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Excellence at Work – Appointed by God

Three men working on a building site were asked what they were doing. One said “I’m earning a living.” The second said “I’m filling this truck with dirt and dropping it over there.” The third said “I’m building a cathedral for the glory of God.” All three answered accurately, but their perceptions of their work varied widely.

Paul, talking about the Good News, said, “I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it” Colossians 1:23. He could have said, “I’m doing it because somebody’s got to do it.” But his insistence that he had been “appointed by God” showed his sense of calling. This was something that God had given him to do, so he was going to do it to “honor and please the Lord” Colossians 1:10 Paul’s focus was on doing his work in such a way that the Lord would be honored and pleased. Paul worked very hard at this as “Christ’s mighty power” worked in him. Colossians 1:29.

One might argue, “Well, that’s alright for an apostle. Of course he was ‘called’, but what about the rest of us? We just go to work to get the job done and earn a living!” Hardly, according to scripture. Paul, addressing slaves, said, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” Colossians 3:23. Even a slave’s work is significant because it can be done for God.

This understanding stimulates a man to look at his work through new eyes. He is doing something for the Lord – not just for himself, his family, his foreman, or his stockholders! Hopefully he derives some satisfaction from doing a good job, presumably his family is pleased they have food to eat, and his superiors smile approvingly when he helps the bottom line grow. But God also derives satisfaction from seeing a man work. This elevates his workday into a new realm – a man is presenting something as a sacrifice to the Lord. As he utilizes his time, energy, and abilities, he is glorifying God who made him.

To work at this higher level of purpose, a man must look for new resources. Human doggedness can keep a man at a mundane job, and the thought of Friday can get a man through a weary week. But what can motivate a man to see the simplest task as an act of worship? Only the power of God at work in his heart!

Crooked Old Man

In one of the photos I shot of smoke, I see a bent and crooked old man… his head bowed in despair. Click on the image to see the high-res version.

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The Corner of “Nothing” and “Something”

I haven’t said much about this, because it bothers me when people put me into a box. I don’t like being labeled as someone with “health issues” because it becomes a focus for some people every time they interact with you. People can become a constant reminder of the very problems you try to overcome by reminding you of them every single time they speak to you.

With that being said, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the notion of “suffering in silence”. Sometimes, it can be as admirable quality when you continue to live in a positive manner despite the troubles you’ve faced. It’s cool sometimes when people say “Wow, I had no idea… you always seem so positive for someone who’s been through all of that.” And, yet, other times I wonder if it is harmful to suffer in silence. Sometimes, I think people need to hear about the problems you are dealing with and the hope you have that gets you through it all.

A little over a month ago, I was driving my daughter to school and myself to work. somewhere along the way, I remember everything going white, except for a few streaking red lights. The next thing I remember is my daughter saying “What happened?” and as I looked around to see people running at my car, I realized I was off the road. I told my daughter that I wasn’t sure what had happened, and asked if she was okay. Thankfully, she was unharmed. I looked to my left and saw an SUV with the bumper knocked off of it and I saw a telephone pole lying across the road. Then people were asking if we were okay and I noticed that the front end of my truck was all smashed up.

I remember a police officer grilling me about drugs and alcohol. It was roughly 6:45 am and he was asking if I had been drinking (which, obviously, I had not but thought was a funny question). I called and left my wife a voicemail telling her that I had an accident. When she arrived, she noticed that I was speaking very slowly as if something were wrong. She took my daughter to school and the police officer came back to talk to me about how “he could have me taken in for a toxicology test” and “he could write this into a traffic citation for driving under the influence of ‘something’ “. He told me he was “going to give me a break” and that I should “consider this a wake-up call”.

Needless to say, I was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, but he obviously thought so. I had a complete work-up at the hospital to determine if I had a stroke, another heart episode, or maybe a seizure, blah, blah, blah… only to find: Nothing. No stroke, no seizure, no heart issue… nothing.

I’ve been here before. Nothing.

I had to go see a neurologist to rule out seizures and he was left scratching his head with no explanation. Given my medical history and the length of time for any doctor to make an accurate diagnosis, nothing has become a regular answer that I’ve come to expect until two years ago, when one doctor was finally able to figure it out. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and Hereditary Hemochromatosis. Both are hereditary and both are terrible, but knowing is better than the private hell of not knowing.

I still don’t know what caused the accident and I can’t drive for six months.

So here I am again, at the corner of nothing and something.

Perhaps you are in the same place. Sick of the answer nothing, when you know there is not only something, but a big, hairy, stinking – something.

I guess what I’m getting at but am having a hard time articulating concisely is that, sometimes, keeping things to yourself is the appropriate thing to do but other times it is totally appropriate to let others know of your struggles because you never know who is sharing with you in your self-imposed solitary confinement. There is hope, friends. There truly is a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train. One day, when this body is dead and wasting away back to the dirt from which it came, I will have a new body free from disease, pain, and sorrow. I am assured of that through the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. It is through my faith in Him that this body will be restored.

Do you have that hope? If you don’t, I pray that you are able to find Jesus to be your Savior and the Lord of your life and I ask forgiveness if my actions have ever caused you to doubt the truth of the Word of God.

As for me, I will continue to laugh with my family and friends about the cards I’ve been dealt. The struggle is still there, and the situation doesn’t change, but the outlook is positive. I give thanks for this amazing life even when it is the issues raise their heads and cry for my attention.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Cell Phone DistORTRAITS

This is my friend, Mike, who is the subject of the first installment of “Cell Phone DistORTRAITS”.

 

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