There are reams and reams of paper used to write books on how Christians to live lives that follow Jesus. Rarely, though, is there anything that as simple as what we actually find in the Bible. Paul gave us three good pieces of advice in 1 Thessalonians that too few of us actually heed.
1. Live Quiet Lives
One could probably write an entire post about this. In today’s world filled with social media, it is easy to live a noisy life clamoring for attention. Few of us are immune to this. Many of us need to take this piece to heart and spend some time that is focused outwardly, putting the spotlight on others. Give others credit and point toward the Lord instead of ourselves.
2. Mind Your Own Business
What would happen if we took this one to heart? Instead of getting involved in every controversy, what if we truly focused on making our own lives better? What would the world look like?
When I was a kid, I worked on farms located around me during the summer. I hauled hay and worked in tobacco. When I turned 16, I went to work in a grocery store and had another part-time job watering plants at my church during a dry summer. Plus, I still had to mow the yard and do chores around the house. God expects us to work. He does not expect us to live entitled lives. One time my dad’s job went on strike. He used that time to work around the place and even thought about finding work to do that would bring in income.
Why should we do these things? What benefit is there to them?
So that we “may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on on one.” These are three keys to living the kind of life that God ordains for us. Instead of looking for some magic bullet, let’s do what God’s word tells us to do.
How many jobs have you had in your life?
My first job was helping my grandpa deliver hospital beds for a pharmacy he worked for after he retired. He would pay me a dollar for every trip I took with him.
From there I moved yards, hauled hay (square bales) and worked in tobacco. You haven’t lived until you’ve been in the middle of a tobacco patch in August.
Next up was being a bag boy for Food City after I turned sixteen.
I worked in a car detail shop, a saw mill and a bank through college.
My first job after college was full-time for a bank. Then another bank, Then my current employer the first time.
For one year, I worked three jobs before returning to my current employer. I’ve now been there for twelve years.
I’ve enjoyed two of these jobs.
My experience is that few people enjoy their jobs. I never remember hearing from my dad that he liked his job. All I recall is that he couldn’t wait until he was 52 and could retire after thirty years on the job. That seems to be most people’s goal, it seems. They want to do their time until they get to quit and do what they want.
We should enjoy our jobs now. Some of you might ask how, in the same of Sam Hill, we can accomplish this task. After all, it’s a grind to get up every day and go to the salt mines. At least, that’s what I seem to hear from a lot of people.
Well, I don’t know who Sam Hill is, but I’ve got some ideas, especially if you follow and claim Christ as your King.
First, whatever we do, whether we eat or drink or whatever, we should do for the glory of the Lord. Our work should be a testimony to Him. If we please Him, then we should be happy with our work.
Second, who we work for goes far beyond who our employer is. We work for the Lord. We seek to please Him more than any boss we could have. Christ is our employer. He just has us positioned in spots where He wants us.
Third, we can have as much, if not more, influence over people in the workplace that any other in the world. We are there more than we are anywhere else in a given day and week. We have more opportunities for people to see Christ in us there than in any other situation that we find ourselves in.
Finally, we were created for work. Adam was given a job right off the bat. Even after the Fall, man worked. It became harder. One day, it will be easier than it will ever be on this Earth.
We ought to love our jobs. If not for the sake of the job itself, then for the Lord’s sake. What do we do if we find ourselves hating our job. Run through this list. Ask the Lord to change our hearts. Things might change dramatically for us.
Do you love your job? Why or why not? What will you do to change if you don’t love your job?
My first “job” was when I was ten years old. My grandpa was retired. He worked part-time for a local pharmacy delivering hospital beds to folks who rented them. He had a tough assignment, so I was “hired” to help him out. He gave me a dollar and the pharmacy gave me five. I thought I was rich.
A little later I took my savings and bought six Holstein bulls. Soon they became steers and I bottle fed them until they were old enough to turn out to wean. They grazed for a while until it was time to sell them at market.
My next job was hauling hay and working in tobacco farms for local farmers. It was tough work, but it gave me a little money.
I mowed a few lawns here and there until I turned sixteen. Soon after, I got a job at Food City as a bag boy. This was probably the job where I had the most fun of my life.
My next two jobs were interesting. Working for a car dealership washing and detailing cars. From there I worked in a saw mill stacking lumber. Physically, this was the hardest job I’ve ever worked. I didn’t need to work out that summer. Every day was an eight-hour workout session.
During my last two years of college I worked at a bank. I went in about 5 pm and worked until I was finished.
After college I worked for another bank in their bookkeeping department. After a couple of years, I moved on to another bank where I worked in the loan department for three years. This is the only job I’ve ever had that truly ended badly. I wasn’t fired, but I was pushed to leave.
I began working for my current employer eighteen years ago. I worked there for five years before leaving to go to seminary. While in seminary I worked three jobs which included UPS, a paper route and a running store.This was probably the toughest year of my life.
After leaving seminary, my employer hired me back twelve years ago. I’ve had the good fortune to be promoted a few times. I have a pretty good job and career now.
There you have it. My resume’. You have a picture of what I’ve done for the past thirty-six years. Do you know what you don’t have a picture of?
Who I am.
I’m not truly defined by what I’ve done during my life. Paul, when reviewing his resume’, called it rubbish. It didn’t buy him anything with God. It didn’t get him anywhere.
The most important thing that matters in all of these jobs are the relationships that I have made. The impact I’ve had on someone’s life. The influence that I have had in the Lord’s name
Too many of us let our work define us. Good work. Sometimes work that can glorify the Lord. We were made to work in life, but we weren’t made to let that work define us.
Don’t let your work define you. Work hard. Do the best you can. Glorify God with your work ethic. Build great relationships.
What does your resume’ look like? Have you ever let your work define you?
Growing up, I dreaded Labor Day.
We only had three channels back then, if you didn’t count PBS. All channels were filled with the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. The only cool thing I remember from that was that KISS was on it once, but I couldn’t watch them because they worshiped the devil.
But that isn’t why I really dreaded Labor Day.
Once I was old enough, Labor Day was, quite honestly, filled with labor.
My dad was usually off work, if he wasn’t working overtime, and we would spend the day working on a project. I don’t know any kid that looks forward to working all day on their last day off from school for a long time.
These days it’s different.
I love Labor Day. I can usually catch up on a project that I want to complete. I will normally do some yard work. Now days, it’s kind of fun.
When we read the book of Genesis, we see that one of the main purposes of our creation is to work. After the Fall, our work became harder. It actually became labor.
So, I don’t mind work, but I dislike anything that makes me labor. Anything that really makes me struggle to accomplish it. Trust me, there’s plenty of that.
I don’t really dread Labor Day any longer, but I do dread labor. This unofficial end to summer reminds me that we will all labor in some form or fashion until the day that the Lord comes back. It reminds me to long for that day when Christ returns and the curse is finally ended.
Do you like Labor Day? Are you longing for the curse to end?
Occasionally I see a question pop up. Perhaps I hear it in some conversation that I am having or overhear. Maybe it’s in a blog post, a tweet or a Facebook status. That part doesn’t really matter.
The question that I run across is this: Should I work for a faith-based company?
There are several variations of this that I hear. Should I enter ministry? Should I go to the mission field? Should I go to seminary and become a preacher?
Sometimes, though, I think there is another question at the heart of what many of them are asking.
Is what I am doing enough for the Lord?
I think many of us get on fire for Jesus and think we are wasting our lives away in our occupations. We think there is no Godly good in being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. We wonder if our lives amount to anything in the normal, ordinary drudgery of a “regular” job.
I know. I was there.
In 2001, I left a job that I had been at for almost five years. I had worked my way up in the company. I was on a path to success.
It wasn’t good enough. I had to be a preacher. I had to go to seminary. I just knew that I had to be a pastor.
So, I went to seminary. For one whole year, I went to seminary and took the classes. I did pretty well in school. I had the 8:00 a.m. Greek class. I took the theology classes. I learned church history.
I also worked three jobs. I worked at UPS sorting packages. I delivered newspapers. I worked at a running store. I killed myself for an entire school year.
Then I left. I couldn’t take it anymore. My family and I came home. I was burned completely out. It was the hardest year of my life.
Since then I have returned to my former employer. I have been fairly successful. I have also preached at a campground for a solid ten years. There are untold ministry opportunities within my church. The Lord is going to show those He has planned for me in His own time.
I don’t need to work for a faith-based company. I don’t have to. I simply need to work in the company and the church my faith in Christ leads me.
Is what I am doing enough for the Lord? Never. It never could be. It doesn’t have to be.
What He did on the cross is enough. Everything else is pure gravy.
Do you ever think you should work for a faith-based company? Or enter ministry? Have you considered you have been planted in the mission field God intended for you?
I’m not sure when you are reading today’s post. It may be early and I haven’t left for work yet. Maybe it’s mid-day and I am wrapping things up at work. Perhaps I’m on my way to Franklin, TN or on my way back to Dunn Holler.
It doesn’t matter.
Today is the day I Start.
I am part of Jon Acuff’s Start Launch Team. Start is Jon Acuff’s new book that releases today. I also happen to be going to Start Night where Jon will be presenting much of what is in the book. I look forward hearing about:
Punch Fear In The Face
We all fear something don’t we? Often it is fear that prevents us from starting….anything. Whatever our dream is, whether it’s becoming a public speaker, starting a business or writing a novel, fear likes to cuddle up to us and keep us comfortable. Starting is not comfortable. Once we start, though, is when we will find our reward.
Too many of us simply settle for average. We have average lives with average families and average jobs. Average wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t just average. Escaping average requires something. it means that we have to start.
Do Work That Matters
One of the worst indictments we may face is that we come to the end of our life and it simply didn’t matter. We have no made no impact on the world. We didn’t affect anyone else’s life or our community’s or, gasp, the world. Where will we find the beginning of the answer? When we start.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That single step requires one thing. It requires us to start.
Are you ready to Start?
My friend, Jim Woods, has told me before that he was amazed that I can publish a blog post every day. It’s really not that hard, but it doesn’t really happen the way I wish it did.
If I had my druthers, I would get up every day and go for a run. I would come back, take a shower and drink some Diet Mountain Dew. Then I would go to my special writing place and knock out a couple of blog posts. I would schedule them and then write some other stuff for the remainder of the day.
That’s not how it happens.
Below you will see a picture I took at work. It is a list of blog ideas that I had one day at work. I was really focused on some work I had to do that day and suddenly the gates opened. Idea after idea after idea flowed. I started scribbling those ideas on this sheet of paper.
After that, I would kind of look at them and mull them over in my mind. I got rough ideas for what direction I wanted to go with each one. Then I just kind of sat down and wrote some.
Nothing special or magical. I just wrote.
A few of them came out completely different from what I originally intended. Some of them tend to take on a life of their own and they tell me how to write them. It’s an interesting process.
That’s how I work.
Oh yeah. I prayed. I asked the Lord to give me the words and use me. I pray He does.
If you are a blogger, how do you work?