Some days I find myself wondering, “How can God use a regular person like me?” This past week I heard a “regular guy” named Lee Wood share his God-story. Lee, a former street dude with lots of energy and “self-diagnosed ADD … squirrel”, is a riot to listen to. God has worked through Lee and his team to launch a disciple making movement in the heart of Tampa, Florida. (click here to read Lee’s story). As Lee shared with us, it struck me how often God uses unlikely instruments to accomplish His work. It made me think of Samuel anointing David as the next king (1Samuel 16:7) … man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. So, take heart. However God has wired you, He wants to use your unique gifting, talents and passions to help fulfill the Great Commission. Ask Him to show you, and He will.
A friend of mine runs a company in a country fairly hostile to Christianity, especially when it’s introduced by “foreigners”. The other day he sent a note about what God has been doing through his business. He said, “There has been a movement of people in our area for the last couple of years. People coming to Christ continually in 2s or 3s or families. Some centered around our company. This week the local government called our manager in for questioning and training on ‘respect for other religions’. It is strange/significant that the local officials called our manager in and not the church leaders. I sometimes feel that people think my company is not Kingdom [work], but the local officials recognize something [different].”
My friend’s note made me wonder. Would I be guilty of a “crime” like that … being more of a Kingdom threat than the officially sanctioned church leaders in my area? What changes would I need to make in my life and in my practice in order to become a “threat” like that? How about you?
Have you ever thought about the agreements you enter into, and your heart attitude towards them? Sometimes we fear our ability to accomplish what God calls us to. Other times we don’t live up to the promises we make to others, whether at work or in our personal lives.
The devotional that follows is from Os Hillman’s Today God Is First. Perhaps it will give you some more food for thought.
“But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” Genesis 6:18
The Bible is filled with covenants made between God and people. Six of those covenants were made with Old Testament figures: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. The seventh was made with His own Son, Jesus Christ. God is always the strongest partner in a covenant relationship.
God made a covenant with Noah in order to preserve the human race. This covenant involved Noah’s participation by building an ark. He’d never built an ark before. He’d never had a boat. It was a totally new concept to Noah and the rest of the world. Why would he need a boat in a dry land?
Noah did not have to invent the ark; God gave him the plans-in specific dimensional detail. He did not have to gather the animals-God led them into the ark. God even closed the door when they all came on board. God made it rain to prove why the ark was needed.
The covenant provided all Noah needed to complete his mission in life. When God spoke to Noah to do this thing, he needed only to respond to God’s call to do it. Noah could rest in knowing the covenant made with God was going to be fulfilled if he fulfilled his part.
If you have entered into a covenant relationship with God, you too can be assured that God will uphold His part of the covenant relationship. He is committed to fulfilling His covenant with you and to fulfill His purposes in and through your life. It only requires one thing on your part-obedience. He will even provide grace and faith to you to help you fulfill your part of the covenant.
Each of us has a covenant with God. But we also enter covenants with others in our personal and business lives. How are you doing in fulfilling covenants to others? God has given us the example to follow. Ask God if you have any unfulfilled covenants you need to honor. He has called you and me to be covenant keepers. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
From time to time I like to share other resources that might be helpful for your faith / work journey. If you have not seen them yet, I encourage you to check out the God @ Work materials that Ken Costa has put together. Ken has a couple of books on Amazon, a God @ Work website, and some great video resources. You can check out his Work Conversations video series online (longer videos) or through the God @ Work study plan on the YouVersion bible app. I hope you find some useful insights there.
Recently someone sent me a link to the video below. Because of my heart for helping people connect their work and faith in a way that impacts the Great Commission, my friend said , “this is right up your alley. You should check this out!”
I love the holistic approach they illustrate, and that the Gospel is still at the core. If you’ve ever wondered how God might use you and your “everyday job” to make an eternal difference, perhaps this video might give you some new ways to look at things.
My father-in-law was very “successful” financially as a businessman, then for many years lived the retired American dream lifestyle. He now has poor health and suffers from dementia. His life has changed dramatically in just a matter of months. I spent this past weekend going through a storage unit of stuff that he had accumulated, and it was like a time capsule of his life. As I was reflecting on what God was trying to teach me through this experience, I received a devotional from Os Hillman’s Today God Is First. In it, Os says: “For many people in the world, real meaning in life is the next vacation, career success, or stepping up the income ladder. It is a life based on pleasurable experiences. Many a human being has toiled their whole life to gain a pleasurable lifestyle only to find a life that is empty and meaningless. You only have to watch television for one evening to discover that advertisers want us to believe this is the goal of life. The work-to-play theme is consistent with most advertising messages. Knowing Christ brings the only real meaning and purpose to the human soul. Spend time today getting to know the Lord in a more intimate way. Then you will discover real meaning and purpose in life.” God then told me, “this is Truth. It resonates with the Gospel. But, there’s one more ingredient. The Truth (Gospel) must be shared with others.”
I guess that was my answer to finding purpose and success. What is yours?
I asked a long time BAM practitioner in Southeast Asia what lessons he had learned over the years. He said that Nehemiah has always served as a great example that he tries to pattern his work after. Nehemiah held a position outside of the religious hierarchy, but was motivated by his faith and sensitive to God’s leading. He learned of a need, then dropped to his knees. He prayed and planned. He assessed the situation and acted in practical ways. He persevered through adversity, and God’s presence was ultimately manifested once again because of what Nehemiah accomplished. As I reflected on what he shared, I wondered how many of us are like Nehemiah, and are we seeking out other Nehemiah’s around us?
Have you ever thought about ways you can represent God or bring about spiritual conversations simply by praising God for the things He does at your work? In the following video from workmatters.org, John Roberts (President of J.B. Hunt Transport) shares with us about bringing faith into our work by finding opportunities to give praise.
During a recent sermon on the role we can all play for the Gospel, my pastor asked, “how many of us don’t share our faith because we are afraid we won’t be able to answer the questions people ask?” Hands went up everywhere. Sound familiar? It’s a common fear, to be sure. But is it necessary? One way around that fear is to simply learn to tell your story, and how it intersects God’s story. But to be honest, sometimes we need some help. My pastor’s solution was to point us to the free video answers to life’s questions found at truelife.org. It might not be your style, but for many it helps people engage in spiritual conversations and get over the hump to sharing the Gospel. There’s a wide variety of topics covered. Check it out sometime.