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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who am I working for?

Colossians 3:23-24
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This piece of scripture is so difficult for me to actually live out. The Bible says whatever you work for, if it’s not the Lord, is an idol. That’s a tough one to swallow. It makes me think that often times I am actually practicing idolatry. This is something I struggle with daily. I look for the approval of man, when God’s approval is all that is needed. I could just kick myself when I think about working for myself or others and putting God in the backseat.

This all comes full circle for me after Thursday of last week and reading this passage today. I often chase so often the big stuff in my work. I get frustrated easily when I walk into a school and they aren’t ready to purchase 100 projectors that day. It hit me like a train on Thursday. As I visited school after school, I was asked about cables and other small equipment. Nothing big, nothing expensive, and nothing I could actually make any kind of money on. As I started to get frustrated at the day, I was reminded by God that maybe, just maybe, this is why I do what I do. Maybe I’m the one that needs to sell them this kind of stuff and just be happy that I have the ability to come out to them and cater to even the smallest of needs. I started thinking this is what we do as a company. This is why we exist. Why has it taken me so long to realize it and accept it and be happy with it? Sure, I can continue to chase the big stuff when it comes up, but the small stuff is why I’m here doing what I do. I can break it down and start thinking about the little money I will make off of these items, or I can realize that is why our company exists and that is what I’m here for. Since God is in charge of our finances, it doesn’t matter what I sell whether it be large or small. God tells me all the time, give me your first fruits and I'll take care of the rest.

I want to work for you God, not myself and certainly not man. I’ll continue to struggle with this always trying to gain approval from this person or the next, but ultimately I know who I am working for even when I don’t always live it. I have to turn back to Colossians 3:23-24 every once in a while and remind myself. My prayer is that God tap me on the shoulder and remind me who I am working for in this life. Thank you Father.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Beginning of Reflection...

I am beginning a journal of life where I get the chance to reflect on each week. It's nothing too profound or anything. It will just give me a chance to reflect on the week and remember and journal some of the moments and "lessons learned" of the week. I think it will be fun and insightful to record some of the memories and lessons I learn each week in order to grow into a more developed, spiritual, mature husband and father. Here are some of the things I learned this week:

- I need to carry God’s peace with me and show it to others. Be that non-anxious presence in other’s lives.
- Don’t expect plans to stay the same. Changes happen. All the time. Adapt or let it eat away at you.
- Some annuals (plants) are not annuals. They will continue to come back every year. Each year a little thicker and a little taller. We were those neighbors with the overgrown weed garden in their front yard. It was supposed to be a butterfly garden. So much for that.
- Don’t forget people’s last names. Especially ones that know you. Also, don’t expect for the person you are asking to see this person that you forgot their name to not make you feel stupid when you obviously got the last name wrong, but you had the first name right. Beckie Miller, Beckie Hitch. Very close.
- When you hear about a single mom whose ex-husband flees the country and leaves behind their two kids with a baby on the way and a job that just got cut back from 40 hours to 12, you realize just how good you have it and how very blessed and favored you are.
- When Kroger has a 2 for $5.00 sale on half gallons of organic milk, you buy at least 2. Another good lesson is don’t decide to start drinking organic milk when your child just gets to the age where she is drinking milk instead of formula and drinks roughly 20 ounces a day. With those figures, Lorelei drinks a half gallon every 3 days. On sale, that is $2.50 / 3 days or $0.83 per day. She drinks that $0.83 in about 6 minutes if you add up her three feedings. That’s 13.8 cents per minute, but who’s counting.
- Listen to my wife when she insists that I need help when putting together tables. If not, you end up doing something wrong and getting tendonitis in your elbow and unable to lift anything for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Expect to spend at least an hour at the Varsity before a Falcons football game. So many people in line for hamburgers and hotdogs. Really? It’s a burger with some American cheese (probably Kraft singles), and chili (probably canned). Somehow, all together, it’s magically delicious.
- Hold the Sabbath sacred. It’s so special to spend the day with family and keep it simple. What a way to end the weekend.
- Don’t be so quick to give yourself a pat on the back. Keep your expectations high. Never settle for an okay job even when it may be extraordinary to someone else. Character is everything. Do the right things even when no one else is looking because God always is.

Here's to another great week with little ability to use my left arm.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aha moment... a.k.a. God moment

I was listening to a sermon last week that discussed God's presence in our lives. Something that really struck me was the fact that everything that happens to me is already known by God. It goes through what the pastor called a father filter and maybe, just maybe everything is perfectly designed for my life to shape me in the way that God wants me to be. Even my little problems that occur are designed specifically for me and are a challenge to see how I will react. Am I the only one that has never thought about that? It hit me like a train last week as I was up in Dalton, GA getting my shipment of computer tables into the school where I was to put together 177 tables with the help of one other person.

I was on a mission. I had my agenda set. 177 tables. I was figuring about 5 tables per hour each. That's 10 tables per hour for 2 people. 9 working hours. That's 90 tables per full day. We went up on Tuesday. We had to unload the truck that morning, so only a half day the first day. We had to go to another school with 15 of those tables. We should be in and out by end of day Thursday. Done deal. No going back. All tables complete. Another satisfied customer.

Ha.... That would be too easy.

As we are unloading the tables, I notice several pallets that are just wrecked. Looks like bent metal, crushed table tops, etc... It looked like a complete mess. We got all the tables out of the truck, inside, and assessed the damage. Okay, not as bad as I had thought, but now my mind goes back into calculation mode. Okay. We just lost 2 hours. We have about 20 damaged tables. Great... There goes being done on Thursday. I'm going to have to come back up here to put together 15 or 20 more tables. Such a small problem to others. I know. For me, my agenda was devastated. Then, I remembered just what I was listening to on the way up. God designs our life and puts obstacles in our way to see how we will handle them and grow because of them. He is our Father. He wants us to learn and grow and deal with problems that pop up. Not only that, but he is actually the designer of our lives and coordinates situations that gives us opportunities to grow and change while ultimately knowing the outcome. All of a sudden in that moment, it didn't matter that I will definitely have to come another day and possibly another after that. I knew that small issue was designed for me to see how I would overcome my ridiculous agenda that I always set for myself in completing the tasks of my life.

I learned through this that my focus on something gets so involved that I lose focus on the bigger picture. Sometimes my agenda is so narrow that I get upset at every little thing that is not a part of it. Is my life Adam's agenda or God's? Sometimes I forget who is really in charge.