Monday’s Need for Personal Blessing…

Another Monday. After the calmness of the weekend, a Monday is like an exploding 8:00 AM firework that suddenly bursts into the unsuspecting sky and continues to electrify the air non-stop, until Friday at 5:00 PM. What is it about my job that drains every ounce of energy from me? How does the nature of my work consume me and threaten to overtake my relationship with Christ?

I work in a Federally Funded program for young adults whose goal is to educate and train students until they are employable. The attendees come from all walks of life, but many are the throw away children of drug addicted single parents, or the products of overwhelmed school systems and teachers who, confused and frightened by their rage and disturbing behaviors, hurriedly shuffle the children along the path of least resistance in order rid them from their classroom. As a result, some can’t read or spell and most are full of hate and mis-trust because they know they are life’s cast aways. Many of our students have already had run-ins with the law, witnessed unspeakable crimes, and have a history of instability and chaotic homes. Some have mental illnesses. We are expected to produce a “finished product” to society in twelve months to two years. At their completion, graduates are believed to have the skills to show up daily for jobs, and be productive members of the community where they live. It’s an idealist program with lofty goals, but I work in the trenches, and I can tell you there is much more to the story than meets the eye.

The instant I step into the Education Building at 7:45 AM I am bombarded by students with questions about their classes or demands for answers as to why some regulation doesn’t make sense. I have five minutes to make my way down to corridor to my office in order to take attendance for the students I have placed in jobs. I tell the shouters they will need to come by later for an answer to their question. Some get frustrated, they have not been taught the self-soothing skills they need in order to wait patiently for an answer. Some turn away in disgust, they have been slighted again. I turn my key in the lock, two or three have followed behind me and are inside my office and my day begins.

The mornings I begin my day with prayer and communion with God are the days that go well. The insistent blink of the telephone tells me I already have a messages before 8:00 AM (most likely from an angry employer because one of my students didn’t show up for work and now the owner is short staffed). Why do I choose to write in the morning instead of pray? I suspect I am trying to make sense out of the human misery and tragedy I witness on a daily basis. Maybe I am trying to concretize the chaos I see.

Lord, be with me. Bless me with Your Holy Spirit, today. Help me to first show love and understanding in all I do, especially to the students with the most outrageous behaviors. They are the ones who have been hurt the most. I surrender to you all thoughts of impatience, worry and fear. I bow down before You in acknowledgment that I cannot do this job without You. Your name and essence will be in the forefront of my every conscious thought, action and word I speak today. Don’t do it for me, Lord, do it for them, so I may be an instrument in Your Redeeming hands. Amen.

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~ by Andrea T on May 5, 2008.

2 Responses to “Monday’s Need for Personal Blessing…”

  1. I wrote this to a friend, but maybe this would add to this posting… way to go with the authenticity, transparency and realness of your walk. Here ya go…

    XXXXXX, you are going to have to redeem your work place. For me, this was a heart change issue. I actively pray for my employer, our business, our clients, and my co-workers. DAILY… God has given me an hour drive so I have time… but 5 minutes too is enough time. Very early in my Christian walk I was working for a Call Center and had moved all the way up to management quickly. But it was taking my soul with it. XXXXXXXXXXX made some of the same observations it sounds like XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is making and in my particular case I chose to ignore them and believed the lie (“Me and Jesus can handle it”) that was until a friend called me one day and said, XXXXXXXX, was that you I saw going into a bar with some folks? I realized then that 1)I got nailed 2) God was using my friend to tell me that this workplace was NOT where I needed to be as I was too influenced by the blur of success at the expense of my spiritual life. I went home that night, confessed to XXXXXXXXXXX that I had not been her husband and in part it was due to the workplace and she forgave me (she always forgives me) and I made a decision to get out of that place even if I was going to be saying, “Good morning welcome to Burger King, this is XXXXXXXX, may I take your order?” Either your work is a haven for evil (not only the people but it is corrupting your soul because of a “standard of living’ idol, your marriage, etc) or it is a heaven (God’s S.O.D.A. – sovereignty ordained divine appointment) for you to be an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands there. BTW God is in both and He does test us. I thought you might appreciate this;

    ATTITUDES OF HEART
    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS end with a reminder that God is concerned not only with our actions but also with our attitudes of heart, for God says,
    “You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s” (Ex. 20:17).
    Although I have touched on this concern at various points, it is appropriate that we end our analysis of these aspects of business by remembering that in every aspect of business activity, God knows our hearts, and we must glorify him by having attitudes of heart in which he delights.
    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Ps. 19:14).
    He knows the secrets of the heart (Ps. 44:21; see also Luke 16:15; Acts 15:8).
    Therefore in all our ownership of property, and in all our stewardship, if we want to glorify God in business, we should seek to avoid pride and to have hearts full of love and humility toward others and toward God. In producing goods and services for others, and in using them for our own enjoyment, we should have hearts of thanksgiving to God for his goodness in providing these things to us. If we work for someone else, we should work as if we were working
    for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward (Col. 3:23–24).
    And if others work for us, we need to think of them as equal in value as human beings made in the image of God, and our heart’s desire should be that the job bring them good and not harm. We should be thankful to God for money and profit, but we should never love money or profit. We are to love God and our neighbor instead.
    And so all business activity tests our hearts. The good things that God gives us through business are very good, but we must always remember that God is infinitely better! David said, “If riches increase, set not your heart on them” (Ps. 62:10), and another psalmist said, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Ps. 73:25). Are our hearts set on God above all, or on the things that God gives? Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart …” (Matt. 22:37), and “You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24).
    If we love God above all, as we look at all of the business activities in the world around us, we will see evil mixed with good, and then our hearts should feel sorrow and grief when we see God’s commands being disobeyed and his purposes violated. But our hearts should also be filled with joy and thanksgiving and praise to him for the wonders of his creation, and for his remarkable wisdom in designing so many amazing ways in which business activity in itself is fundamentally good and brings glory to God.[1]
    [1]Wayne A. Grudem, Business for the Glory of God : The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003). 75.

  2. God Bless you for your response. I truly feel like I am in a fierce and intense battle at my work. Your spiritual direction of “Redeem your workplace…” convicted me. Up to this point I have only been praying for myself, not my employer, business, clients and co-workers, as you suggest. I made my God too small, I need to expand my vision and pray, knowing that only God can redeem the 300 students and 100 staff who work at my battleground. In fact, I just had an inspiration as I wrote this! There are five other Christians (that I know of, in my workplace) I’m going to Email them today to ask that we pray for our center, its employees, the students and each other. God bless you, please visit again. Your post is just what I needed.

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