This week someone in the IT department of my law firm died. No details were provided regarding the cause of his death, but it appeared his death was not unexpected even though he was only a middle-aged man.
Attorneys in the firm responded to the email of his death by recounting stories of how he had helped them with their computer issues, and how he was always patient with them. That was about as personal as it got.
At first it seemed sad to me that the best we could do was talk about his IT support skills, but then I realized that was the only way we knew him.
I’m sure his family knew him more fully as a person because they related to him as a husband, father, son, or sibling, but they are only a handful of people. We are a law firm of 750. In short, at work he was known more widely but less fully. And that is the case with most of us.
The other night, I ate dinner at the hotel across the street. I ordered “The Gobbler,” which. as you guessed, is their version of the turkey sandwich. When it arrived, I was immediately disappointed. It was one of those triple-deckers, with an extra piece of bread in the middle, all-in-all about 5 inches thick.
They would have had to call the local fire department for the Jaws of Life to pry my mouth open wide enough for me to get a bite of this sandwich.
So there I sat trying to figure out how to get what should have been a simple turkey and cheese sandwich into my pie hole. Was I really supposed to eat it with a knife and fork?
One of the purposes of this blog is to imagine what the world will look like as the the kingdom of God advances and the earth is reclaimed for King Jesus. This is another way of asking what God intends for the world.
In the realm of work, this question is essential because it establishes the reason a job exists in the kingdom of God. Answering that question correctly with regard to one’s job can bring a clarity of purpose and solution for other problems that typically arise in the workplace.
is In the movie, Moneyball, the Oakland Athletic’s general manager, Billy Beane, is pondering what he is trying to do in building a winning Major League Baseball team. He is in fact revolutionizing the game through the use of analytics in an effort to allow teams with less money to compete with teams with much larger payrolls.
But in the midst of despair Beane tells an associate, “Baseball doesn’t matter.” The statement is a shocker because by this time in the movie, the viewer is pulling for Beane to succeed and cannot help but ask, “Why does baseball matter?”
It’s a question that could be asked of any professional sport. Players are paid millions of dollars a year; they are idolized, and commercialized. Why? It’s just a game, right?
My mother has not walked in over a year. She has been in a wheelchair, the victim of severe arthritis and a fall that broke her hip. The pain was so persistent and severe she could not sleep at night, and over the last week she told me three times she just wanted to die.
The orthopedic surgeon in Indiana told her there was nothing he could do for her. She would not walk again, and her pain would only get worse.
But on Tuesday, I watched her take her first steps in more than a year, and by Wednesday, the pain-inspired frowns and forced smiles she had worn for the past year had been replaced with a joyful smile, and the ebullient attitude of one who had begun to live again. This transformation happened because an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Texas was skilled enough to do what many other good orthopedic surgeons could not—perform hip replacement surgery on an 86 year old with a fused, severely arthritic hip.
Ezra returned with a group of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem under the imprimatur of Persian king, Artaxerxes, where God would use him to restore the Jewish religion in Judah. While Artaxerxes gave Ezra permission to lead, the Bible makes it clear the Lord was behind it and that He chose Ezra “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:9-10. In other words, the Lord chose to work through Ezra because Ezra had developed the skills necessary to make himself useful to God.
If you don’t follow professional golf, you probably haven’t heard. There is a new professional golf tour being backed by the Saudis and the money they are offering the best players in the world to join is staggering. For example, it has been rumored the SGL has offered Bryson DeChambeau $240 million just to show up.
Reportedly, the top 100 professional golfers in the world have already been contacted by the SGL, and it looks like many will jump ship from America’s PGA Tour to join the SGL. What has been most interesting to me and most relevant to this blog is the criticism coming from Americans against those who are thinking of leaving the PGA Tour for the SGL.
The main criticism coming from Americans is that these professional golfers are making the decision to join the SGL purely for the money. “Are the millions they already make not enough?,” people ask. Although I suspect most people raising the criticism do so hypocritically (as most people make their own career choices and job changes based on money), their criticism is based on the money.
One of the fundamentals that applies to work in the kingdom of God is that Christians are called to do their work sincerely. Colossians 3:22. This means Christians should do their jobs primarily for the purpose for which that job exists in the kingdom of God. One should perform the job of a trial lawyer to ensure justice is done on the earth, a doctor to heal, and a pastor to pastor. Getting paid for such work is appropriate (Luke 10:7; I Tim. 5:18), but it is not the purpose for which we work.