Tag Archives: Obedience

A Spade is a Spade

Hey, can we make an agreement together? As a group, can we start to stop something? (A real sentence I just wrote.)

Let’s do this: when we have a goal ahead of us, let’s get rid of the phrase “I don’t know how to do that.” Whatever your goal is, I’m done buying this excuse.

  • Change jobs or start a new business venture
  • File papers in a way that honors God
  • Build a client base who love the way you provide services to them and are willing to tell others about how great you are
  • Tell your co-worker about Jesus

Too complicated? Too difficult? You don’t know how to do that? Really?

Do you know how to use Google? Do you know how to call a friend? (Heck, you could even email me.)

I’m not buying that you don’t know what you are doing, or can’t figure it out.

No. Not too complicated. Not too obscure. More truthfully, it’s probably just too scary, uncomfortable, or painful—these, by the way, are totally valid reasons to not do something, but they are wholly different than “I don’t know how.”

The problem with saying “I don’t know how to do it” when you actually mean “I’m too scared to do it” is that you will spend all your time trying to fix the wrong problem and will never get closer to achieving what you set out to do.

Here’s the rub: properly diagnosing your roadblock is the critical first step to overcoming it.

So let’s call it what it is. I’m guessing that your goal, while probably scary and uncomfortable, is probably very simple when you drill right down to it. So let’s admit that we’re scared, not stupid.

What is something you “don’t know how to do”, but are actually afraid of?

Work and Rest

Hey! You may notice a new voice. This post was written by Joe Work. (Which, can we all agree, is a good name for writing on this topic?) Joe is a UT graduate working in Technical Sales for Oracle. You can follow him on twitter at @JoeWork

Sometimes I’m astonished by the things that cultures were willing to lay down at the altars of their gods. They sacrificed their time and energy even their families to gods of empty promises. But then I remember how often I do the same thing.

We see work as an endless treadmill. We’re running and running and running to keep up with the pace, to stay plugged in and connected. Forty hours a week is a myth.

If we aren’t at work, we’re worrying about it. Sometimes, we simply like feeling busy.

Ultimately the issue is in our hearts. Work can become an idol. And sometimes, it’s the idol that we sacrifice to the most. We give up our time and energy, friends and family, to worship our jobs.

What do you find yourself laying down at the altar of your career?

Worshipping our work leads to restlessness. We begin to feel tired, no matter how much sleep we get or coffee we drink. The world tells us to produce more and work longer. It promises us satisfaction if we just work a few more late nights or refuse a couple vacation days. It promises us joy once we get there. But we never actually get there. That’s the nature of sin. Empty promises await for all of those who bow at the feet of their jobs. Sounds like Hell, doesn’t it? Continuous striving to attain a prize that you never actually reach. Building our sandcastles only to have the tide come in and wash them away.

We worship our jobs and starve our souls, seeking and searching, never ceasing, never resting.

But restlessness is not a characteristic of our God, nor of his followers.

He rested while creating the universe.

We can rest too.

What about a duck?

People have told me I walk duck-footed. I don’t think that’s a compliment. It’s not a good look.

I mean… Have you ever seen a duck walk? It’s pretty goofy.

Have you ever seen a duck swim? It’s a little awkward. It’s certainly not the most efficient way to swim.

Have you ever seen a duck fly? Sure, they have that V thing down… and there were those Disney movies made after them… but let’s be honest, they aren’t the most majestic beings in flight.

Duck Jealousy

Should the dog or the fish or the sparrow be jealous of the duck? Alternatively: Should the sparrow work and work and work to swim like the fish? Should the dog try and try and try to fly like the sparrow? Should the fish jump on land in an effort to run like the dog?

No.

Right?

That’s silly.

… so why are you different?

What’s a skill you have that you discount in yourself? “Yeah, sure, I can do x… but that’s not important.”

What’s a skill you don’t have that you covet? “If only I could do y…”

A freeing truth in scripture is that you and I were each created for a purpose. My purpose is different than yours, yours different than mine. My skills are different than yours, just as yours are different than mine. But neither call or purpose or skill is worth more or less than the other. They are just different.

I wonder how your work would be different today if you were to embrace the strengths God gave you and stopped wishing for ones he didn’t. I wonder how your work would be different today if you stopped thinking about what you’re called to as a higher or lower calling than everyone else.

What if you started flying rather than wishing you could swim, or started running instead of wishing you could fly?

There’s no higher calling than the one you’re called to and it’s not helpful to wish there was.

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The Compass

Religion offers us a map. Take a right turn here, a left turn there. Fill this spot, check that box. Do this, not that. At the end of the road we are offered our prize. The problem though, is that destination we find ourselves at is never the one we wanted to get to.

The Gospel offers us a compass. Always pointing a singular direction, regardless the obstacles that might stand ahead. Rocks and boulders, forests or swamps… just go around… the compass will keep pointing to your destination.

Though the map feels safer, important work has always been done with a compass. Lewis and Clark didn’t have a map. Neither did Columbus.

Important work today and tomorrow will be done with a compass as well, rarely a map.

Today you will almost certainly have the opportunity to do something new, or act in some bold way: share the Gospel with a coworker, take initiative on a project, serve a customer or superior in an unexpected way that isn’t in your job description.

None of those opportunities will be on your map. By definition, they can’t be. All of those opportunities will be important – To you. To God. To the expansion of the Kingdom.

When in doubt, follow the compass. Forget the map. (It’s out of date anyways.)

Fuel for work

(You are going to think this doesn’t apply to you. It absolutely does.)

You will be tempted to work through the holidays. You will be tempted to work Christmas morning even. Maybe for your day job, maybe not. But the temptation to work will be alive and well.

  • Cook breakfast that will impress everyone
  • Be winsome and funny
  • Fit in at dinner
  • Make sure everyone knows you did ________
  • Make sure no one knows you did ________
  • Hide this
  • Embellish that
  • perform, perform, perform
  • Think about work
  • Check email
  • Check twitter
  • Take 15 pictures, post one to instagram
  • Post one to facebook
  • Write a comment about how great everything is
  • #blessed
  • perform, perform, perform
  • Worry about how your comment was taken
  • Worry about how your gift was received
  • Worry about who gave you this and who didn’t give you that
  • Worry about what that means about how they think of you
  • Worry about what it all means about you
  • perform, perform, perform
  • work. work. work.

Christmas morning is God’s gift to you to lay down your work. Not just your “day job” work, but the work beneath the work. The work of defending and protecting yourself. The work of modifying and correcting your image. The work of proving your worth (to others and to yourself). The work of striving for _________. The work of earning the love of those around you.

Christmas morning is the ultimate gift of rest and provision and peace and comfort.

Jesus is the ultimate gift of rest and provision and peace and comfort.

His birth (and his death and resurrection 33ish years later) are the fuel for your rest this coming Thursday. That rest, deep soul rest, is the fuel for your work every day forward.

This Christmas, rest in God’s completed promise, wrapped and laying in a manger. Rest because God told you to. Rest because if you know Jesus, you don’t have to work.

More than anything, I hope you get that peace this Christmas. I hope your heart and mind and soul rest in the good news that God wrapped himself in flesh to be with us. I hope you find the rest that can only come from knowing that because of Jesus, God loves you specifically and unconditionally.

I hope I get that rest too.

Merry Christmas. (Restful Christmas.)