Two (or More) Jobs

1I have more than one job. I serve on a church staff, and I work at a nonprofit, community-based organization. (I also write, speak, etc., but let’s set that aside for the sake of this post).

I sometimes think of them as my inside and outside jobs. There are a lot similarities. Both are service, other-oriented. Both involve a lot of communication and relationships.

But because I’ve worked in ministry off and on through the years, I see some differences, too. Anyone who has worked in a church knows there is a danger of developing an “inside” perspective. We can get so caught up with the day-to-day operations and programs of the church that we neglect the impact we’re supposed to have on the community and world. Or we leave that for another staff member or committee to cover. We get used to certain terminology. Most our friends are within the church. Even though it’s not usually intentional, we begin to isolate ourselves from the outside world, which means we can’t have as much influence on others, and we don’t get frequent reality checks of what the world is up to. We can easily slip into an “us” and “them” mentality.

My outside job keeps me in check. And I love it! I get to come in contact with such a variety of people with different perspectives, interests, and backgrounds. I get to hear their stories, concerns, and even their assumptions about “you Christians.” Sometimes the harsh reality of what people think about Christians is difficult to hear, but I can also understand why people think some of the negative stuff about Christians. I can’t prove them wrong with words, but maybe I can begin to chip away at some of those assumptions by living consistently, replacing hypocrisy with authenticity, judgment with compassion, and elitism with humility.

You don’t have to work an inside and outside job to see it. Any of us can and should see the differences  yet begin to live in a way that chips away at the harsh generalizations (that go both ways). We don’t have to get defensive or see each other as opposition. We can acknowledge we have differences but adamantly look for common ground.

We all have two (or more) jobs. But how well are we doing at both?

The Giving of Worship

worship-psdWorship is about giving.

What are you willing to give?

What occupies your mind and heart?

Worship isn’t about a specific time slot, a day of the week on your calendar.

Worship isn’t about attending church.

It’s daily and constant.

It’s a willingness to give.

It’s what occupies your heart and mind.

What is it?

Because we all worship something.

Past, Present, and Future, All in One View

©2014 PurePurpose.org
©2014 PurePurpose.org

I almost missed the experience the first time I was in Israel. Because I was “misplaced” one day, I savored my walks along the beautiful promenade every remaining day of the trip. I looked forward to enjoying the area, view, and experience again.

A friend and I took a “test walk” late one afternoon to make sure I remembered the route. We planned to spend time at the promenade a couple days later on Shabbat, reading Scriptures together. (I’ll share that experience over the next several days.)

We walked through the trees to a wide, beautiful view.

All in one view: the Old City, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, and Mount of Olives (and much more). As I stared at the details of what I saw, I considered of the scope of it all.

Past, present, and future.

I was looking at history. Abraham’s faith was tested here. David bought a threshing floor. His son, Solomon, built the temple. Jeremiah warned God’s people. The walls of the city and temple were destroyed as the Jews in Judea were taken into Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah and Ezra led the temple rebuilding process. Jesus taught, healed, confronted, prayed, and walked to His death. After His resurrection, He ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. His disciples continued His work.

I was looking at the present. Disciples are still doing His work. There is still conflict, as there has been throughout history. People struggle to agree who has control over what piece of land and who can pray where. Some are faithful in their pursuit of God’s will. Some are driven by pride. Others jump into the debate even if they don’t have much personal investment because it’s difficult to live life here without taking a stand. Without knowing each individual involved, it can be difficult to identify who has which motive. Some struggle to have peace by refusing conflict. Some choose conflict without regard for peace. Many seek peace but know conflict is the required sacrifice to reach it.

I was looking at the future. No political party is going to settle what happens on this land. No international governing body will have the last say. No group of faith, no matter what their beliefs, will have the power or authority to make the future happen. That role belongs to one Person: Jesus. Just because He has the last say doesn’t mean we can disengage and passively wait. We have responsibility in the present.

We look at history to learn and grow.

We look at the future for hope and assurance.

We live in the present with faith and obedience, one step at a time on the land He has placed us on.