(In case you are not aware, my REAL job is serving as a Workplace Chaplain for a
chain of nursing homes. If you work anywhere within 300 miles of me, we need to
talk about my services, by the way. This is a message I sent out today from which I've
already received very positive comments... I pray that it blesses you as well.)
My 18-year old daughter is looking for another job. I can't blame her. She gets
paid well enough (for 18), has loads of impressive responsibilities, but has to
travel 45 minutes at 4am and has no benefits. She's married and has a new baby.
She needs more and deserves more, but that's her daddy talking.
She wisely sought counsel and prayer regarding her situation and has
concentrated her efforts on putting together an impressive resume (for an 18-year
old), buying a few choice "interview clothes," but has agreed to concentrate her
efforts on giving her boss everything she has until she leaves. Anything less is
stealing, frankly, and she knows that. She's a great kid and I'm proud of her. It's
fun watching her grow as a woman, a mother and, especially, as one seeking
after Jesus Christ and knowing Him.
After tweaking her resume with her last night, I woke up thinking about YOU, my
friends in the Nursing Home business. How many faces have I seen come and go
in the past year? I recall visiting one nursing home where I did not recognize a
single person during a particular shift! I wanted to speak to that issue for a moment
with some "pastoral" and "fatherly" advice, if I may.
GROW WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED
My recommendation to anybody is to "Grow where you're planted." If you are
faithful with the little things, God will make you a ruler over much more as you
prove you can be trusted with it. We are merely stewards of this life, not owners.
We were bought with a price, remember? How are you stewarding the job God
gave you? We are getting paid to do A,B and C, but it's the C's and the D's
that will make the difference. Those are the "above and beyond the call" type
things that will prove to serve you very well.
Are you proving to be a "Change Agents" in the workplace? Are you a Thermometer
Christian or a Thermostat Christian? You see, you have resident within you
everything you need to make the work environment BETTER than it was when
you got there. After all, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells
WITHIN YOU (Rom 8:11).
Are you doing all that you can with the resources you've been given - not just
as an employee but as a Christian? You are surrounded every day with people
who need to see and know Christ within you. Are you being of assistance to
them? I am pleased to hear from my coworkers who are ministering to THEIR
coworkers and are writing or calling me for advice and scriptural counsel. It
thrills me to see coworkers attending Bible Studies and dragging friends and
even family members who don't work with us, into those gatherings. I love when
you approach me with testimonies of things that God is doing in your lives. Are
you sharing those with coworkers? We have been given absolute freedom by
our Employer to attend Bible Studies, have prayer meetings and the like. Are
you taking advantage of the opportunity and striking while the iron's hot?
Promotion doesn't come from the East or the West; it comes from above. God
will promote us to the place where He can best utilize us once we prove worthy.
A former employer of mine - a fine Christian man - told me that he was not
surprised when I told him I was leaving him after 5 years. He said "God had already
prepared me." As a Christian, he was my Brother moreso than my boss, a member
of the Body of Christ. Why would God prepare me and not him? It was the
smoothest of transitions in every way. We're still friends 7 years later.
It isn't hard to get promoted by an employer these days. Arrive early, leave late
and bust your tail in between. With so many sluggards just trying to "get by" with
the bare minimum in the workplace today, working as if they're doing the company
a favor by showing up, it doesn't take much to stand out as a self-starting achiever.
That kind of a work ethic cannot help but get noticed these days.
To those who are forever scanning the classified ads, looking for the proverbial
"greener grass," the truth is, it's usually astro-turf, fake and plastic. In other words,
don't fall for that dangling carrot. Happiness comes from within, NEVER comes
from without. Many years ago, I counseled a woman who was earning $100,000
annually - $50K from TWO consulting jobs. She looked good, smelled good but was
miserable, confessing that she was happier when she was a single mom raising two
kids alone in an apartment. Within a week, she ran over to me as I was headed into
a meeting, smiling and rejoicing as she informed me that she had quit one of those
jobs and was SO relieved.
THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN EMPLOYEE: PRAYING AND THANKING GOD
We hear so much about "The Purpose-Driven Life" these days. Nothing gets me
out of bed like knowing that I must be about my Father's business. He didn't create
me to sleep. Somebody out there within the realm of influence that He's given me
NEEDS the One who sent me. If THAT doesn't get a Christian out of bed in the
morning, enthusiastically armed with a purpose, something's out of focus.
Give thanks at ALL times! Boy, there's a secret the devil does NOT want The
Church to take hold of! Are we giving thanks for our jobs? How about the
freedom we have to come and go and receive a good wage? I speak to many 3rd
World Christians and I promise you, we are quite wealthy in comparison. Sadly,
satan has given us a ridiculous amount of things on which to blow our wealth
and his scheme is working quite well. Are we thankful for even the seemingly
BAD stuff. Friends, I've had some BAD stuff happen to me. From an incurable
spinal disease to, well...that 18-year old daughter I mentioned who came from
an affair my first wife had before she divorced me (she's been divorced three
times now but is growing in the Lord, realizes she's forgiven and that we all
make mistakes and has given me permission, after 14 years, to share that story,
knowing that it will probably help others considering abortion, struggling with
Are we praying for those in authority over our lives, from Department Heads
to the nation's President, these are directives from Scripture that we are not in a
position to pick and choose. Friends, we cannot hate anybody we're praying for.
We may start out hating them but, in time, you will actually develop a love
and compassion for them and what makes them tick. I PROMISE! From
ex-spouses to mean-spirited coworkers, this works!
GOD IS @ WORK!
Nothing is sadder to me than to run into former coworkers who left one job in
pursuit of the Almighty Dollar and found themselves in another, perhaps
earning more, yet, hating what they do or what it's costing them. Quite often it's
discovered too late that the trade-off's simply weren't worth it. Sadly, the
door a person closed behind them was bolted shut when they walked out. They
were not welcome back.
By nature, we tend to live our lives in search of more sweet-smelling roses.
Truth is, it's those thorns that are serving us best and making us stronger for
the fight. The "grace-growers"must come - those hard case individuals and
circumstances that even Jesus had to face (He was sent by the Holy Spirit to
be tempted by the devil, after all; we and God Almighty MUST discover what
we're made of).
Next time you say or hear the muttered phrase "Good morning" or "Have a nice
day"...next time somebody mumbles an obligatory "How ya doin'," whisper a
breath-prayer for them and a prayer of thanks for your own situation.
Regardless of what it looks like, truth is, God has a plan. This, too, shall pass.
He is conforming us into the image of His Son and we ALL have a long way to
go. But He's the Potter and we are the clay. Anyone who's ever worked with clay
knows it must be pounded, stretch, pulled, broken and that's BEFORE it gets
placed in the fire for hardening. Even after it's finished, that clay vessel is often
cracked or broken. In God's Kingdom economy, It's THOSE that are the ONLY
vessels He can use!
Yes, God uses crack-pots!
No, we're not always going to love our jobs, but we ARE called to love those
WITH whom we do our jobs, FOR whom we do our jobs and the One who GAVE
us that job in the first place, God Himself, who orders our steps and opens our
doors. If we, whom Jesus referred to as Salt and Light, flee from every seemingly
"dark" situation, the darkness will remain dark. So, let your Light shine, Christ
within you, the Hope of Glory.
I pray that you are blessed today. I pray that you will remain in an attitude of
gratitude for all the GOOD things that you've been given AND those for that are
coming. I pray that you will embrace the thorns and the grace-growers that come
and test you. I pray that you will grow where you're planted and look for
opportunities to BE a blessing rather than counting the ways you're not being
blessed (we reap as we sow, therefore, sow). I pray that you will realize that God
is concerned with everything that concerns you and that He has ALREADY
given you all the power you need to life as an Overcomer - the Power of the
Holy Spirit within you - if only you will appropriate that power, decreasing that
He may increase.
God bless you.