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Christian Men at Work Podcast

May 6, 2020

S = Something on My Heart

What Unites Us - heard from a manager at a safety meeting once that the great thing about safety is it's the one thing that unites us all.  My first thought was one I often have when I hear an extreme statement that uses terms like "always", "never" or in this case "the one thing", and that thought was that it was hyperbole, or exaggeration and that in the natural there are always exceptions to extreme statements like this and that only God deserves language like that (for example, all powerful, all knowing, ever present),as a side note I've tried to avoid using powerful or extreme words and phrases like this for natural things, but reserve those for whom they are deserved, words like awesome, incredible, amazing, unreal.  But back to the safety meeting at work.  I thought about this statement some more, about safety being the one thing that unites us , I thought about it both during that meeting as well as in the weeks that followed, particularly in light of the Coronavirus.  I've come to the conclusion that a better statement is that safety unites us more than most things in life, but that it is not the one thing that unites us all. In the workplace I have found that pretty much everyone agrees that safety is important, maybe even that safety should be our number one priority, but that unity ends when you go beyond the general and into the specific.  For example, I've seen many examples where safety was prioritized to a level where it went beyond common sense and didn't factor in sufficiently the need for the business to be profitable nor did it factor in sufficiently the need for individuals to take responsibility for themselves.  With the Coronavirus, I saw a fair amount of division initially around what our reaction should be to the threat, then a more united approach, but as we now debate how and when we should reopen our country the unity has quickly changed as there are different opinions on exactly what steps were appropriate in response to that threat as well as how we should open things up moving forward. To take this thought a bit further, what, if anything, does actually unite all of us?  This is not a complete list, but here's a few things I've found to answer this question.  2 things both come from Gen 1:26.  We were all made in God's image and we were all made so that we may have dominion over the earth, I believe you could substitute the phrase work for dominion.  This was further clarified in Gen 2:15 "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."  So 2 things that unite all of us, believers and unbelievers, are God's image and our purpose to do good work in the world.  John Stonestreet and Warren Smith in their book "Restoring all things" say it like this "The absolute Ruler of everything decides to make other rulers to take care of His world...they are not puppets, nor have they been granted tourist visas to enjoy paradise. They have work to do...they too, like the One whose image they bear, are to fill and form...humans are to bring glory to God by living for the good of the world".  What are some other things that unite all of us?  The book of Romans is filled with them. "there is none righteous not one", "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". and also that it is clear to all that God exists, Rom 1:20 says "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse," we're also united in the sense that God doesn't want any of us to perish and that He sent Jesus for all of us. John 3:16 says that "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son". 2 Peter 3:9 says "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." So far in our list of what unites us all is some good news and bad news. We're all made in God's image, we're all made to do good work, we're all aware of God, we're all guilty of sin, and we're all equally loved by God and have an equal opportunity to accept his gift of eternal life with him.  We've been talking about all of humanity, but what about believers in Christ.  What unites us?  You've heard the phrase "in the essentials unity, in non-essentials, freedom, all things in love".  As believers, we are all forgiven.  Psalm 103:12 says "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us". We are all a new creation, 2 Cor 5:17 says "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new".  So, looking again at all of humanity, what divides us?  Well, in the natural that's an easy question to answer, it seems that just about everything and at an increasing level of intensity, divides us. Let's talk just about the spiritual.  What divides all of humanity is our response to truth and to what God has done for us. In John 18:37b Jesus says "for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice".  Pilate responds to Jesus with a question "What is truth?". In 3 of the 4 gospels Jesus asks a critical question "who do you say that I am?". How we respond to that question as well as the question "what is truth" is the primary way that all of humanity is divided.  That important division in terms of both how we may respond as well as how we will respond in the future is made every more clear by Jesus when he talks about the present and the future. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it".  In Matthew 25:32, Jesus says "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats."  Surprisingly, the Bible does not say that Jesus came to unite all of us in peace between each other but rather to unite us with Him.  When the Angels announced the coming of Jesus in Luke 2:14, they said "“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”.  Notice they said peace toward men, not between men, i.e. peace between God and man, not between man and man. And although Jesus told us as his disciples to love one another, he also said in Matthew 10:34-39 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set[j] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." So, here are some takeaways for me on this question of unity. We are united with all of humanity in the sense that God made us in his image, he made us to do good work, he wants us all to choose to spend eternity with Him, and he wants us to love HIm and to love others.  We are divided in how we choose to respond to God, specifically to Jesus Christ. As C.S. Lewis said in his book "Mere Christianity", "

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

E=Example of Faith at work

2 things to share.  Both are innovative products that make our lives better. These may not seem to be spiritual and I have not researched to determine if the inventors are Christian, but as we've discussed on here may times and in reference to Tim Keller's book "Every Good Endeavor", all humans, believers and unbelievers, are made in God's image and we all can be tools of God's common grace, blessing all of humanity, by making the world better including in very natural, physical ways.  The first product is  one that teaches your cat to use the toilet so you can get rid of litter.  We found two makers Litter Kwitter and City Kitty and purchased City Kitty mainly because it's less expensive, and will be trying it out soon.  The second product is one that helped my mother out a lot and that is Windex all-in-one.  It has a pad with soap in it and allows you to clean outside windows quickly and easily and more safely without having to get on a ladder. I challenge you all to view everyday tasks and accomplishments of your work as spiritual.  I was going to quote a famous quote from Martin Luther about the value of making a good shoe until I found out that he didn't actually say that, so instead I'd like to mention an actual quote from Martin Luther I found on the reformed article called "On making good shoes", where Michael Everett quotes Luther as follows "The prince should think: Christ has served me and made everything to follow him; therefore, I should also serve my neighbor, protect him and everything that belongs to him. That is why God has given me this office, and I have it that I might serve him. That would be a good prince and ruler. When a prince sees his neighbor oppressed, he should think: That concerns me! I must protect and shield my neighbor….The same is true for the shoemaker, tailor, scribe, or reader. If he is a Christian tailor, he will say: I make these clothes because God has bidden me do so, so that I can earn a living, so that I can help and serve my neighbor.".  In his post, Michael Everett also refers to a scirpture I often refer to which is Colossians 3:23-24 " And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ."

L=Logos = Work verse

Psalm 19:7b "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;" - I bring this up as an encouragement to other men like me that feel they are sometimes not really measuring up in their work, either in general or maybe temporarily on one of those down days.  You may feel simple or not as good at what you do as the next guy.  No matter who you are, or what your occupation is, or how talented or gifted you are, you have access to mind and heart of the Creator of the Universe in his word, and that word, if you read it, receive it, and live it out in your daily life, will make you wise.


Finished Colson Fellows, Weekly release in June

H=Handy tip to increase productivity and effectiveness 

If someone at work tells you about a problem they have, you can tell them you’re praying for them but I recommend instead 2 better options, one is for you to pray for them privately but don't tell them you're praying for them, Matthew 6:6 says "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."  The 2nd option is to pray WITH them right there and then.  Whichever way you choose to pray for them, I also recommend you back that up by doing something in the natural related to their problem.  Don't just say "let me know if there's anything I can do to help", instead at that moment or soon after that, think and pray about what you could do to help them and do it.  James 2:15-17 says " If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."