The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The issue of where my heart and treasure were was not just a theoretical issue. The issue became real in terms of time on the job. There were unwritten expectations such as - No one leaves work before 6:00, or that people would work on Saturday mornings. When it came to a demonstration for some senior executive from Detroit the boss would offer something that was not yet available. We were given two months to make it available, so the pressure was on. This was not resented, they were exciting times and everyone rose to the occasion. I was very ready to work with all of my heart to develop the project. Paul writes “And whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord not men.” (Colossians 3:23 NIV) I certainly set myself to working with all my heart.
I had, however another involvement. I was involved in a thriving student ministry that took up considerable time. I gave my all to both, but I could not give time to appearances. I concluded very quickly that Saturday morning work was far more about being there for the boss to see than serious work, so I didn’t go in. I also had an issue over Sundays. I had rather strong views on what constituted work and rest, these influenced in part by having studied in Scotland where at that time (though not now) it was quite an issue.
The time of testing came with a demonstration booked for a Tuesday. My piece of gear, an electric motor and its drive system, was not working on the Saturday - so of course I was going to be there on Sunday to fix it, wasn’t I? Well, I said “no”. I gave a rather lame excuse to avoid the issue, but inside I felt that to go in against what I believed Jesus wanted, would be like biting the hand that feeds and then asking him to feed me. One of the Proverbs makes the point a little stronger. “God won’t listen to the prayers of those who flout the law.” (Psalm 66:18) How could I do what I believed to be wrong and then pray and ask Jesus to rescue me for the demonstration. I felt that if anything, I could only expect a certain failure if I was to go in on the Sunday.
On the Monday, I was able to resolve everything. The supplier of the system was available and we were able to talk through the problem. On Tuesday, the demonstration went well. In my heart it was clear that I had honoured him and he had come through with success.
My decision, however, had been noted by my boss and it was not appreciated. He looked on it as test of heart, and I had failed. To make the point clear, in the debriefing, he made a special point of thanking those who had worked on the Sunday. Around that time the special times of mentoring began to dry up. There is a cost that comes from conforming to Jesus instead of the world and it is a cost that has to be paid. In a bazaar way, the world gives the impression that it would have been better to have failed God and failed in the endeavour, for at least then one would have shown commitment where commitment was desired. The key question for me then was, whose rewards am I living for? Better to live for Jesus who is with me to the end than an organisation that within five years of that time ceased to exist.