"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the captives whom I have caused to be carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build yourselves houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat the fruit of them. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; MULTIPLY THERE, AND DO NOT BE DIMINISHED. And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have welfare." -The Greatest Love Story
Are you loyal to the place you are currently (employed, living or worshipping) at?
God gave His people 9 keys to prospering in a difficult work environment, living arrangement or season of their life:
2. Dwell (take residence; have dominion)
6. Multiply (increase the population of people with your DNA)
7. Replenish (the earth or industry you are in by reproducing yourself) AND
8. Seek and pray (for the prosperity, security and stability of the city or workplace you represent.)
For God to open any doors in your life, He must first open your mouth. And out of your mouth must flow the right thing. James wrote about this powerful instrument that creates life and death in Chapter 3:2, 10-12:
"For we all often stumble and fall and offend in MANY THINGS. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water."
In other words, you are going to make mistakes; but don't compound the mistake with a destructive tongue.
You were designed to be a blessing, not a curse.
For the blessing to be constant and not disrupted, God's people had to change their speech. They could not allow their emotions to rule them. Likewise, sometimes in the most challenging circumstance, you and I must make a decision to pray for the peace and welfare of the place or person that has hurt us. For some, this means to pray for the place we have been complaining or speaking against.
The Israelites were captives in Babylon. Their cities had been burned with fire; their walls had been torn down, their weapons had been dulled and Nebuchadnezzar spared no mercy or pity on them, smiting them with the sword as they fought for their city and future.
Now they were captives (employees) for him.
Can you imagine all the negative words the survivors had for him? Yet God told them: "EAT YOUR WORDS--MULTIPLY THERE AND DO NOT BE DIMINISHED."
In other words, "I have put you there on that job, in that city for a season and if you will multiply and not be diminished; if you will pray for the welfare of the city you despise, when seventy years are completed for Babylon (because there is an expiration date for your pain, for that dead end job, that sickness, your years of loyalty to that job or plateau of business), IT WILL BE MY TURN; and I will visit you and keep My good promise to you, causing you to rebuild the cities and reclaim the opportunities lost; For your waste and desolate places and your land [once the scene] of destruction surely now [IN COMING YEARS] will be too narrow to accommodate your population or house, and those who once swallowed you up will be far away. For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."
The difference between Saul and David was presumption (instead of faith.) Saul was always moving ahead of God; he was always hasty in his decisions, so God tore the kingdom away from him. Yet David, even after being anointed, but not crowned king yet, constantly wrote in Psalms, "WAIT PATIENTLY, I SAY, ON THE LORD."
In fact, he spurned opportunities to kill Saul (who tried to kill him) because he knew if God put him on the throne, no man could remove him.
RIGHT NOW, God is requiring us to give honor to those that have rule over us and commanding us to pray for the peace and welfare of the place we are at (in order to experience the same and) to demonstrate trustworthiness of the dream in our heart.
Because wherever we rule, He will demand fidelity (loyalty), and commitment to flow from our leadership.
Fred Reichheld, once said, "Loyalty is not about people or boss. Loyalty is about being accountable to a set of rules."
Are you accountable to the culture and expectations of those you work with?
It's interesting, while interviewing people for an open position this past week, one of the applicants came in and told me that while playing volleyball in college, his coach once instructed him before going entering the game:
1. KNOW THE SCORE WHEN YOU GET INTO THE GAME AND
2. WHEN YOU LEAVE THE GAME, THE SCORE MUST HAVE CHANGED.
How do you change the score of the game for your team, employer, business, school, church or family?
Do you increase ticketholders, sales, clients, members, growth, department size, profitability and office morale?
Can your contribution be quantified on your resume and in your case studies (testimonials) or do you just use clichés when describing your work ethic, by saying, "I work hard?"
Regardless of what you think about those that have rule over you, you must contribute to the brand, profitability and culture where you live, work and learn to one day have your own.
GET OVER WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT YOU.
Not even God change the past. The old adage says, "hurt" people, HURT PEOPLE.
But you cannot live or work wounded:
• Wounded people are touchy people, fretful people, and easily offended.
• Wounded people can be easily infected and are contagious.
• Wounded people can cause widespread epidemics, disease, panic and possible death.
• Wounded people are prone to catching what other wounded people have.
• When you are wounded, you will carry those wounds into other relationships (work, love, family, etc) and destroy them.
The Israelites had to make a decision to live and work without offense with those that offended them.
Today, God is calling you to do that. If you are living in offense, rest assured it is only because you have placed too much dependency or power on other people for your final outcome.