The Christian narrative reminds us that God is the ultimate authority in the universe. As the first half of today’s text declares, “The Lord is King!” But what kind of power figure is this God?
As we celebrate this Advent Season, reminded again of Jesus’ coming into the world, I want to reflect on the distinctive vision and driving force behind God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ. What was the mindset that Jesus brought to his work in the world? And, what might that say to us about our work as leaders?
We’ve all done it. Someone does something that offends us and they come to apologize. And, we say something like, “Oh, never mind. It’s ok.” We’re trying to make the other person feel better by saying that what he or she did didn’t really matter. But of course, that’s not really the case. It did matter. At least, it did to us. And, when we take that tack, we’ve missed something important.
Meaningful engagement in institutional life – being part of a marriage, a family, a local congregation, a company, a charitable organization, a local community, a city, a state, a nation – is some of the most challenging work we do as human beings. And yet, as today’s text reminds us, that is where God’s word is to be inscribed, “on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
Early in my Christian experience, I thought that the Apostle Paul intended me to retreat from the world to spend all my time focusing on my interior life of prayer… Thankfully, the apostolic command to “pray continually” isn’t primarily about developing our devotional prayer life, even though that is important. It has much more to do with learning to pray our everyday life, particularly in the context of our work, where prayer may be the last thing on our minds.
I’ve always been a bit suspicious of those who paint too rosy a picture of the life of faith. Early in my Christian journey one of the popular evangelical sayings was that God has a “wonderful plan for your life.” Turns out, “wonderful” must have meant something entirely different than what I thought the word meant!
Hope was wired to be a working dog. Her Creator gave her remarkable energy and intelligence for the purpose of herding cattle. And she was either going to fulfill that purpose, or create havoc doing something else!
Keeping your head down at work — while perhaps unavoidable on occasion — is not a good, long-term posture. Instead, Psalm 111 reminds me that thankfulness—an upward orientation — is the key to a truly human life, to truly human work.
Seeing the genesis of our leadership as a seed is helpful in a number of ways.
The things we make wind up making and remaking us.
Work is like that. Not only is work something we do, but it invariably shapes who we become. That is another reason why our work is important to God.