…just a few more rambling thoughts on:
PERSPECTIVE in the WORKPLACE
This topic was brought up recently in a discussion between a friend and I about delegating tasks or being delegated to. I am more often the latter, and sometimes feel taken advantage of at my workplace. In Exodus 18 Moses was taking all the disputes of the people on himself to solve. Jethro’s advice to him was to delegate tasks to trustworthy men, and bring the disputes before the Lord.
17Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.18You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. -Exodus 18:17-18
From that we began to discuss working for bosses and people who may delegate too much or take advantage of us. Even in those circumstances we can work and serve with joy. (Also wisdom to stand up for ourselves.) The point is, we have to look at the bigger picture and get perspective of the circumstances even if they seem overwhelming and stressful. As Christians, we should have a different perspective than our peers, he said. Also, the Lord delights to use us for His usefulness; Spurgeon says, ” It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray make it a profitable one to me.” If God has laid us low, there are numerous things He is wanting to teach us there:
“The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.” 1 Sam. 2:7
From personal experience, every time I remember that I have a different motivation for doing a job well than others, it makes a world of difference. It’s the same with “good works”. I have met and heard of so many charitable people who have accomplished great things to relieve suffering in third world countries or disaster areas, donate money, clean water, etc. Take the Peace Corps for example (I thought about joining after school), or the Rotary Club. It amazes me that people can do these “Christian” things for others when so many Christians would rather sit in their couch in their nice comfortable home, in their nice, boring lives. Not that everyone needs to become a missionary or that comfort and enjoying the fruits of our labors is wrong; but we are called to serve in our own communities. Some of the wealthiest people I know are the msot gracious and giving people I know. Perhaps some of us middle-class and students who are going to be privileged middle-class Americans one day need to check ourselves.
HOMELESSNESS and PERSPECTIVE
In my community I know I usually avoid homeless people like the plague. Columbia is a hot spot for them, and yes there is a lot of help for them, and many of them have drug problems that they don’t want to change, but for many they have been dealt a hard blow in life that pushed them that way. I have friends who serve in the homeless ministry in Columbia and know women from my church who like to take food to them on the street corners. Maybe it’s not safe. Maybe they are lying to me, maybe they never want to change – these things roll through my skeptical, judgmental heart when I see them. I usually won’t give them money, maybe food, and I usually will only stop to help women.
I’ve had experiences where I felt cheated before when I have reached out to help, and I hardened my heart again. A few months back here in Columbia I listened to one woman’s story and gave her food and tried to find places for her to stay, and she seemed very ungrateful. Then I saw her walking in the Rosewood neighborhoods when I was running one day and she was dressed like a normal person, and smiled a knowing, mischievous smile at me. I’m too judgmental but I hate con artists. After that I’ve been even more skeptical of homeless people, until last month when I was hanging out with my friend Ashley in downtown Albuquerque. A homeless woman with one leg approached Ashley and I asking for money to get back to Indiana. I almost wanted to tell her no, I didn’t have any cash, which was true, but Ashley insisted on giving her what spare change she had, and asking the woman if we could pray for her. She was really open to that. As Lisa (her name) told us her story and we held her hands and prayed for her, her whole countenance changed. She seemed like a different person to me. I saw how human she was, and how similar we really were, both sisters on this earth, only I was more fortunate. And we had so much to give – not just money, but Jesus. We bought her lunch and sat and listened to her. At first she wanted to get her food and go, but because we were willing to listen and treat her like a respectable person, she sat with us. By time she finished she was laughing and making jokes. She told us about her kids (who were our age). She had been in a bad marriage in Albuquerque which put her on the street, and was addicted to drugs too, although she told us she’d been in rehab and clean for 6 months, and was trying to get money to go back to Indiana to stay with one of her sons. She said she had “believed in God” before and that this was a sign from God that He still cared for her. It was moving, but I still held a splinter of skepticism that wondered if she made up the whole story up. Ashley said it didn’t matter. She did what God told her to and the rest was between the woman and God. I was really impressed by my friends’ boldness to share the gospel with everyone she comes in contact with. God is changing my heart to see that it doesn’t always matter if we feel like we might get taken advantage of, so long as we’re doing His work.
That was a long spiel, but one of the reasons why I chose to try to help this girl who called me randomly last night needing a place to stay. I don’t know her story and my friend who gave me her number doesn’t know her well either, but from what it sounds like she’s in a bad place right now and desperately needs a place to stay till Tuesday. I can’t help her all week because my roommate and I will be gone, but I can offer her a place tonight. I also remember what it was like to not have a car, and feel reliant on other people for rides anywhere outside of my biking range, so I offered to pick her up tonight. It’s such a small thing really, and so many people in Columbia have helped me selflessly; any number of those people would have done that for me. What really pales it in comparison is what Jesus did for us. Although this girl is just like you and me, maybe this is the beginning of opportunities I asked the Lord to give me to serve after that incident with Lisa. I asked him that, and I know he will do it! I think I have missed opportunities before, but now I am ready to trust that He will send me things to do to serve people that is within my means and safe. Part of maturity and learning to serve as a Christian is listening to the Lord for discernment and when He wants us to help someone.