we are responsible for the decisions of our employer. However, there are things we could be asked to do that we would be responsible for. There are also places we could make a real difference by talking with our employer. And there are times when you will make no difference at all and at the same time risk losing your job. I have encountered all of these. I still have a job and I have spoken against things–some changes were made for the better and some remain unchanged.
My journal entry from last year documented one of those situations where I spoke up about an issue and it has not changed. I am not responsible for this problem but I was burdened beyond what I could bear over the situation. I gave a gentle warning with all that was at stake in speaking out. I trusted that the Lord would take care of me and my family by providing other means if something did happen. In this case, I still have my job. I am sill very concerned. I am still praying for the situation. Yet I mourn the possible outcome of these actions.
Fellow followers of Christ, there are people who are struggling at their jobs with things they feel are wrong and they are afraid. They need to have conversations about the particulars of their dilemma. Be an encouragement to them. Talk through the issues. Pray for them. Consider whose responsibility it is and consider the outcome of your response. And always trust the Lord to care for you and be with you through it all. For He sees and knows what you are going through and He cares for you.
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
I would like to begin this post with an encouragement to read the Bible daily. The amount can vary but the intake of truth cannot. There are seasons of life where more or less fits. I have been reading through God’s word with a daily reading plan for several years. I can say there have been times (more than I care to know) when I simply checked the box. There will be mornings like that. However, the faithful reader keeps reading. Life is a series of starts and stops. If you have stopped reading the Word pick it up and start again. If you are doing a plan and find yourself behind just start on the reading for today and move on.
God has worked wonders in me to say that last sentence. I have also been the one who would read sixteen (or more) chapters to get caught up. Now some might think that is commendable. However, I doubt I gleaned anything by reading that many chapters. So, I suggest that you read to see something in the text. You are not looking for some undiscovered truth. You are looking to see the same truth you probably already know.
The following is an entry from my journal after reading Matthew 27
Judas finds no forgiveness in the chief priests and elders. Not finding forgiveness will destroy a man. He was looking for it in the wrong places. Yet it fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah.
Pilate has far less power than he thinks. With multiple warnings, Pilate cannot release Jesus. In most typical situations, you’d think the governor could have done what “reason” was telling him–this man is innocent and I should let him go. Even in his attempt to wash his hands of this murder, Pilate’s soldiers carried out this gross act.
Having said all of this, the Ultimate Determiner was plucking the cords of this guitar. Yet they are responsible. And this act saves sinners. Wow. Who could have planned this but God!
Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”
Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Keeping a journal has been something I have started several times. However, last year I started and have been consistent all year. Somewhere along the way, I decided to read last year’s entry as part of my quiet time. It would be a time to remember what God had been doing in my life. In addition, I also wanted to begin blogging again. I have to admit, this is mainly for my benefit. Writing helps me. So, I decided to combine these two ideas and put some of my journal entries with some commentary into a blog post. I hope these will also be an encouragement to others.
In this post, I want to encourage intentional, persistent Christ conversations with this testimony to God’s faithfulness and power. The following is the result of God’s work through the means of conversations about Christ. These varied depending on what I had been reading in the word. These went on for about a year before any visible evidence. Here is my journal entry after hearing the news from a delivery driver that I encountered each week:
Friday, January 25, 2013:
“[The driver] had a major break through this past weekend concerning the gospel. I’ve been talking to him every week about something (gospel, life, work). He claimed to be a believer. He had not attended church in years. I tried to find him a place to visit (he lives 120 miles away) but no success. However, God nudged this man in a way that only He could do. Last week we had an ice storm in the area. He had an experience that scared him very much. So, he decided to go to church . He also took his eleven year old son. While there his son made a profession of faith. [The driver] was shocked but over-joyed. We will be praying for this ongoing situation. [The driver] said it was his turn this Sunday. May the Lord cause the gospel to do amazing things in their lives.”
This was a real encouragement to me. I was struggling with usefulness. I had begun to think I was wasting my life in my current life situation. I believe God has called me to pastoral ministry. As I write this post, that has not become a reality. However, the Lord revealed to me the ministries already going on. In the space of a week, I realized this ministry with my friend, my daughter and another customer who had asked for prayer concerning work. As of right now, the delivery driver and his family have come or returned to the Lord and are actively seeking His Kingdom. My daughter made a profession of faith and was baptized. The customer found work. Praise God for His amazing grace.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
A year ago this day, my daughter began asking about baptism. This was an exciting time and a cautious time. I did not want to affirm or deny God’s work in her life. I could see it. So, I played the role I was given, namely, answering her questions and praying for her. Here is a quote from my journal a year ago:
She asked me about baptism last night. It was a great conversation. She plans to read about Jesus’s baptism this morning in her quiet time. May it bear fruit in her life. O Holy Spirit teach her. Help her make sense of it. Give her understanding as she thinks about it this morning (and any other time she thinks about it).
I must say, the Holy Spirit did give her understanding over the next several months. Yes, months. Patience is needed in this matter. I had witnessed God at work in her for a while. Yet I waited for her to ask the questions. So, parents, be ready to answer the questions and diligently pray for them. God is the One who saves. Your role is to tell them the gospel and ask Him to open their eyes. Praise God He is still saving sinners!
On this day, the 41st year of Roe v. Wade, a blog post like this should be read. It is a moving story of life in all its forms. If anything, hear how you should respond to such horrific sin with unusual compassion. And for the one who finds herself about to make a decision, I pray this will persuade you to say no. For the one who has already had the abortion, I pray you will be forgiven by the One who came to save sinner like you and me. Agree with God that it is heinous and throw yourself on Christ Jesus.
Journal Entry on this day January 22, 2013:
How shall I respond? There seems to be various options before a man when he is pressed. These are not completely clear. One seems easy. Another seems hard. Others are less obvious to which of the two previous levels they might lead. Then you realize, “Why is this the first question to be answered?” It’s not. The first question to be asked is “How does God’s word lead me to respond?” I know that answer. Then whether hard or easy makes no difference. I’m following Christ.
Related–Read Acts 22:
One can be zealously wrong. Zeal is not a definite indicator of truth. This is one thing you don’t want to be wrong about: “Who am I following?” Jesus of Nazareth.