How Do You Feel About Standing Alone?

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Boy, if there was ever a time when the attribute or character trait of “standing alone” is needed it is today.  “Tolerance” has become the virtue du jour and in the name of tolerance believers are being pressured to agree with many things that are absolutely unacceptable in Kingdom life.  Holiness provokes derision and righteous life is the butt of jokes.  I am not speaking about the faux holiness that is preoccupied with skirt lengths and make-up but rather, the real thing—the attempt to sincerely imitate Christ and demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit in the workplace. It is funny how those who shout the loudest about protecting the rights of others, who demand tolerance for every behavior and every lifestyle, put Christians solidly outside the circle of those they are willing to defend. Then again, we have been warned that this would be the case so it should neither discourage us nor cause us to waver in our commitment to obey the Lord and follow His commands.  This hymn should still be our song: “I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus—tho’ none go with me…”

Are you standing alone today? When someone in the workplace is being alienated, humiliated or rejected, do you reach out anyway? When your stand against profanity and degrading, demeaning jokes earns you the label of “prude” do you loosen up and “go along to get along”?  There is no place for self-righteousness or superiority in our Christian walk but we are obligated to separate ourselves from things that are displeasing to God.  We are called to love people but not sinful behaviors. We can love others without agreeing when they claim all Gods are equal and that there are many paths to salvation. We don’t have to stay silent when they declare that God is simply a figment of the imagination or the wishful thinking of weak people. The fact that they are spiritually blind is no reason for us to turn out the lights and stumble around with them. They might believe God isn’t real but I hope you spoke with Him this morning and are persuaded that He still believes in them. And, that you’re willing to tell them so!

The truth is that the One who dwells within us is far greater than the forces and powers of this world.  We have been given the power to overcome evil with good but we have to KNOW the true character of the God we serve and know that we are hidden securely in Christ in order to walk fearlessly and boldly in today’s workplace. We must spend the time with God and in His Word so that our minds are renewed and our lives transformed or we will be unable to work in the world without being influenced by it. 

We are called to be light the darkness like a city set on a hill.  We are the salt that has been spread throughout the workplace to season it with the favor and blessing of the Lord.  So be honest, how are you doing in your dark piece of the planet? If you have been blending into the crowd, now is a great time to change that.  Identify what’s holding you back—fear of man, fear of job loss, fear you won’t be able to represent the Kingdom if put to the test?  Whatever it is, God’s got your back.  He will meet you right where you are and walk with you into the destiny He has designed for you.  Remember always, when God looks at you He sees Jesus!  God sees nothing wrong with you—just some things that haven’t been developed or matured in your Christ-likeness. Spend time focused on Him and His promise is that you will become like Him.

The world needs you to rise up and stand out.  Light up the darkness wherever you are and bring God glory by pouring out His love.  Put His promises to the test by inviting Him into your most challenging circumstances and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you through them in triumph.  The world will credit you with the courage and attribute of “standing alone” but in your heart you’ll know you’re never alone. God Almighty has chosen to stand with you!

How will you know if you are demonstrating the success factor of Standing Alone? You will be someone who:

  • is willing to stand up and be counted
  • doesn’t shy away from accepting personal responsibility
  • can be counted on to stand firm and confident when times are tough
  • will be the sole champion for an idea or position if the Holy Spirit leads you to do so
  • can comfortably work alone on a tough assignment, knowing you are never really alone!

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

 

The Formula for Perseverance

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Perseverance is nothing more than the ongoing practice of patience and continued effort in pursuit of a promise or desired end result.  We have clear direction for developing patience: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-5)  That’s a pretty amazing promise.

If we would have the strength to persevere we must cultivate a willing patience—not the whiny, complaining exasperation of someone stuck in a situation against his will!  The success formula can be summed up in two words – let and knowing. You see, patience is NOT simply “waiting it out” or tolerating a bad situation until it ends.  It’s the conscious decision to let a process unfold, knowing it will produce a promised outcome.  It is the powerful combination of joyfully leaning into a trial (attitude) and confidently anticipating a desired outcome (faith.) A woman can willingly let herself go through nine months of discomfort knowing that the she will experience the joy of a having a baby. You can let problems come as they may, knowing that God loves you and has promised to work all things together for your good because you love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Now let’s apply this formula to a tough work situation.  It’s certainly not uncommon for things to take far longer than we think they should.  People get in the way or drop the ball.  Budget decisions don’t go as hoped. You get the idea. What’s called for when some goal appears to move out of reach? How are you going to handle it when there’s no sign of progress towards that end result you are pursuing?   Apply the let-knowing formula.

First and most important, let joy come up from your spirit and get happy. Whining as you go through a struggle, gathering the sympathy of others, behaving like a martyr, begrudgingly tolerating a situation until it finally ends, railing at God for being unfair, and various forms of kicking and screaming do not qualify as faith actions, nor will these behaviors produce patience or empower perseverance!

Next find a promise that you can use as your faith anchor.  Get God’s heart on the matter.  You can only be intentionally long-suffering and patient when you are absolutely convinced that God is in the waiting room with you. Knowing the promised outcome (in the character of God, confirmed by His word, and affirmed by multiple witnesses) is as good as holding an actual title deed. And yes, God is in the workplace with you and He is vitally interested in partnering with you to get excellent results.  That’s how He gets glory, remember? When you have God’s word on something you can set your course and stand in faith.  Without this, all you have is wishful thinking.

And, of course, do everything within your control to move towards the desire result. Don’t forget: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26) Probably the most important action you can take while you’re waiting is to praise God for His faithfulness and perseverance with you and give Him thanks for what’s to come. Let no words of doubt or discouragement come out of your mouth.

When you willingly stay the course, you will find the time of waiting has stretched and strengthened your faith. It turns out that practicing patience in the absence of any evidence of progress—for weeks and months on end—is the only work-out that builds faith muscle. That gives you increased perseverance for the next challenge—which is sure to come.

There’s nothing automatic, accidental or beyond your control when it comes to persevering. Were it not for God’s intentional patience with us—His decision to let mankind exercise free will in good and bad choices—we would not be on the planet today! Now it’s your turn.  Stand in the problem, holding onto your promise and watch for God’s provision and support. Keep the faith!

 

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:

  • Doesn’t give up before finishing the assignment
  • Continues in the face of resistance and setbacks
  • Overcomes obstacles with energy, drive, and optimism rooted in faith.

The Secret: Stop thinking about what you have to endure and the difficulty of the situation. Focus on how God is showing up in your life to support you and how your faith and Christlikeness is growing.  Keep your eye on the prize!

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:4.

Do You Suffer Ambiguity Angst?

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24, NLT

Do you hate it when things are up in the air?  Do you feel uncomfortable when you can’t seem to get the information you need to make the “right” decision?  Well, you are NOT going to like what I’m about to say.  The truth is that you never will have all the pertinent information to make good decisions and things will never be within your control.  When you think you have a good grip on everything, it is simply because you can’t see what you aren’t seeing!  The important question about ambiguous circumstances is this—in the midst of confusion, when everything is up in the air, is it better to be blind and know it or to be blind and think you’re seeing clearly?  You see, one of the best things that can happen to us as believers is to be confronted with how much we don’t know, aren’t aware of, and cannot understand.  Why?  Because then we just might agree with Jesus when He declared: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT) 

In truth, that bumper sticker that proudly states God is my Copilot should cause us to run over to the driver and say “Quick–change seats!  You don’t see well enough to be the pilot!” This doesn’t mean that we should get sloppy about planning or stop gathering information and following good critical thinking processes when we have situations to manage and problems to solve.  It does mean that we should always factor in the realization that we cannot see the future, we do not know what other people will do, and we may be missing important information no matter how hard we have tried to be thorough…in other words, we simply don’t have the ability to direct our own paths.  In every challenging and complex circumstance ambiguity will always be present but that is no reason for angst.

At the risk of sounding cliché, there is great comfort in being able to sincerely say “I do not know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future.”  Please notice, I did not say “I know Who holds the future.”  It is one thing to know that God stands outside of time and views all of eternity—past, present and future—as if it is happening at once.  (Boggles the mind but it’s true.)  Still, knowing that really doesn’t help with the ambiguity angst, does it?  On the other hand, knowing God personally; experiencing Him as a loving Father who will talk with you about your situations and offer His perspective on things, now that’s a different story.  As the above scripture asks, why would we need to know everything if we have a close, trusting relationship with the One who does?

What’s my point?  Stop trying to clear up the fog of ambiguity and make the all the puzzle pieces fit together and take advantage of the amazing “ambiguity-management system” you have been given. It’s called a personal relationship with God.  Take the time and energy that you have been spending trying to figure everything out on your own and invest it in quiet time with Jesus.  Look for your answers in His Word, ask for wisdom and expect to receive it. God has promised that He will be found if you seek Him.  In fact, He’s right here, right now, just waiting for you to ask Him those questions that have been puzzling you.

How will you know if you are demonstrating the Deals Effectively with Ambiguity success factor? You will be someone who:

  • confidently copes with change
  • shifts gears easily and without angst
  • can act without having the total picture
  • is calm and patient when things are up in the air
  • handles risk and uncertainty with positive expectations

The Secret: Realize that you will never understand the entire picture, but God does. Nothing is ambiguous to Him.  Put God in the driver’s seat and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit who will tell you things to come and provide you with all you need for the moment.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

It’s Time to Act

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:17

Research has demonstrated that there are common attributes evident in people who are effective and successful in the workplace. These “success factors” are demonstrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. And while these characteristics on their own may be of some value, as believers we need to take into account the very clear words of Jesus when he said, “without me, you can do nothing.” A success factor may be great characteristic to have but, like everything, if not used in line with God’s direction, it may work against us.

Take Action Orientation, for example. A quick tour through the book of Proverbs will make it very evident that laziness, a refusal to take action, is a pretty sure path to failure.  Most of us have observed first-hand how people of action are the ”movers and shakers” who make things happen. This bias for action is very useful and valued in the world of work; this is how people get things done and done quickly. We see this attribute demonstrated clearly by the mighty men who surrounded David on the battlefield. One mention from David that he was thirsty for water from the well of Bethlehem and those warriors were off to get him a drink from that well, which just happened to be deep behind enemy lines! (2 Samuel 23:16)

Unfortunately, it is very easy to go into the ditch with the overuse or misuse of this success factor. In other words, too much of this action orientation can produce frenetic activity without results and create chaos for others. So it isn’t just a willingness to take action that matters-– is also critically important that the actions taken be the right ones! And here is where believers have a great advantage. When we invite the Lord to direct our actions we can be assured that our energy is being spent correctly and effectively—IF, and this is a big if, we take the time to listen for His voice! As you go through the Bible looking for this attribute, you will see that it is frequently paired with God’s instruction first—“hear from heaven and act” (1 Kings 8:32 and 2 Chronicles 6:23), “act in the fear of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:9), and “act according to God’s statutes” and in His character (Deuteronomy 4:5).  These are the safeguards that will keep us from acting presumptuously and foolishly.

This doesn’t mean that we will never make mistakes, because we will. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others will always agree with our actions, because they won’t.  It only means that we can have confidence that the Lord is ordering our steps and that our actions are in line with His will for our lives. Remember also that God makes no promise that the actions we take will keep us from experiencing problems, trials, and challenges. In this world and in today’s workplace, we are guaranteed to encounter difficulties wherever we go. After all, these are the very experiences that will grow and mature us in our faith. So give up every expectation of living a comfortable life and join the adventure of an action-packed life led by the Spirit of God! You can act confidently, however, knowing that God is in every circumstance with you and that He always “leads in triumph.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:

  • Enjoys working hard.
  • Has a bias for action and is full of energy for challenging tasks.
  • Is not fearful of acting even when planning time has been insufficient.
  • Seizes more opportunities and accomplishes more than others.

The Secret: Listen for God’s voice. Then, claim the promise “he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Sizing Up Others

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.‘” 1 Samuel 16:7

Do you get that there are two ways of “seeing” people and sizing them up?  The Bible is filled with stories about times when God showed up and described people in ways that definitely did not fit the behaviors or character they were demonstrating at the time.  Gideon was not acting like a mighty man of valor as he threshed wheat under-cover in a winepress.  Creative and resourceful, maybe — but not mighty or valiant.  Imagine God choosing Moses, a stuttering murderer, to liberate millions of slaves and lead them to a promised land. And who can overlook the guys chosen by Jesus himself to be His closest friends—fishermen, tax collector… Can you honestly say that His selection criteria make any sense to you?

No question about it, God doesn’t see people the way the world views them and His way of sizing people up is radically different as well. As followers of Christ, imitators of His nature, we need to learn to see through His eyes as we size up others too.  It takes some skill to accurately assess candidates for an employment assignment and work task. Best practice in the workplace is to rely on past performance and behavior as the best predictor of future performance. Using that measuring stick, would rough fisherman Peter have been selected into the inner circle of the Savior and Redeemer of mankind?  For that matter, would pharisee Saul have been selected  to be the gospel voice for the entire gentile world and the radical reformer of the Jewish faith? Do you remember who you were and what you had to offer when Jesus saved you? Thank God that He does not select people based on their character, condition and merits! No, God sees people as He created them—perfect and priceless. He has placed believers in Christ so that we look just like Jesus when He views us. How amazing is that?

I spent time with a friend this weekend and he was venting about a female supervisor in his workplace who he described as a loud, vulgar and frequently profane micro-manager.  The more I heard, the more the picture formed of a woman behaving far from her true identity.  In my mind I saw this frightened and insecure person trying hard to fit into a dominantly male world by emulating her idea of “manly” behaviors—domineering, loud, crass and harsh. None of her efforts will ever produce the acceptance and respect she is probably hoping for but I doubt she has a back-up plan to try when her current strategy fails. Not only is she not who she is designed to be but she is also keeping her subordinates from achieving their potential and living out their designs.  As I thought about this situation I could feel the compassion in me rising up for her. I wondered if this is what Jesus sees and feels as He looks at her.

Obviously, the world is quick to judge and to condemn.   Unfortunately, in far too many instances, believers cannot be distinguished from the world when it comes to rendering judgment and speaking words of disrespect. What representation of God’s glorious Kingdom do we give when we size up people as the world does?  I am certain we add no value and no blessing  to the lives of others with our surface observations and natural reactions. I am equally certain that most people are well aware of their shortcomings and failures and do not require others to point them out.  But if we are not to respond as the world does, what are we supposed to do when we find ourselves with these broken and sometimes toxic people? As imitators of Christ, what’s our reaction to be when we see people behaving badly and falling short of their potential? 

The Bible is clear on this.  We are to love others and to believe the best about them.  We are called to encourage and to give hope. We are to follow the example of Jesus, no matter what it costs us.  He led with love and mercy; He freely forgave; He spoke to people as if they were already healed; and, He blessed them every time.  Jesus met people right where they were, in sin and failure, but saw in them the potential for wholeness and destiny.  That’s our calling as well.

Let’s start with the knowledge that God loves all mankind with a perfect love and it is His desire that none should perish.  He places us in dark and chaotic places with people who need the light, love and mercy of God.  He will grant us eyes to see others as He sees them and wisdom to understand how to reach their hearts and give them hope – if we are willing to serve as His agents. Don’t miss the fact that you may be the only person in someone’s life who can tell them the Truth about their design, identity and future instead of simply pointing out the inadequacies and shortcomings that are true of them today. 

Remember too that Jesus continued to love and fellowship with Peter and the other disciples even after they betrayed Him and ran for cover at the crucifixion. So there is no time and no circumstance that makes it okay for us to treat others with anything less than love, acceptance and encouragement. Of course, our human love and capability will never be adequate for this assignment. It is only possible when we abide in Christ and allow His love and grace to pour through us. And that is the very best part.  As we seek Jesus and open ourselves to all the peace, joy and love He has for us, we will be blessed beyond measure. Then and only then will we be able to give away what we have received and hold up a mirror that reveals in others their true identities. So, the next time you see people messing up badly, ask for the eyes of Christ to accurately “size them up.”  Pray for them and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to interact with them as Jesus would. Get ready to be a blessing and to see lives transformed by the powerful, unlimited love of God!

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:

  • Judges talent by discovering the design of God in that other;
  • Sees others through the eyes of Christ, seeing what is Truth not just what may be true about them;
  • After reasonable exposure, can articulate the strengths of people and leverage them;
  • Declares the present/future to people, declaring who they are becoming, not who they are today.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Kingdom Career Ambition

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Ambition, for the right cause, is not a problem.  Passion and ambition are attributes given by God to fuel the fire that Jesus started; a wildfire to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God!  But Career Ambition? Do you really want to expend all your passion and gifts on the pursuit of an upward-spiraling series of work assignments and positions? To what end—so that you can leave a nice resume behind when you die? Let’s be clear, whatever work you do must be done with excellence and to the best of your ability.  At the same time, your greatest joy and sense of purpose will be found if you are willing and flexible enough to be led by the Spirit to any place God wants to place you.  That means some of your assignments may appear to be moves in the wrong direction—lateral moves, backward moves, moves to unglamorous organizations that need your help…  As salt and light in the workplace, believers should never be surprised to find themselves in some pretty dark places.  In other words, the “career path” you may be asked to follow could look foolish to the world but, where the Spirit leads, the possibilities for making a Kingdom impact are great.

So think about this—what really bothers you, in the workplace and in the world right now? What human plight causes you to burn with the righteous anger of God? Now, what are you prepared to do about that?  Turn your ambition towards that pressing need and ask God how you can expend your energy and gifts to make a difference in that situation.  Perhaps you will earn the money that fuels missionaries and ministries working for that cause.  Perhaps you will work directly in and for organizations that are meeting that need. Whether you make your contribution directly or indirectly it takes intentionality to make a difference…you cannot make an impact if you wait for some time in the future to start contributing.  Make a small step today and keep moving. You can actually earn eternal compensation in heaven.  How about that?

And wherever you are working, make it your personal cause to demonstrate all the fruits of the Spirit every day and in every situation.  Love, peace, joy, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, goodness, and self-control are, unfortunately, uncommon worker attributes today. Have the ambition to imitate Christ with these characteristics and you will change the lives of your coworkers and the culture of the organizations in which you work.

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:

  • knows what you wants from life and actively works on it daily
  • is knowledgeable about and excellent in the practices of the workplace
  • trusts God for assignments, compensation and promotions
  • makes things happen as directed by the Spirit

The Secret: Shift your focus from what you want to build as a career to the legacy you desire to leave behind—in the workplace, in your community and in your family—as your “Kingdom footprint.” But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19

 

It’s Time to Act

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:17

Research has demonstrated that there are common attributes evident in people who are effective and successful in the workplace. These “success factors” are demonstrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. And while these characteristics on their own may be of some value, as believers we need to take into account the very clear words of Jesus when he said, “without me, you can do nothing.” A success factor may be great characteristic to have but, like everything, if not used in line with God’s direction, it may work against us.

Take Action Orientation, for example. A quick tour through the book of Proverbs will make it very evident that laziness, a refusal to take action, is a pretty sure path to failure.  Most of us have observed first-hand how people of action are the ”movers and shakers” who make things happen. This bias for action is very useful and valued in the world of work; this is how people get things done and done quickly. We see this attribute demonstrated clearly by the mighty men who surrounded David on the battlefield. One mention from David that he was thirsty for water from the well of Bethlehem and those warriors were off to get him a drink from that well, which just happened to be deep behind enemy lines! (2 Samuel 23:16)

 Unfortunately, it is very easy to go into the ditch with the overuse or misuse of this success factor. In other words, too much of this action orientation can produce frenetic activity without results and create chaos for others. So it isn’t just a willingness to take action that matters-– is also critically important that the actions taken be the right ones! And here is where believers have a great advantage. When we invite the Lord to direct our actions we can be assured that our energy is being spent correctly and effectively—IF, and this is a big if, we take the time to listen for His voice! As you go through the Bible looking for this attribute, you will see that it is frequently paired with God’s instruction first—“hear from heaven and act” (1 Kings 8:32 and 2 Chronicles 6:23), “act in the fear of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:9), and “act according to God’s statutes” and in His character (Deuteronomy 4:5).  These are the safeguards that will keep us from acting presumptuously and foolishly.

This doesn’t mean that we will never make mistakes, because we will. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others will always agree with our actions, because they won’t.  It only means that we can have confidence that the Lord is ordering our steps and that our actions are in line with His will for our lives. Remember also that God makes no promise that the actions we take will keep us from experiencing problems, trials, and challenges. In this world and in today’s workplace, we are guaranteed to encounter difficulties wherever we go. After all, these are the very experiences that will grow and mature us in our faith. So give up every expectation of living a comfortable life and join the adventure of an action-packed life led by the Spirit of God! You can act confidently, however, knowing that God is in every circumstance with you and that He always “leads in triumph.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:

  • Enjoys working hard.
  • Has a bias for action and is full of energy for challenging tasks.
  • Is not fearful of acting even when planning time has been insufficient.
  • Seizes more opportunities and accomplishes more than others.

The Secret: Listen for God’s voice. Then, claim the promise “he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Battle for the Workplace

There’s a spiritual battle being fought over the workplace. The armies of the Lord and true followers of Christ are warring against the forces of the Enemy and the economy of the world. What’s being fought for is the hearts of workers including, unfortunately, the hearts of many believers who don’t even realize they’ve been captured and imprisoned in this battle. That statement may strike you as odd and you may be wondering how hearts could be won or lost in the workplace. In many cases the hearts of those in the workplace may seem to be nowhere in sight. But the truth is that work has become an idol in the lives of countless workers…they spend all their time and talents trying to build empires, create reputations, amass fortunes, and gain status by serving gods of the workplace for the treasures they think they’ll find there.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with working hard; industriousness is truly a virtue. There is no dispute that God created man to be fruitful and to be responsible for the cultivation of the Earth through productive effort. In Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 we read “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Man was designed for work and in working to find satisfaction. Our Creator intended for us to be happy and to do good. But while workers were devoting themselves to working hard, an Enemy entered the picture and began to pervert the original purpose of work. Over time men were lead to believe that work itself was the source of happiness, satisfaction, food, and purpose; obtaining things with income earned became the sole purpose for expending effort and talent. A subtle and persistent distraction has diverted attention from the true Source and Provider and focused attention on the world’s glittering counterfeits—leisure and entertainment, luxurious lifestyles, comfortable circumstances and self-serving pursuits.
And so a battle is raging for the hearts of workers everywhere — caught up in situations ranging from overwork to unemployment, from drudgery and lack to frenzy, fame and material excess. To address the situation God is completely engaged in this fight today. Furthermore, He is the only One who is willing and able to pull us out of this workplace mess and rescue us from the Enemy’s deception and world’s economy. Jesus is the One God sent to accomplish that purpose 2,000 years ago and He is still in the redemption business today, thank God! Believers have only to follow Jesus as He makes a way out for us. And here’s His first start-up instruction. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37, NIV)