With the current unemployment rate reaching a 15 year high at 7.2 % as of January 2009, according to Wallstats.com, I begin to think I'm not alone. Although, needless to say, this does little to assuage the pain of being unable to accomplish everyday tasks such as paying bills, putting food on the table, and purchasing my morning Starbucks. Having found myself in an economy that is rapidly disintegrating, despite what the positive-thinking economist being paid to make us feel better say, I find myself searching beyond the stats, the figures, and the national news broadcasts for answers.
I moved to northern Minnesota about 5 months ago, and despite applying to over two dozen businesses, I have yet to land anything promising, having had a mere two interviews following the submissions of my resumes. Again, I am forced to look through the circumstances, because if I don't I fear I may falter. I have chosen to place my trust, ever more resolutely, in the God who has the "cattle on a thousand hills." (Psalm 50:10) Perhaps, He would need some help on His farm? After all, He did say that the "harvest is ready, but the laborers are few."(Lk 10:2) Though some may claim this as a fall back, I make the argument that, indeed, it should be our first choice for employment. Meaning, that if we claim to truly trust God to provide, to take care of His children, should we not first be seeking how to play our part in helping bring in the great harvest? We must believe that if we pursue what should be of primary concern, our needs will be met. This is not to say that we abandon all hope of employment by this worlds employers, for we are told to be good stewards, and are also informed that if we do not provide for our families we are "worse than unbelievers." (1 Tim. 5:8) However, while we continue to pursue to be godly men through employment, we must maintain our focus on that which is truly rewarding, the employment of soul-winning.
This has never been more clear, to me, than now. It is sad that it has taken this extreme position of desperation, but there it is. As so often noted, it is simply when we have no lower to fall that we finally look upwards. Graciously, our God is merciful, and is willing, indeed, even desiring, that we return to our labor no matter the circumstances in which we finally make that appeal to be involved in His service.
So, the question is what may we do while constantly pursuing "worldly" employment, to become a part of Christ's staff? I would say that we must return to the Employers' handbook to get our start. The beauty of this company, is that while it gives directions to be greatly heeded, it provides the freedom for us to implement the instruction through various means of our choosing. As far as I see it, the first command given is to "go and make disciples..."(Matt. 28:19). Again, a principle is given, and it is left up to us to figure out the means by which we may help accomplish this end. For many years the general consensus regarding this command was practiced by training, funding, and sending people to far away countries to become involved in a distant culture. While this is still greatly needed, for all need to hear the "benefits" that our "employer" offers, often the best market into which we may begin is our very own block, neighborhood, city. Initially told to begin in Jerusalem and them move beyond (acts 1:8), we may adopt this method for ourselves. In my opinion, one of our primary objectives must be to become actively involved the local "branch" of the universal "company", the local expression of the universal church. Why is this so important? According to Joshua Harris it is "...because as the visible "body of Christ" in the world, the local church is central to God's plan for every generation" (Stop Dating the Church, Multnomah Pub,2004) Simply stated, our local church is the neighborhood example of what the universal church represents. Though this may be a scary for some, considering the great blunders, mishaps, and outright sins that the universal church has been guilty of in the past, if we hope to have any impact within our new "company", we must embrace the quirks, the faults, and oddities of our local church and do our part to remain faithful to the first order of business, the making of disciples. Some may find a strong distaste in their mouth left from bad past church experiences, hesitant to get involved, though the importance of actually being involved in a local church has never been more accurately stated than by Charles Spurgeon when he said, "I know there are some who say, 'Well, I have given myself to the Lord, but I do not intend to give myself to the church...because I can be a Christian without it. Are you quite clear about that? You can be as good a Christian by disobedience to your Lord's commands as by being obedient? What is a brick made for? To help build a house. It is of no use for that brick to tell you that it is just as good a brick while it is kicking about on the ground as it would be in the house. It is a good-for-nothing brick."
As good employees, it behooves us to not be a "good-for-nothing brick". Because there is much need for our "CEO's" words to be declared everywhere, and because we cannot be everywhere, we must make these words known by living faithfully and truly where we are at. Right now. The importance of this cannot be overstated. You and I must be involved in the local expression of the universal church, and we must remain faithful to the decree to make disciples. As this is our primary term of employment in Christ's work, will you join me in making it a priority? I hope you do...
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