Friday, October 08, 2004

Christians as God's Employees: A Loose Paraphrase of 2 Peter 1:3-11

Christians are like employees who have been offered an awesome computer, all the training, and every other resource we need by an Employer who wants us to be wildly successful, both for His and our benefit. We can be amazingly effective for Him, and wonderfully fulfilled, if we learn to use those things to their fullest and enthusiastically put them to use. That will not only give us the joy that comes from effectiveness, but also prevent us from wanting to waste our time on less worthy things.

But will only happen if we do our part. We must to do several things to achieve those results.

First, we must have the right attitude. We must want to accomplish good things for our Employer and His present and potential customers. In other words, we must be committed to His business.

Second, we must take the effort, and submit to the discipline, necessary to learn how to take full advantage all He gives us. Even the best tools do little good if we don’t know how to utilize their many features. That requires serious time in the employees’ manual and eager attention at the trainings our co-workers put on, at His direction, every week. Those steps are absolutely essential to success and half hearted efforts will definitely impair our effectiveness—and job satisfaction.

Third, we must put in the time and effort necessary to complete the projects our Employer has given us. For example, He did not give us the computer to play games, instant message our friends, or surf the net when we should be doing His work. Although He wants us to have joy in our lives, and those activities are OK on our own time, He expects us to put His work first.

Fourth, we must stick with it even when the job becomes difficult or tedious. Those things happen in every job, no matter how great it is, so we shouldn’t be surprised or discouraged when we encounter them here. After all, no one has ever had the success our Employer has achieved, so there is no reason to doubt our ultimate success if we stay at it.

Fifth, we must internalize our Employers’ nature and seek to emulate Him. That is difficult because it goes against our nature, but it can be done and is well worth the effort. The best way to do that is to observe how He has conducted business in the past (described in detail in the employee’s manual) and to keep in close, continual, communication with Him. Fortunately, He encourages that and makes Himself available to us 24/7. But we must remember that communication goes two ways and must listen to, and act on, what He says. All of this takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it because He is the ultimate mentor. And because He is such a good mentor, He will make sure we succeed—if we keep at it.

Sixth, we must approach our work with consideration for, and genuine collegiality with, our fellow workers, even the difficult and odd ones. Nobody, us or them, gets much fulfillment out of a work place where noone interacts with their coworkers or, worse yet, undercuts or gossips about them. Instead, we find joy and productivity when we work together, not only to further our Employer’s business, but also to help each other in our personal lives.

Seventh, we must subordinate our individual interests and desires to those of our coworkers and our Employer’s customers, even when it’s difficult. That has been the key to His unparalleled success and He expects us to follow His example. Sure, that’s not easy, but it's essential to continuing success. Once again, our Employer has ways to help us with this. They're in the employees’ manual and He’s more than happy to explain them, and to help us put them to work, if we spend time with Him.

These actions will, together with the wonderful tools our Employer gives us, dramatically enhance our productivity, our job satisfaction, and our relationship with Him.

Conversely, the failure to do so will make us ineffective and deprive us of the great rewards He would otherwise provide. We will be problem employees, just “putting in our time” and missing all the good things our job has to offer.

(Images about the process of growing/maturing in our walk with God were posted October 3a and 17, 2004; June 11 and 18, July 20, August 21 and 27, 2005.
Images about diligence/perseverance in doing God’s will were posted on October 1, 3a, 8, and 17 and November 7, 2004 and January 10c, June 11, 13, and 18; July 15 and August 27, 2005.
Images about the importance of exercising the spiritual disciplines were posted September 17a, 18a, and 18d, and October 3a, and 8, 2004 and January 10d and August 27, 2005.
Images about the need for connecting/working with other believers were posted September 18c, 18d , October 3a and 8, 2004.)