Customers, Vendors, Christmas Shopping, and Teamwork

Today’s reading: Mark 1 and Psalm 125

They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion,
which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,
so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
– Psalm 125:1-2

Have you ever been in a situation in your life that left you hoping for a different outcome?  How about at your job?  Maybe it was a problem that needed fixing, a situation that needed correcting, a shortcoming that called for personal growth, or any number of things.  No matter what the situation, Scripture tells us, “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion”. (Psalm 125:1a).   I don’t know about you, but that truth simplifies things for me.  It relieves me.  It eases my burden.  God, please help me in the work You have given me to do, as well as in every area of my life, to trust You fully and to look to You for answers.

Divine Nature of Work

God took Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  (Genesis 2:15)  Later God gave Eve to Adam to help him. (Genesis 2:18)  As I studied and reflected on this scene here are the main things I was taught about work:

  1. The divine nature of work was established from the beginning – this was before the fall.
  2. God placed Adam – God provides the domain (time and place).
  3. God gave Adam work to do – God provides the work.
  4. God gave Eve to Adam to help him – God provides the people to help (the team).

Divine Purpose of Work

Moses had just received orders from God to get ashes from the furnace, stand in the presence of Pharaoh, and sprinkle them up toward heaven.  The ashes brought boils upon man and beast.  The next morning God gave Moses a message for Pharaoh that included the purpose of Pharaoh’s position.

16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up,
for to shew in thee my power;
and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
– Exodus 9:16

It was another Wednesday morning and Bob was on the receiving end of a sales call.  The vendor had just finished listing off their qualifications in painstaking detail and was starting in on their industry awards when Bob’s mind began to wander.  “When was the last time I heard a salesperson talk about how their team felt called to their line of work or that they feel God gave them special skills to serve Him?  Where can I connect with a vendor like that?”  

Here we have an example of Pharaoh, full of pride and arrogance, He is oblivious to the truth.  He needed a reminder that God placed him where he was to do what everyone will eventually do: glorify God.  We also have a modern day example of a potential customer (Bob) wishing he was being called on by someone who understood this truth instead of a modern-day, self-absorbed vendor. 

  1. Work, like everything else, is about glorifying God.
  2. Whether customer or vendor, we can join the hallelujah choir or not – but we can’t escape God’s glory.
  3. I’ll take a humble vendor who is working for the Lord over just about any other vendor.

Divine Setting of Work

A young professional sat reflecting on their career in yet another staff meeting. “If I had only lived in the roaring twenties, I’d pretty much be a shoe-in to take over Rockefeller’s interests.  I can’t believe I’m here in Illinois, where the property taxes just went up.  Again.  If I were in Texas or Tennessee I’d really be able to grow.  And then there’s my financial guy, I mean does he even know there is such a thing as Microsoft Word, I swear he’d send me emails in Excel if he could figure out how.  If only I had Warren Buffet in here to help me I would finally be able to really do things right.”  The meeting snapped back into his ears just as a request for input on the best type of cups for the Christmas party was made. 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
– Ephesians 2:10

  1. Trusting in God means being content with His plan and seeking His glory right where we are.
  2. Teamwork includes believing that God hasn’t prepared all the work for me.
  3. The best teammate or vendor is the one sent by God to do the work he prepared for them.
  4. Teambuilding means searching for the person God prepared the work for.
  5. Being the best teammate or vendor means being sure you’re doing what God called you to do.

As I studied this Scripture I feel I received a deeper understanding of how closely connected work and worship are.  Work, like worship, (like everything really) is all about God’s glory.  God has preordained our setting.  He has placed us.  He has sent us the work.  He has sent us the people to help us and for us to help.  The mistake, I think, is to miss these things and trust something else instead.  

Satan might like you to think that clerk is just incompetent or doesn’t care and is only getting in the way of your shopping goals and schedule this Christmas season.  Like the young professional that didn’t trust in the setting God placed them in, Satan might like you to think that your coworkers are holding you back.  Satan doesn’t much care what you trust in as long as it’s not the one truth because he knows everything else will lead to pain.  

The truth is if God wanted you to live in the roaring twenties or have a billion dollars, you would.  The truth is God has plans for His glory in all the work that will happen this Christmas season and beyond.   The truth is God has good work prepared for you and others, all you have to do is open your eyes to His glory and join in His hallelujah choir.

Image: Building Solomon’s Temple by John Millar Watt

 

P.S. More Studies on Work.

Choosing a vendor – If you’re interested in a study on customer-vendor relationships from 1 Chronicles 28, message us on Facebook or email me at mike@internrocket.com and I can send you what we have so far.  If you’re interested in other studies on Bible truth about work topics, do the same and I can add you to our distribution list.  If you have anything you’d like to share please be in touch, we’d love to hear it.

Men Who Want to be Pleased

As we transition from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians to his letters to the Galatians we might hope for a more peaceful episode.  The Corinthian church, along with Paul directly, was attacked by false teachers.  Paul’s letters to the Corinthians were tough to read, in the sense that it is uncomfortable to read about the church under attack.  Though we might long to turn the page and find a pleasant account of everything going right easily, that is not what we get.  The church is again under siege by false teachers.  This time in Galatia.  

Free from man-pleasing

Paul opens this letter and gets right to the point.  In first-century letters, the first thing the writer did was identify himself.  Whereas now, we identify the writer at the end of the letter.  Paul fits in the point of his letter directly in the first order of business.  This tells us how aggressively he pursued to cleanse the church in Galatia of man-pleasing.

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) – Galatians 1:1

Paul is an apostle and he was made one by Christ, who God raised from the dead, not by anything of men nor by men.  This opening chapter and this letter go on to lay out the doctrine first revealed in John 8:32:  

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8:32

Jesus is the truth. The false teachers were holding on to a false position in legalism that placed them above others, claiming God through the law.  Jesus sets his followers free from the law’s eternal wages.  (Galatians 2:16)

Two types of man-pleasing

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-19

There is so much here to discuss but I want to focus in on verse ten.  The strait statement that if Paul should seek to please men, he would not be a servant of Christ.  A simple if, then, statement of truth.  If we seek to please men, then we are not serving Christ.  Are we seeking pleasing men? 

The first type of man-pleasing that comes to mind is the exhausting burden of trying to please people.  The other day my business partner and I were at lunch discussing a seemingly difficult situation.  After too much talk, he said, “What if we just focused on God’s glory and didn’t worry about anything else?” Amen! Amen! The weight was lifted and our trust in the LORD ushered in the peace that transcends all understanding.  He is Good!  He is worthy of our trust!  He is trustworthy!  Praise God for freedom in the truth!  

The second type of man-pleasing is found in the introspection that there is another man who desires to be pleased.  Self.  It is not enough to let go of aiming to please others, we must also die to ourselves to be truly free.  Here is another question that brings freedom, this time from self.

“What if we set aside all our goals, everything we desire, weather seemingly good or not, and focused on God’s glory, trusting Him with everything we desire?”  Do we trust in God’s promises enough to commit all our goals to him and pursue His Glory alone? (Matthew 6:32-34, Proverbs 16:3, Mark 10:29-31, Luke 6:38 (what if we gave our desires to the LORD?), Matthew 6:10, Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 12:29-31, Colossians 3:1-4, Romans 8:5)

The last questions were in a different business conversation this past week as a friend and I wrestled with the “balance” of letting go and pushing/working hard.  I have come to believe that there is no balance required when trusting in God.  I am suspicious that any advice that points to balance as what is needed when considering priorities is faulty.  God wants to be number one on a list of one.  He wants us all in.  (Luke 9:62, Luke 9:23-24)

 

God, may we have single eyes for You. May Your kingdom come reign in our hearts.  May Your will replace our will.  May our hearts and eyes be for You and on You always. May our desires be committed to You in thanksgiving and contentment.  May we release them to Your care and loving kindness.  May You be gentle with us God.  We are sinners in the world.  May we never be of the world.  Amen.