Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Importance of Being Earnest (not about the play) (08/04/11)
TITLE: Red vs. Blue
By Joshua Janoski
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Both got you in the door of the building with a single swipe, but that’s where the similarities ended. It was good to be blue and tough to be red. That’s what all employees who were handed the red-edged, square piece of plastic quickly learned. John was one of those who wore the red badge of courage around his neck, and Lord knew it took a lot of courage to wear it.
It seemed silly that such a trivial detail such as the color of your security ID tag would make such a huge difference, especially at a non-profit organization set on ending the world’s poverty. But blue meant you worked for the ministry and red meant you were a contractor. You were only expected to be there a short time and then vanish as other short term opportunities came your way. This meant no benefits, no participating in company events, and worst of all no respect from co-workers.
John kept telling himself that it was ok. He had survived nine months with the promises that if a full time opportunity opened up then he would have top consideration. His contract kept getting extended month after month. Was this a blessing, or was this their way of just leaving him hanging with no real intention of ever bringing him into their family?
God I’m doing this for you. I want this job to bring glory to your name. That was his daily prayer as he took the twenty minute drive to work. Today was Wednesday, which meant blue badges got to spend an hour in chapel being uplifted and encouraged, while he sat at the service desk answering phone calls and working with customers who decided not to attend the service.
I’m surprised they don’t have separate drinking fountains for us red badges. John thought to himself as he worked on a PC that wouldn’t connect wirelessly to the network. His attitude had become one of disparity and hopelessness. He wrestled with anger, and sadness, and jealousy, but all of this was masked with a fake smile that he wore on his face day after day.
The buildings were decorated with pictures of children and families from various third world countries. God used these pictures to remind John of why he was called to the ministry and why he must stay the course and not divert from that calling. He stood looking at the smiling face of a crippled boy doing his schoolwork. John’s God given talents and abilities were being used to help free children, such as this precious boy, from a life of hopelessness and despair. The struggles he was going through were nothing compared to what these children and their families were facing every day. Even if John never got to exchange his red badge for a blue one, at least he would know that there would be food on the table when he got home and that he wouldn’t have to worry about dying from starvation or disease.
Several more months had passed by, and in that time John’s attitude had changed dramatically. With prayer and repentance came a renewed outlook on his job, a real smile, and the news that he would soon be converted to a full time employee. His red badge would be exchanged for a blue one. However, John didn’t realize just what a blessing this truly was until he sat in new employee orientation. He listened as leaders of the ministry came and spoke about the organization, its history, and what it truly stood for. The heart of the leadership was unlike any he had seen before. Not all of their decisions were perfect, but whose were? God used imperfect beings to accomplish his perfect plan.
“Nice blue badge” one of the contractor’s said to John when he returned from orientation. John smiled. “Thank you. I’m excited to see you receive yours soon. Hang in there! It will happen.”
John began crying as he drove home. Blue badge, red badge, it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that lives were being changed through his service and dedication to this ministry. God was using him in a big way. He could never thank him enough for allowing him to be a vessel in which he would free the poor from their poverties. He cried out again with repentance and with thanksgiving to the God who placed him exactly where he wanted him to be.
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