Monday, May 21, 2012

Illustration: “Holding the Father’s Hand”

I recently visited, one of my favorite websites for researching and studying the Bible.

Here is an illustration I found that gives us a good picture of what it's like when we take hold of the Lord’s hand...

 An interesting thing happened one day. A father was walking with his toddler close behind. They were going from a Sunday school building to the sanctuary of the main church building. The father, knowing they were approaching a set of about 20 steps going down to a parking lot and concerned that the son may fall, admonished the two-year-old, "hold daddy's hand." The youngster sternly shook his head 'no' and kept following along a couple steps in behind dad. They came to the top of the steps. The toddler stopped, looked down that long drop, looked up at his dad, and reached his hand out for his Father's firm grip. How often we are like that with our heavenly Father. He asks of us, "take hold of my hand." Often, we see no need. But our Father knows what lies ahead. Better to place our hands firmly in the grip of the Father before we face the possibility of perilous times.

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Your Work Matters to God

Before my husband and I were blessed with children, I worked outside of the home. Three of those years were spent in the linens and housewares department at Montgomery Ward. After two years of employment there, I began to become dissatisfied with my position, and strongly disliked being there. I started focusing more on the negatives of my job, rather than on why the Lord had placed me there for that time. In my mind, I was working outside of the home ONLY because my husband and I needed the money.

While it is true that we did need the money (still being newly married and trying to save up enough funds to buy our own house), money should not be the ONLY reason why we work.

According to Doug Sherman and William Hendricks in their book “Your Work Matters to God,” (this may sound like a book review, but its not. This is a book I was required to read while attending college, and it made an impact on me) there are 5 purposes for our everyday work: 
  1. Through work we serve people.
  2. Through work we meet our own needs.
  3. Through work we meet our family’s needs.
  4. Through work we earn money to give to others.
  5. Through work we love God.
With these thoughts in mind, I asked several friends to answer a few questions about their work, and here are the answers I received. These answers show how, no matter what kind of “work” we are doing (being in the secular workforce, in full-time ministry, a homemaker, retired, or even being unemployed), we can and should be working for the Lord, keeping our focus on Him rather than on ourselves...

JULIE, Insurance Agent
What my work entails: selling insurance policies (residents of Illinois) to the general public or to contacts that I call (home, auto, life, health).

What I enjoy about my work: I love being directly involved with the public.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: I am a "talker" (Yes, she is!) so I end up in conversations with probably 80% of my clients; I am, therefore, always able to mention how thankful I am that the Lord has provided me with an opportunity to "help" people by explaining the coverages of an insurance policy to them so they can understand it; and at the same time being honest with them that if my companies rates are not better, I will tell them that as well. In the 4 years I have been an agent you would be surprised how many clients and I have prayed together right here in my little office. 

(That's awesome, Julie! Thanks for sharing.)

GINA, Teacher
What my work entails: Teaching young adolescents.

What I enjoy about my work: I love the honesty and enthusiasm of the kids.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: I try to show the students Christian values, make them feel safe and valued, and let "my light shine!"

(Sounds like it can be a very challenging, yet rewarding job, Gina. Thanks for sharing!)

LISA, Dental Hygienist & Mother
What my work entails: helping people to get their mouth healthy in many ways.

What I enjoy about my work: seeing the turn around in someone’s life when their mouth becomes healthier.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: I would probably say talking about my kids and maybe encouraging someone to become a foster parent or mentor to help kids. Also telling someone about adoption!

(You are the right person to talk to about adoption, Lisa! What a great way to serve the Lord by serving others in this way.)

VICTOR, Self-employed
What my work entails: mostly landscaping, but also some carpentry and commercial cleaning.

What I enjoy about my work: making good relationships with my customers.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: providing some work for those who have a hard time getting a job.

(Thanks for sharing, Vic. Giving others a chance when no one else will is very noble.)

LORILEE CRAKER, Freelance writer and Author
What my work entails: What doesn't it entail? :) Seriously, I do all kinds of things, from writing about a new play coming to town to researching the Apostle Peter for my book about Heaven.

What I enjoy about my work: It's an honor to interview creative people, and have their ideas enrich my life. I love going to plays and concerts of all kinds, and interacting with other writers!

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: In my newspaper work, I see myself as being a salt and light to a sometimes dark and confused people group--entertainers, musicians and actors. It's amazing how God opens hearts to talk. My gift is encouragement, and I hope to give my readers "fresh courage" and hope to face the day.

(You can read more from Lorilee over at SHOEFLY PIE. She's an amazing author.)

JUDY BATES, The Bargainomics Lady
What my work entails: Sharing Biblical truths about money management.

What I enjoy about my work: It helps people realize their responsibility to be good managers of God’s blessings and, in many cases, helps free people from the bondage of debt.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: My prayer every day is to be used of God, whether it’s through an article I write, a person who reads one of my books, or through a kind word or deed done for the glory of God. If we belong to Jesus, we are called to serve as He taught us by example.

(Judy is the author of some great books over at THE BARGAINOMICS LADY. Check them out!)
CHARITY, Household Manager
What my work entails: I am snuggler, question answerer, maid, chef, teacher, counselor, boo-boo cleaner upper, gardener, nutritionist, encourager, prayer warrior, secretary, accountant, and the list could go on but basically I am learning to be flexible enough to be what my husband, children, and Lord need me to be. I also hope to one day be a published author, but that goal takes a second place to the ones mentioned above.

What I enjoy about my work: I enjoy it very much. Let me say this-- My worst day at home is better than my best day in the workforce ever was. I am not saying that I was not able to do good things when I was a mental health/substance abuse therapist because the Lord did use me in that capacity. However, I believe I am where I need to be right now and that the Lord wants me to be making disciples, starting with my children, then making disciples through my home life. The sense of purpose this gives me has been amazing.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: My husband and I have the goal to reach as many for the Gospel as we can in our lifetime and to raise children who are able to reach more with the Gospel than we ever could. I believe that my time is spent raising up the next generation of leaders that our society needs. It starts in my home with my family. Then as the Lord allows others to come through our home I believe it will spread. I am praying for the Lord to turn our nation back to him and I am asking him to use my home in the process.

(Charity has such good insight. You can read more from her over at her own blog:  VANDERHOOF HOUSE.)

AMY, Homemaker
What my work entails: Cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, dishes, paying bills, cuddling with kids, playing games, nursing them back to health when their sick, reading to them, chauffer, hostess...

What I enjoy about my work: The fun time I get to spend with my kids and watch them grow spiritually and physically.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: By raising the children to be generous and loving members of their community and to represent Christ in everything they do.

CARIE, Homemaker
What my work entails: cleaning, cooking, taxiing, schedule managing, hug giving, listening, reading, praying, teaching.

What I enjoy about my work: The time I am able to spend with my husband and children.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: I am serving the Lord by training up my children to know and serve Him. I also try to serve others and be an encouragement on their journey.

(I agree, Amy and Carie! Being a homemaker myself, it is very rewarding serving my family while, at the same time, teaching and training our children to serve the Lord. By the way, Carie also blogs over at LIVING LOVING & LEARNING WITH THE LORD.)

JUDY, Homemaker
What my work entails: Keeping my home with Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 as my guidelines. I have been able to save money on food and clothes by gardening and sewing, among other activities.

What I enjoy about my work: Feeling that I'm serving God by having a peaceful home for my family. Less mess, less stress. I've always thought our home should be a refuge. No matter what happens "out there" we feel safe, loved, and accepted at home. My children still feel that even though they haven't lived here for over 10 years.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: By helping my husband - healthy meals and no stress when he comes home from work are 2 ways I help. Also, having a company-ready home, unplanned visits are not a problem. I am always ready with a cup of tea, an open ear, and a loving heart.

(Yay, Judy! Sorry.... I'm just so proud of my sister! Had to give her a "shout-out." Love you, Judy! I'd join you for tea any day. Just wish we lived a bit closer.)

What my work entails: Holding down the Couch to keep it from Flying away. (Funny, Mike!)

What I enjoy about my work: Doesn't demand a lot of thinking or effort.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: Well, when I can get off the couch, it leaves a whole lot of time to spend telling others about Gods Great Plan.

ADELE, Currently Unemployed
What my work entails: Looking for work.  (Ha ha. Yep.)

What I enjoy about my work: Right now, enjoying the time God is giving me to be with my kids while I wait on His timing for the perfect job for me.

How I see myself serving the Lord in my work: Since I am primarily being a homemaker, I am serving God by being the best mother to my kids and being a better wife to my husband.

Col 3:23-24
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.(NAS)