God’s role – provision for our needs

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We continue this week’s look at jobs insecurities – looking for a job, worrying about losing a job, or staying in a miserable job for fear of leaving. And if you missed it, yesterday we looked at how these trials can actually be spirtual blessings because they force us to rely upon God. I know what you’re probably thinking – that’s great in theory, but what about the financial implications of being without work? How are we to focus on God when there are bills to be paid? For most of us, this is the most pressing aspect of job insecurities, and the biggest distraction from spending time with God. How can I sit around reading the Bible and praying when I could be on Monster.com?

It starts with remembering our true source of income. The fact is, “our money” is not our money. It, and everything else on Earth, is God’s. Psalm 42:1 reads “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” When we are allowed to have money, it’s because he has chosen to bless us with it. It is a tool that he provides us for our needs while we’re on this planet and to accomplish his purposes. When we need it, we should not worry about it, but rather we should ask him for it.  Look at what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 6:25-34:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“

Jesus himself has told us not to worry about the provision for our needs. Instead of worrying we are to seek him first and if we do so, he assures us that our needs will be met. Does this mean that we shouldn’t look for a new job if we need one? Of course not. But it does mean that we should seek after God as we seek after other employment.

How should we go about seeking him? One way to begin is to ask yourself whether or not you truly trust God to provide you with what you need. Is there any reason that you think that God would not want to bless you with life’s provisions? If God has taken the effort to create plants such as lilies with glorious colors and patterns, even more glorious than a king can dress, then he will not ignore his son or daughter in need.  The Bible tells us that we become God’s children when we accept the reconcilliation with him that Jesus offers (Gal 3:26), and Jesus himself says in Matthew 7:7-11 that we shouldn’t hesitate asking our Father for what we need:

“Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

As we work our way through the stresses of job insecurities, it’s good to know what is our role and what is God’s. Jesus has told us that we shouldn’t worry about having our needs met. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll always have the standard of living that we’d like, but it does mean that provision is God’s responsibility. Tomorrow, we’ll look at ours.

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Loving your co-workers

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No, this post has nothing to do with Valentines Day or anything that happened at your annual holiday party.  Rather, yesterday I posted about the need to see beyond the routine activities of work to invest in the people in your workplace.

And how should we do this? It should start with prayer, for two important reasons.

First, the Bible tells us that prayer is a means of creating positive change for others and that God wants us to pray. Even though our Creator has the ability to change things without us, he has chosen to act through us, and the Bible tells us that God hears our prayers (Prov 15:29), and will answer us (Matthew 6:6-7).

The second reason to pray for coworkers is that it is not only a act of service to them, but is discreet in a corporate office setting. I’m obviously not talking about dropping to your knees, laying hands on someone, or reciting the Lord’s prayer together (by the way, it’s ironic that we recite it because Jesus used that prayer to illustrate how not to recite prayers – see Mt 6:7 above, but I digress). No, I’m talking about a simple, one-sentence thought or request offered to God. There are lots of examples of this type of prayer in the Bible, but one of my favorites is when Nehemiah asked the king of Persia if he could return to war-torn Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls (a bold request). Nehemiah 2:4 shows us how quickly he slips in a prayer in his conversation with the King,

 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
      Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Easy as that, and the King honored his request. So here’s my challenge for you. This week, consider someone in your workplace that is hurting and say a simple but sincere prayer for them. Perhaps it’s something going on in their lives, at work, or maybe they’re just having a lousy day. For me, the easiest time to do this is at the end of a meeting with someone when I’m heading to the door.  Oh, and what if you aren’t sure whom to pick? Just look for that person whom you find most difficult, annoying, or outright obnoxious. Chances are, they’re the one that needs your prayers the most.