Making Work For Ourselves (Works To Our Faith part 2)

When you wind back to throw a football, as I have many a time with my brother, the force in your body is transferred from your arm to the ball. This is why a baseball pitcher goes through those awkward-looking-yet-fluid gyrations (called a “windup”) just before letting fly with a pitch–in order to get the most power and distance out of it. As with most things, there’s science behind it. In Physics, that result (of the force times the distance) is called “work” and there’s even an equation for it. W=Work.

A job is what we do, never who we are. It might take more effort–more winding up–but you can still do that which you love regardless of whatever your job might be. Granted, it might not be your profession but you can still do it nonetheless. In other words, your livelihood might not be springing from your innate talents (yet) but never, ever cease to develop that which God has given you to bless others. On one hand, you can go to school to gain accrediting in your field. Or, if you so desire, you can use your free time (after bills and groceries and family and sleep, of course) to become that which you truly desire to be. Your promised land can be as close as your craft room or your drafting table or in a coffee shop in front of your laptop. Simple as that. Know this. But never fail to give your best at your day job because God is using that to help you with the other half. He wastes nothing.

Conventionality is dead. (A question to ponder: was it ever really alive?) With the ubiquitous phenomenon known as “The Internet”, everyone has access to all the knowledge they need. Seriously, everything you need to know is right at your fingertips. Oh, it’s always been that way with libraries and bookstores–with the knowledge that was available at the time, I should say. But it’s so much easier now that everything’s online. Think about this: With Wi-Fi and 3 and 4G, all of this information is floating about above our heads and through our brains and bodies. Whatever you need to know is already there. And this is where faith and focus come in.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Solomon noticed something though (next verse): “I returned (from where?), and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

Whatever the circumstances that have conspired to place you where you’re at, (like I said in the previous post, God makes no mistakes) they’re not the overarching definition of who you are. More importantly: Whose you are. Admittedly, suffering and toil and hardship are inevitable in this world. And there are times when I feel I’ve had more than my fair share. But God allows these things for reasons of which I’m not ready to know and not able to know, yet. Any pontification regarding circumstances is neither here nor there unless one has lived the life. And you have lived (and are living) your life.

Physics is catching up. My dad has told me many a time, in his inimitable and hard-won wisdom that, God wound up the universe and let it go. Yes, sin happened, “time and chance” too. But it’s all playing out according to God’s reasons. This is pretty much how any modern theoretical physicist will seek to explain how our universe, with all its laws and quarky quirkiness. It’s unwinding. But you find yourself where you are in it’s flow. God put you where you are for a reason, for a season.

Try this: Wind back your life to its earliest nodes. Open a conversation with God as if you’ve never met Him. Introduce yourself to Him. Forget the fact that He already knows everything about you as well as your current circumstances and tell him who you are and how you got to be where you’re at. This might sound silly but I guarantee you it will help you see things in a different light. It will help take the edge off of the familiar contempt in which you might be struggling to surface.

And you’ll begin to see this world–this universe is big enough to support your dreams. And God’s plans for you are bigger than that.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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The Expert In Your Field (Works To Our Faith part 1)

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man (or woman) hath found, he (and she) hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he (or she) hath, and buyeth that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus is referring here to an ancient practice of stockpiling one’s valuables in a field and then hiding them by covering them over with earth. And when said farm or field would change hands, or become fallow any passerby could stumble upon this instant “harvest” and have, quite literally, a fortune on their hands–unbeknownst to the original owner. This is an interesting way to look at the Christian life. And when Jesus speaks of the “Kingdom of Heaven”, it’s understood that He’s talking about realizing Heaven’s atmosphere wherever you’re at, wherever God has placed you. Because if we can’t allow Heaven’s peace and joy and fulfillment (in a measure, of course) to diffuse here in this life–our life, what fun is Heaven going to be when we get there?

Surely you’ve heard the phrase “bloom where you’re planted”? As clich├ęd and gimmicky as it might sound, it’s one of those phrases that can’t quite get any truer, no matter how you reword or restate it. Bloom where you’re planted. And if you make up your mind to stay where you are until whenever, waiting only upon God, then you will receive the blessing that’s buried in the earth.

“Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.” (Deuteronomy 11:24)

The idea behind this statement of God to Moses and the Israelites is one of conquest. Geographically yes, but for us, it means spiritual. What I mean however, is that it’s referring to whatever it is that you do. What do you do? Are you a waitress? Do you work the night shift as a machinist? Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom homeschooling three rambunctious children. Any number of vocations in which any number of temperaments must mesh. It can be hard. I wonder how many people are actually doing what they want to do. Let alone what they went to school for. If you are, wonderful. But if you’re wondering why you are where you are in spite of your inclinations to leave, hold out. Realize that God doesn’t make mistakes. Take the things that make up your familiar contempt and bring them to God, either in prayer or in writing, and see what He’d have you know in this season of your life. Because, as God told Moses: it isn’t until you go all over the land that God has given you that it actually becomes yours.

How does this flow into what Jesus said about selling all that you have in order to buy it? Sure, it could be taken literally. He did say though that the Kingdom of Heaven was like “treasure hid in a field”. The act of selling means exchanging the things you have and the things you do toward that. One. Thing. That treasure hid in the (your) field. The one that you may not even know about yet. Notice the implication here. No one knows it’s there. No one but God. So toil away, knowing that the thing which you’ll glimpse among the weeds and dirt might take time to unearth. Blood, sweat, tears, etc. But it’s as good as yours.

What you’re doing by being there as long as you have is actually becoming the best there is at what you do–before God. Know this.

“I am as a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge.” (Psalm 71:7)