Tag Archives: Work

Thursday Thoughts

It’s almost Friday, so just hold on a little longer. In the meantime, here are my thoughts about a subject totally unrelated to World War Three or the supposed liberal victory in the “culture war.”

Honest Questions

Yesterday, in the elementary school lunchroom, several children started badgering me. Because yesterday was “Fan Day,” the little crumb-crunchers were wearing the colors of their favorite teams and wanting to know which college sports team was my favorite.

“Well, it all depends on who’s playing whom, and what sport,” I answered. “But can’t you pick a favorite?” they asked. “No,” I said, “because I have attended several colleges – Chatt. State, UTC, Hopkinsville College, Western Kentucky Univ. (one class), Temple Baptist Seminary, Covington Seminary, etc. – so it’s hard to pick a favorite; it all depends.”

At that point a 5th-grade girl started to laugh, then covered her mouth.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Oh, I can’t say, ’cause it wouldn’t be nice,” she replied.

“Go ahead, what is it?”

“It wouldn’t be nice.”

“Tell me,” I insisted.

“It’s just, well… If you went to all those colleges, then why are you still driving a bus?”

That’s an honest question, I suppose. (Give me a second to bandage my ego)

It’s a Choice and a Calling

Those in ministry are some of the most educated poor people around. Honestly, how many people do you know with graduate and post-graduate degrees working multiple, low-paying jobs? Pastors do it far more often than you think.

So, why is it, with all that education and papers on my wall, I am “still driving a [school] bus?” The answer is pretty simple and two-fold: 1) I need a job with flexible daytime (and summer) hours; 2) it’s God’s will.

photo (7)Sure, there are other things I could be doing to make more money, like pastoring a large, “fully-funded” church. However, like most pastors, I serve the Lord and His flock in the place where He has chosen to send me. And if that means I have to do a little extra to pay for braces, then so be it; it keeps me humble.

And besides, there’s no “secular vs. sacred” when it comes to what I, or any Christian does for a living. We are called to be “salt and light” wherever we are. In my case, there’s a particular school bus that was bland and dim – it needed me.

That’s why I still drive a bus.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:17 KJV

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Filed under Culture Wars, ministry

Objective Reality

Resumé Review

Recently, after having to look at other people’s resumés, I thought it would be a good idea to review my own. Even though I am not actively seeking another pastorate, information does change from time to time. So, after a quick glance, I noticed some areas needed tweaking.

For example, I earned my Masters, so that needed to be added. Also, puppets are no longer considered valid references, so Mr. Monkey’s name had to be deleted.

However, one part of my resumé did not need changing. When I read the “Ministry Objectives” section, my heart was convicted. Were my objectives being met? What am I doing to reach them?

Ministry Objectives

Some people take a sentence or two, or even a paragraph, to describe their ministry objectives. I decided to divide mine into five points and put them right up front for everyone, including myself, to read.

My desire is…

I.    To bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ in all that I do (Ps 19:14) and go through (1Pet 1:7).

bibleII.   To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim 4:13) and “to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

III. To be known as a humble and consistent husband and father whose household serves the Lord (Josh 24:15; 1 Cor 15:58); a forgiven sinner who understands grace (1 Tim 1:15); and a fearless soldier of the Cross (Mark 8:34) who never compromises the truth (1 Tim 4:16).

IV. To affect future generations yet to come as children are grounded, parents become responsible, singles are emboldened, and the aged get a second wind (Josh 4:21-24; Pro 22:6).

V.  To promote the preaching and teaching of the Gospel in every part of the world (Acts 1:8).

Dear Heavenly Father, make them more than objectives… make them reality.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, ministry, Preaching

Legalism: Not Just for Church

When you hear the term legalism you normally think of all things religious, correct? Well, contrary to what you may think, legalism is a mindset that can be found in all kinds of environments, not just religious ones.

Example

Not long ago I had to attend a mandated state re-certification class. I won’t say where, or with whom, because the last thing I want is to make my employer or the state mad at me. Just know that it really happened.

I attended this class with a group of people. Each of us was given a booklet and a pencil. Each of us was getting paid for the hour we were spending. Every one would have rather been somewhere else, but each went in order to keep his job.

You see, in order to keep certain certifications, the state government requires that each person attend so many hours of instruction each year. This instruction is to be industry-related and taught by a state official. The problem is that most who attend these classes never learn anything new. Few actually listen to the instructions. Most only go because they have to.

What is worse, the instructors know that those attending these mandatory classes will learn very little. As a matter of fact, even though each class is given a test at the end, most of the answers are given in advance. Just because one attendee may get 100% of the answers correct, that only means he may have consulted with his neighbor. That’s allowed, of course.

Checking off the list

Do you see the legalism? All the state is requiring is that a bunch of people check off a list of requirements in order to be “certified.” Religious people do this all the time by insisting that various lists be checked off. But what is in the heart, what is really believed, is not as critical, only the deeds done in the name of compliance.

Somewhere in the past a group of politicians and regulator got together and decided what requirements needed to be met in order to keep litigation attorneys happy. A budget was set, materials and curriculum were printed, and the orders were given: “just do what we say and we’ll all be fine.” Amazingly, many people treat faith the same way.

My Fight

Why do I write this blog? Why do I want to fight legalism? Because it not only hurts the Church and the lives of believers, but it is even detrimental to society as a whole. Legalism is all about saying everything is fine, just as long as you do what is expected, nothing more, nothing less. Legalism does not address the heart. Legalism only binds people to costly, burdensome regulations which in many cases do little to change what matters.

Rom 3:28 KJV – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, legalism

Work, Work, Work


Work

Just whistle while you work…” was a song that the Seven Dwarfs sang. Watching them slave away in the mines while they whistled made it all look sorta fun. But in reality, working in mines is hard, dirty work. And whistling? It may help you pass the time, but it won’t make working in a dish room or sewer any easier. Work is hard, but it is necessary.

However, for many people in our society, “work” is one of the dirtiest four-letter words. Those that refuse to include this word in their vocabulary think that it is their right to receive their living from others. To those folks I would like to share one portion of Scripture…

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 KJV

Even back in the days of Paul were there people who wanted to live off of the work of others. Is it any wonder that people do it today?

Incentives to be Lazy

Why should the average person work when so many government programs are there to feed him. The idea of having to work to eat is completely foreign to many. As a matter of fact, each year federal agencies place adds and run commercials calling more people to enroll in the food stamp program.

With food taken care of, what is there to worry about? Well, a person could worry about shelter, medical care, clothing, childcare, transportation, internet, cell phones, etc. Oh! News Flash! The government’s got that covered, also. For every need or want, no matter how minor, there is a government program available to anyone who refuses to use the that dirty word, work.

Work is Biblical

According to J. L. Meredith’s Second Book of Bible Lists, there are 198 different occupations listed in the Bible. That’s amazing, isn’t it? I find it hard to think of that many different jobs in a modern context. Among the jobs listed, one could have been an Apothecary (Neh. 3:8), Candlestick Maker (Ex. 25:31), Forrest Keeper (Neh. 2:8), Innkeeper (Luke 10:34), Midwife (Gen. 35:17), Scientist (Dan. 1:4), or a Tentmaker (Acts 18:3). The list goes on and on.

As a matter of fact, both God the Father and Jesus worked (John 5:17). Why is it that we hate it so much?

Work was ruined by the Fall.

Adam was put in the Garden to work, not sit around all day and enjoy nature. God put Adam “into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Up until that time work was part of the original, sinless creation. It was something that was enjoyable and meant for a purpose. It was something that was meant to bring joy and fulfillment. It was only when Adam sinned that work became the burden it is today.

“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:17-19 KJV

King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, realized that because of the Fall, work (from an earthly perspective) was vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23). He saw that it was depressing to see that no matter what you do, you “can’t take it with you,” but have to leave it behind for someone else to flitter away. Nevertheless, he saw “[There is] nothing better for a man, [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God” (2:24).

In the Meantime

For now, even though work is not always fun, it is expected for a Christian to do all he can do to provide for his family. Paul told Timothy, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).  If a man (or woman) is able to work, but relies on government assistance by choice, he is not being a good example.

Even though the job you may have may not be the best, at least it is work. God will honor it and bring glory to Himself. We must keep in mind that if we work with our whole heart, as unto God, not unto men (Col. 3:23), He will be pleased and we will be blessed.

The Future

Someday God will restore work to what it was intended to be – a pleasurable experience. Speaking of the children of Israel, He said…

 “In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed.” – Isaiah 65:21-23 NLT

Just remember, let us not grow weary in our work (Gal. 6:9; 2 Th. 3:13). One day all of the sorrows and pains associated with the toil of this life will be replaced (Rev. 21:4). The thing that was supposed to be a blessing will be made perfect again, and maybe, just maybe, there will be whistling in heaven.

 

 

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Life Lessons