By the time you’re as old as Pete and I are, life has thrown some pretty dramatic curve balls. There have been periods of calm, joy, success, and everything going just right. And then there are those times when all hell breaks loose (literally), the enemy attacks, and you wonder what in the world God is doing!
Pete’s recent medical adventures (see my March 15 post: Pete Tries to Go to Heaven… Again) have proved to be both a “what in the world!” experience and a huge opportunity to know God better. One thing that God has impressed on me over the last few months is that He is in charge even when everything is going crazy.
Funny that this should come right after my last post, on Waiting for Direction…
I’m spoiled, I know. I haven’t had to hold a permanent, paid job since I quit teaching with the birth of our first child. That “child” is now in her early 30s. I’ve been busy, mind you. On our income tax, I always list my occupation as “volunteer.”
I’ve volunteered in our daughters’ classrooms, as a docent at a wildlife refuge, for various mission organizations, as a Colorado Master Gardener, for our local chapter of the National Audubon Society, and at churches—rocking babies, in Sunday school classrooms, with youth groups, on mission committees, in kitchens, as administrative help, you name it and I’ve done it. Some of these positions have involved many hours a week for years at a time.
But the thing about volunteering is you don’t earn any money. Lots of heart-felt appreciation, mind you, but appreciation doesn’t pay the bills.
“God, what do you want me to do now?” It seems I’ve asked that same question over and over as I’ve lived my life. Years ago, I was a new grad, the ink on my degree barely dry. Suddenly I was faced with a major decision—what should I do with my education? It was tempting to apply to grad school, sticking with what I knew. On the other hand, I was so tired of school! Maybe I should look for a job. Unfortunately, my degree was one of those lacking a clear career path. I spent hours praying, lost in a sea of choices.
I’ve been grumbling way too much lately. Whining. Complaining. I hadn’t even realized that I’d gotten into the habit until my long-suffering husband pointed it out. And when he did, I didn’t exactly feel a rush of appreciation—“Gee honey, you’re right, thank you so much for telling me that I’ve been a grouch.” Instead, I retreated to my wife-cave (hey, if men can have caves, why not women?) and sulked. I even complained to God about Pete’s remarks! Then, gently but firmly, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to what I’d been doing. Sheesh. How embarrassing.
In the Evangelical Hierarchy of Sins, complaining isn’t the worst offense. In fact, I doubt we’d put it in the top ten. But God has a different perspective.
I’ve always tried to do excellent work whether as a volunteer or a paid employee. I believe God desires for us to do our best at all times, as a reflection of His presence in our lives. As Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24—“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’
We’re also told to obey earthly authorities (1 Peter 2:13). But what do we do when these two Godly commandments conflict with one another?
Several times in the course of my life I’ve come up against. circumstances where I was under the authority of someone who told me, “Don’t think—just do it my way.” And each time, their way wasn’t very good.
You’ve seen the ads:
I always assumed such things were scams, and ignored them. Then an acquaintance got sucked in, and I decided to do a little research. Are any of these offers legitimate? Can you really make money stuffing envelopes, typing, or commenting on blogs? Thankfully, several well-known sites have done the research on these claims, so I didn’t have to. Here’s what they found.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How many times were we asked that as kids? And how many kids announce that they want to be a “nobody” when they become adults? We want to be astronauts, firefighters and doctors, or perhaps president. In many Christian families, the goal is more spiritual: pastor or missionary. The bottom line is, everyone wants to be significant.
I was raised with the message that “I could be anything I wanted” when I grew up. Of course that’s ridiculous. I’m such a klutz, I fell off my stool in art class in 8th grade (and the social fail of it obviously scarred me for life). Clearly, I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete… or a whole host of other things.