Archive | November, 2011

5279 feet and counting

30 Nov

I am writing this blog from the sky. Certainly I am not the first to do it, though I may be the first fat guy to do it from the next to last row on a laptop that is too big to fit on the nicely sized table in front of me. As I sit in my seat, I begin to notice that most people feel that flying is the largest occassion for complaint in our culture today. But as I just read a blog by Pastor Curt, I realize that there are so many things to be thankful for, and this flight is really no exception.

I guess the flying experience really starts as you make your way on to the internet to purchase tickets. As exciting as this experience is, it really is disheartening to go to a page, click on a $49 flight and realize that you will pay more in fees than the cost of the initial flight. Then there is the tragic layover. In order to get a flight to leave at the time that fits your schedule, you need to arrive extra late because that flight will be making three stops along the way, yet it is $30 cheaper (of course with the extra stop fees, it may not turn out that way), so you commit to the extra time in the sky and just do it.

Then it comes time to arrange a ride to the airport, that if you don’t make arrangements for, you need to pay one child per day that you keep your car at the airport. So, then you get there in time to spend more time in the airport than you actually will in the air, just to make sure you get through the security checks where they will attempt to ruin your computer, scan your belt and shoes, and then pat you down as if you were a gangster from the movies.

When you finally get to the gate, you realize that fast food lines are incredibly proficient and quick compared to the plane boarding. Of course, once we are there, we refuse to wait anywhere but standing in that little portable hallway that takes you from the airport to the plane. So we stand there until the line incrementally moves as everyone is carrying a bag that is just small enough to fit into the overhead bin if enough grease is applied (of course this is to avoid the bag fees that the airlines started charging), only to be prod into a seat that is the perfect size for my seven year old son, which we are not allowed to recline, for some reason, until we reach a critical ear-popping point.

I have heard all of these complaints and more in the last hour or so, and, which is more, I seem to be surrounded by people who clearly don’t like the predicament, don’t want to work there, or just think a frown is the best way to win friends and influence people. And yet, I am excited that I get to go meet friends that I probably wouldn’t even know if not for this invention. I get to go do a Bible Quiz, which is helping young people be motivated to learn God’s word. I get to get back in time to see my family and go to church this weekend. I get to pass out tracts and go through the gospel with these otherwise miserable people who ask how I am remotely chipper, and I get to have contact with the world through this Airline enabled WiFi.

I think we are truly a blessed people. We get to do incredible things that generations before us could only dream about. I get to go from Florida to Wisconsin to help run a Bible Quiz which features a team from Colorado that teams in Georgia and Tennessee will watch on the internet with a tremendous interest. I got to tell my daughter (through typing) that I loved her as she was going to sleep, despite the fact that I am in transit. These are amazing things. And not to mention that as soon as I land, I’ll be able to hear voices on the other end of my cell phone of people I love and care for and I don’t even need to pay extra to make it happen!

I love that I live in this society, but I am awestruck at how much we complain. We don’t want to put up with the slightest suffering, even if we are taking that suffering in order to make our lives better! People complain about a three minute body search, despite knowing that these searches, however annoying, painful, or misguided, have made air travel safer. Despite knowing that air travel is not a right but a privilege. A privilege that saves hours and dayparts over driving, which in turn saves days and weeks over walking. You don’t have to like the specifics of the search more than anyone else, but you just need perspective.

We also live in a country where it is our right to object to those things we dislike and work to change them. That puts us in the greatest 1% of opportunity in history. Yes, there is so much to be thankful for, and even when it is something that seems like a perfect complaint opportunity, I submit that we could still be thankful, even if we are perilously hopping around at just under a mile high!


Life is Better with Friends

28 Nov

Life is easier with friends. I’ve been going crazy looking for a source for this statement, but I believe it to be virtually self-evident. It is easier to make it through difficult situations with someone else. It is also more fun to be going through the good times, when you have someone to share it with. I think the problem with this statement is not so much the acceptation of it, but rather the fact that getting friends is difficult. It takes hard work, and we’d rather create for ourselves environments where we don’t have to work at having friends.

I have been encouraged more in the last six months to purposefully set up accountability partners than I have in the rest of my life combined. This is mostly due to the teaching of Curt Heffelfinger, but Will Powell and Mike Graham have also greatly encouraged me to do this. Some of the things they have encouraged me to do are to seek out people who can pour themselves into my life, people into whose life I can pour myself, and some similarly-staged brothers who can really challenge me. If it’s difficult to put forth the effort for just one friend, I’m certain getting at least three people to know me well will be incredibly difficult.

So, I find myself looking at how difficult it will be to put together (at least) three friends. Then, I began to consider if I had ever allowed anyone to get close to me. And as I began to think about that reality, I began to realize that all of my most rewarding friendships have been with people who fit this category of knowing me well. As we consider who the people are who will get down and dirty for us (do I hear washing our feet, Pastor Curt?), I know I sometimes think that it really is just too much effort, and yet, as I review my life, I am wondering why I didn’t do it more. I think this accountability they wish me to have is really just something that I should have been seeking all along in my pursing of true friends.

Of course the main person who washes my feet, is my wife, Kelly. The benefits of a marriage where your spouse knows you, holds you accountable, and really pushes you to be better all the time are too numerous to list in a mere paragraph or two, but honestly, when someone that close to you is always trying to make you into a better person, hopefully some of it sticks and you actually do become better. But with Thanksgiving passing, many of us have already recently become exceedingly thankful for our spouses. I am no exception to that sentiment.

But the biggest thought process I’ve had recently has to do with a man who, for reasons I am still not completely sure of, decided to take me under his wing five years ago. That man was Bob Collins. And while I could go on talking about him and his life for a long time (You can read about him from his wife’s tribute letter), at this point I just want to say the blessing to me, because he took the time to invest in me. He spent an hour or two with me each week reading, studying, and praying, and I am so much better for it. He recently passed away, and I know that his death was precious to the Lord. But as I had lunch today with some of his family, I know that my life is so much better because I made the easy decision to allow Bob to be part of my life, to know me, to exhort me, to correct me, to love me, and to help to build into my life of progressive sanctification.

To be sure, had I decided not to allow him to be a true friend, I would not feel the pain. I may barely notice that he was no longer with us, but I would not have had five years of consistent foot washing from a man so godly. While I could easily turn this into a blog to honor him, there may be time for that later. I just think the benefit of doing the mentally and emotionally difficult thing of allowing someone into your life is so beneficial in the long run that the troubles are barely worth even a mention. Life is so much better with mentors, accountability partners, a close and challenging wife, and even proteges. I have heard the challenge, and I am attempting to seek out a few real friends, so that I can experience the benefits of a gospel-shaped community. I can allow God to continue to work on me in that way, and for that I am very hopeful. My life will be better with friends!

College Football needs a makeover (or not)

26 Nov

For virtually all of my life, I have vastly preferred the NFL to College Football. At age five, my almost singular reason was the superior quality of the teams. By age ten, I added the reason that there wasn’t really a championship game. A little over a decade ago, the BCS added a de facto Championship Game (it is actually not an NCAA Championship game), but that makes my complaint that the Playoff system needs more than two participants. While my preference for the NFL never wavered, I do have friends who, for reasons I don’t completely understand, prefer college football. As they explain to me the preference, the main arguments I hear are the “pageantry”, the “tradition”, and the purity of the game.

Now, Marc Ryan is a former band geek and I expect people like him to continue to tout the “pageantry”. Pageantry is defined as pomp, splendor, and magnificence. I guess it is possible that College Football does have this down, my only rebuttal to that would be that if it were really that important and good, NFL teams would pay for halftime shows that would be superior, a la the Super Bowl. I think it is self evident that while College Football pushers will plug the superior pageantry, the reality is that it plays little role in their enjoyment other than in their fertile minds. On the other hand, tradition and purity are legitimate reasons that could cause one to enjoy the game more.

Tradition is a tremendous reason to like college football, especially when juxtaposed with the fact that the college football season has traditionally meant something. When Team A beats Team B in a college football game, they generally will not need to beat that team again to win a national championship. Imagine the New York Jets and the New York Giants in the same division, where they played exactly once every year and you had bragging rights at work with the people who cheered for the other team. Except that is one thing that is awesome about college football also—people actually have a legitimate connection to the teams. Most of these longtime rivalries are from geographically close institutions, where co-workers actually have a reason to cheer for one team (like they actually graduated from the institution), and these traditional rivalries give you bragging rights for an entire year. With this being a big rivalry week, this is especially true right now.

Rivalries take on all forms. The first is the basically even rivalries. This is where home field may have a big bearing and the feel is that neither team has the overall upper hand. North Carolina and Virginia (or Army-Navy) may work for this. The second variety would be even, except one team got an early start (like Florida State and Florida, where after Florida won 16 of the first 19, the series is 18-17-1). Both of these tend to have a year to year feel. You also find that many people at work rely on the recent results when talking to their co-workers. The third type of rivalry is the largely one-sided affairs. Texas against Texas A&M is an example of this. These one-sided rivalries are also great, because the typically losing team’s alumni get a chance to talk all year about how it “might” happen.

For those of you who pay attention to those sorts of things, the Texas against Texas A&M rivalry has come to an end. This is where I begin to get irritated. If one of the major selling points for the greatness of college football is tradition, we are experiencing an erosion of that greatness. One of the great rivalries was lost when the Big 12 formed and Oklahoma-Nebraska became a not every year event. More are falling apart with the most recent realignment (Missouri-Kansas and Illinois-Northwestern, for example).

Another factor often not considered is the larger conferences don’t allow for as many out of conference games. For example, when the Bowl Coalition began in the 1993 season, most of the major conferences (the Southwest, the Big 8, the Big East, the ACC, for example) had fewer than ten teams and most conferences had 7 conference games at most. Now, most conferences are looking at scheduling nine conference games. This hurts the ability to continue rivalries out of conference. In addition, the current system that rewards wins against Division 2 teams more than competitive games has led to the elimination of rivalries, such as Miami-Florida or Pitt-Penn State.

The final plug for college football’s greatness as the purity of the game seems to be the easiest to debunk. When Boise State and BYU considered joining the Big EAST (and TCU did join, despite never playing a game) for the bigger payday, clearly the colleges are after the money. While the players may not be getting paid (recent discoveries seem to suggest many are being paid under the table), clearly the event itself is not done for completely altruistic reasons. So, the reasons I currently hear for college football are not really true anymore, at least in my mind.

Now, I think change is an inescapable part of the human condition, but it isn’t as simple as saying that new traditions will be formed. Tessa Altman recently stated, “Traditions aren’t new—that’s what makes them traditions.” New traditions can happen and in ten years, we may talk about the greatness of these super conferences, but if traditions are clearly being ignored in this new college football way of life, and if that is one of the calling cards of college football, it is losing some of its current allure.

Now, if this eventually leads us to a more precise playoff system where all teams actually have a chance at the beginning of the season while still making the regular season mean something, that could be awesome. If every beginning is actually some other beginning’s end, then could it be that this is the beginning of something where we all look back as the tipping point where college football achieved greatness? Alternatively, could it just look at this as the time College Football threw away everything that made it cool? Only time will tell, and I am cautiously optimistic about the changes, but the current college football apologists must really be nervous!

What’s in a Holiday?

24 Nov

Ask just about any two people about just about any holiday, and you are likely to get two different answers about what the holiday is about and what makes it important. This usually becomes a big deal when someone moves out of their parents’ house or gets married or has a child or the child passes some arbitrary milestone or you meet a new friend who does something slightly different or you become more educated or…well, you just live life. This is certainly the case for just about every holiday, but for me, the worst holiday is Thanksgiving.

There are so many different things that so many different people do for Thanksgiving that to me it seems to be the most random of all holidays. On the surface, the one factor that brings it together for most people is food, and since I love food, it seems crazy that I cannot get into this holiday a little more. And when trying to determine why, I find myself at a loss. As a youngster, I loved it because it is the one holiday (other than Christmas) where you get the most time off of school, but now that carries little weight for me, as I rarely go to school at all these days.

The one thing I really remember about Thanksgiving is…well, I really don’t remember any traditions we had other than eating, and even that didn’t seem to be the same every year. The one constant was we had turkey, as most people do. I am on record as saying that there is a reason that people only eat turkey once a year—it takes them that long to forget how bad it is, so they will again relish the fact that it puts you in a relative coma with the tryptophan. I now realize that some people like it, but I still think overall there is a reason why several different fish, along with beef, pork, and chicken are all more popular meats—they taste better. All I really remember about Thanksgiving was that no matter where we ate (and I seem to remember celebrating at many different places), we ate turkey and some other weird foods after which all the adults fell asleep, and I got to do something that was relatively fun.

As I got older and had a little more say over that relatively fun thing, I began to lobby for football. Oddly, while I am a sports nut, I did not always get my way, and often did something like play cards with my sister, which, while fun, is hardly an earth-shattering event that necessitates a lot of schedule re-arranging to duplicate these awesome memories. So, as I got a little older and went to college, I never did anything especially great for Thanksgiving. For example, I spent one weekend with the only other six people on campus and we rented about 20 movies from Blockbuster (back when Blockbuster had physical stores, kids) and watched a bunch of them while relishing the fact that we had no homework. As fun as I had that weekend, I don’t believe I spent a collective five hours with those six kids during the rest of my tenure at college. They were fine people, but as you can see, Thanksgiving wasn’t something that made my calendar stand on its toes. I just did whatever flowed easily.

As I got a little older and spent less time at my parents’ house (so I could spend more time with Kelly), I rounded this holiday into just an excuse to watch more football. And since I felt no specific attachment to turkey, I claimed a new meat for me and my new bride—steak. This is where the holiday started to take a turn (for the worse, in my mind). My mother, who is one of the most thorough people you could ever meet was astoundingly good at making the mundane seem extraordinary (I’m sure I’ll write more on this later, but this could be why this holiday that is extraordinary to everyone else didn’t seem so to me). She began to talk about how extraordinary Thanksgiving was in what I thought was a reasonable ploy to get her son, who was never around anymore, to come around at a time when everyone was off work. To me, as long as there was football and steak, I didn’t care. The only problem is that my wife has this same skill, and she began to talk about how much she missed the food of her youth, and she promises me that her family will cook me a steak every year I go to their place.

As you can hopefully see, this leaves me with two seemingly tantalizing opportunities for a holiday that now seems like it is more work than it ever was fun. So I put my foot down and say that we will only celebrate Thanksgiving at our house. Others can come and eat steak with us, but it will be at our place. Well, those of you who are adults know that that plan of mine couldn’t last very long, when I have my wife and her family pulling me one way and my parents wanting me to go another way. At the end of the day, I now just want this holiday to be over with, so I can move on to my regular life that I like so much. I was able to dodge my way through this minefield (I think) until we began having children. Now, each choice, every year becomes the beginning of a tradition that will now mold they way each child approaches their future, including their potential marriage when dealing with Thanksgiving. So, I feel forced to do something, and so usually this holiday makes a group of people frustrated, foremost of which is me.

However the most unfortunate thing is I now see my children sharing in this predicament. They seem to not be fond of “Thanksgiving food” mostly including turkey. And as much as I attempt to support whatever we are doing, they are sitting there saying, “Dad, if you get a steak, why do we have to eat this slop?” I have no good answer to this conundrum, and therefore I empathize greatly with the fact that my children are miserable. On the bright side, they enjoy the time with family, but then again so did I as a child and so do they every other time they see them. While they like family, there really isn’t anything particularly special about seeing them while eating bad food. They just aren’t building the types of memories that will make this holiday a stalwart to them. They aren’t unified with the rest of our culture on the one thing on which everyone else is seemingly unified—food.

So this leads me to have to make a decision. First, I need to determine what are the elements of Thanksgiving that I think are important? Second, how do I impart them to my children? Third, how do I de-emphasize the stuff I don’t care about? Fourth, how do I break the cycle so that the spouses of my children can have a fighting chance of enjoying Thanksgiving? And the reality is I don’t have a single answer and I’m out of words. Thanks for reading!

I am Thankful for My Life!

22 Nov

Today is my parents‘s anniversary. The first time I remember celebrating it, it was also Thanksgiving. It took me years to realize that the two events were not always on the same day, but even still November 22 has always been my unofficial Thanksgiving, so today I will write about a few of the things for which I am thankful. Unless you spend an entire month thanking people, like my sister Jenni does, you are bound to miss a few people and situations for which gratefulness exists but it is difficult to put into words or in a litany of things, it is accidentally omitted. Nevertheless, I will attempt to do the impossible and list all of the things for which I am thankful in just one blog.

First, I am very thankful for my above-mentioned parents. I am thankful for the wonderful Christian heritage I had with them. I’m also thankful for my wife and how much she makes my life more meaningful. I am thankful for her parents and that they are generally kind to me, although I’m sure they hoped for better for their daughter. I’m so thankful that God blessed me with three beautiful children who generally love me as well as young children can. I’m grateful for my sister who has always challenged me to be better. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to learn how to have a family grow when Amber and Rebekah moved in with us. I am really thankful for my cousins who made vacations more bearable. I am thankful that I have the world’s most hospitable aunts and uncles on both sides. In reality, I am thankful for my entire family. I am also thankful for Kelly’s family and how much fun we’ve had over the years.

I’m thankful that I got to go to The Master’s Academy. While some may complain about the school, it was a fantastic education with a Christian emphasis, where I met most of my earliest mentors. I guess I should say that I’m thankful for all those people who taught me there. I so appreciate the fact that many of the horrors of this world were kept from me. I love the fact that I went to LeTourneau University. I met so many great friends there and, once again, I was able to learn about things from a Christian perspective. The professors there began to challenge me in new ways and I’m forever indebted to them. I am thankful that I was able to go to graduate school and get two degrees. While I may not use the degrees in the traditional sense every day, I truly value and apprecricte my education, and I believe that it benefits everything I do professionally!

Speaking of my occupational endeavors, I am thankful for my varied career. I am thankful that I got to learn how to work at McDonald’s and work with some great friends there. I am so grateful that I got to work at Belhaven and exercise some skills of integration of many aspects I had previously studied and learned. I so appreciate the opportunity I had to teach at Central Florida Christian Academy and teach with some wonderful people I didn’t know. The students I had truly did change my life. I am so glad that I took the opportunity to teach Math Camp at The Master’s Academy despite my extreme hesitancy. Some of my best friends came from there. I am thankful that I got to teach at IFREC. I got the opportunity to hone my teaching skills while travelling the state and I really became an expert in real estate. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Freddie and the guys at Investors Real Estate. I truly learned so many things from each of them and it was a tremendous period in my life. I am thankful for the current opportunity at Cosmopolitan Title and Home Realty, as I think God is going to use it to help me accomplish great things for him.

I am thankful that we live in a country where we have relative freedom. I am grateful for the opportunity to vote, peaceably assemble, and speak out against the things with which we disagree. So many people in the world today and throughout human history have not been given those liberties. I am glad we live in a country that values equal rights for all. We have a leader who just over a generation ago would have received violent discrimination and disenfranchisement. That is a phenomenally quick time for a country to turn things around, which can be such an encouragement to anyone who feels as if they are currently excluded. At the same time, it is a reminder to us that we cannot give up. We have religious freedom in this country, and none of these liberties are guaranteed to humans.

I am thankful the ministries I have been able to be a part of.  The most stable ministry in my life has been Bible Quizzing, as I began quizzing in 1983.  I participated while I was still in school, and then I became head of the Florida Quizzing Association.  I am so thankful for all the people I have met through this ministry and all the people who have ministered to me and poured into my life through it.  I am thankful for all the churches that I’ve been associated with.  I am uber-thankful for the ministry at Orlando Grace Church, where God has currently called me to worship and serve.

Most of all, I am thankful that God loved me while I was unlovable.  I am thankful that I’ve been given a life of  progressive sanctification, where I can begin to recognize more the people and things for which I should be thankful.  I’m thankful that we have these social outlets where I can post this, have hundreds of “followers” or “friends,” and just keep up with people that were previously impossible to keep up with.  And, lastly, thanks to those of you who read this and made my time slightly better than a complete waste!

The BCS works! (it just needs a new job description)

20 Nov

Every year it seems that there is a large conversation about whether the BCS is good for college football or bad. And while I am less than completely satisfied with the BCS, it is a definite improvement over that which came before. It is essentially A two team playoff system that selects what we believe are the two best teams in the country. There have been a couple of times where it has been disputed. The first is the year (2004 bowl for 2003 season) that USC was ranked number one in the AP and was excluded from the Championship game. The next year USC was included in the game (and won), but Auburn was an undefeated AQ conference team that did not get a chance to participate.

While the above two examples are less than ideal, the reality is that these were both situations where the BCS was able to accomplish exactly what it was intended to do. Differentiate between top teams that are difficult to distinguish. The BCS is a system which can only do one thing—pick the top two teams. When people argue that the system is broken or not working, remember that it only does this one thing. When people say that the BCS worked “this” year, they are usually merely stating that the two best teams were obvious. The BCS only chooses two teams from among all the college football teams.

What I want to discuss, however, is the one year where the BCS didn’t “work.” The 2007 BCS Championship Game was the one time that most experts agree that the best two teams were not even arguably in the game. In the final 2006 ballot, there was a vote sway (or, as Michigan fans correctly point out, a defection) of 180 points from the next to last ballot to the last, despite the fact that Michigan did not even play a game, and the only game Florida played in between was a game that they did not cover the spread against a presumed vastly inferior team—Arkansas. The reason the BCS didn’t work was because voters finagled their ballots to assure that it did not.

Now, I am a huge fan of Colin Cowherd as a sports caster and think he normally does a very good job of being objective. Before the game, he (like everyone else) believed that the two best teams were not in the game. After the game, which the double digit underdog Florida Gators won by 27, Colin changed his position and asserted that a small playoff would be beneficial. I am not sure if he still rides that idea, but I’ve recently heard him stating that he wants to see the best two teams play and the BCS should do that. But I think he may be missing something this year.

Now, here’s the deal. I believe that LSU and Alabama are, in fact, the two best teams in the country. I, also, am a believer (much like I was [against most experts] in the 2006-07 season) that the SEC is the best conference in college football. But, I believe the voters did the correct thing then by “defecting” against Michigan, and I think the best thing this year would be to see a “defection” against Alabama. Now, I saw the LSU-Alabama game, and I believe that Alabama was the better team. And if they do play again, I would favor Alabama (and possibly even root for them). But, just because most of us believe the SEC is the best, how do we know that we aren’t deluding ourselves, as we were in 2006, when we thought the Big Ten was vastly superior?

If I presented you a team whose schedule was Oregon, Northwestern State, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Kent State, Penn State, North Texas, Georgia Southern, Missouri State, New Mexico, Troy, and Texas A&M; most would say that this schedule stinks. It ranks #84 in Division 1 FBS Strength of Schedule right now. Whose schedule is it? It is the out of conference schedule of the teams currently ranked number 1, 2, and 3 in the BCS. The presumed best teams have that weak schedule on which to hang their hat. The rest of the schedule is merely beating up on fellow SEC teams, which may be artificially inflated. If you want to tout the rest of the SEC proving its strength in its out of conference schedule, the SEC East Division champion was completely dismantled by the Mountain West runner-up Boise State.

In the arbitrary schedule above, Oregon is a very good team; Penn State is a potential conference champion; West Virginia and Texas A&M are teams we thought were good, but the other teams show that these SEC “juggernauts” largely beefed up on non-contenders. And who can blame them? The system rewards a 3-point win over a Division II team more than a a 3-point loss to the number one team in the country. Nevertheless, to just assume that a conference deserves the top two spots is a problem. What if we find out by halfway through the bowl season that the SEC is clearly a weaker conference than, say, the Big Ten. No one really thinks we will, but all the experts were convinced the top Conference was the Big Ten back in 2006-07.

Colin’s main argument is that every other sport allows rematches and we should be OK with rematches in College Football. Let me state that I am fine with rematches in general. And, I’d love to see an (at least) 8 team playoff system (which is still fewer teams than every other NCAA football division has in its playoffs) where we are able to see abundant rematches, and perhaps even see teams try to have a more difficult out-of-conference schedule in preparation. But when we are merely choosing the best two teams in the country, I think it should be impossible to prove that you are the best team merely by beating teams within your conference. At the minimum, we need to make the SEC champion beat a great team from another conference to prove that they are the best team in the country. Then we need to make the BCS (which is almost always successful in its job) have a different job—like maybe picking the best eight teams.

Working Heartily

18 Nov

I recently wrote about how our culture devalues rest.  In fact, I often hear myself being anti-sleep and thinking that rest itself is merely time away from productivity.  Nevertheless I believe that some of us, including me from time to time, let the pendulum swing the other way.  We work lazily or are half-hearted in our approach to work.  We grumble about our job and do the “tongue-in-cheek” rant (that contains a little too much fact) about how terrible our job is.  And I think this is just as bad as not taking our rest seriously.

I believe some of this general laziness of work is because of not taking rest seriously and we end up without the ability to work as hard as we should.  At the same time, some people have terrible bosses and might want to start looking for work elsewhere, but for the most part, we do not take our work as service to our Lord.  The Scriptures say that our work should be done “heartily as to the Lord and not unto men.”  Too many people work only for the paycheck.  Supporting our family is important, and I am not suggesting we discount the pay, but for our work to only be a means of making money seems like insufficient motivation.  Money alone is not a good enough reason for most of us to work.

Most of the people who read this blog live in a country that is so overcome with excess that we consider ourselves in need of assistance from others (and will occupy any space we think will help) even though those same people are in the top 10% of income and possessions worldwide.  The entitlement is so great that people get angry if their parents want to do something other than give their money to them.  We feel that we need some specific item that can give us instant some gratification.  However, looking to money or possessions will never be satisfactory for the fulfillment that work is supposed to give us.

Doubtlessly, we need money and should not work for free, but if you can’t see anything noble in your work, other than the pay, you will eventually neglect much of the task at hand.  Even the person who is chronically worried about pay would slack off on issues that do not directly affect one’s pay.  This does not lead to an overall quality of work.  This isn’t just an ethereal thought process, but I can also give you practical examples.  For most of the last 15 years, I have been in a position of hiring people and having a say in how much they get paid.  Obviously, those who argue for a higher salary (whether it be a per hour wage or commission split) are wanting to be able to get paid more without putting forth more work.  My advice to these people, without fail (and regardless of what my ultimate decision ends up being), is to be less micro-income focused.  I always tell these employees, “If you work heartily and make yourself indispensable, not only would I not have a choice but to grant this request, but you would not even need to ask.”  I really think if we all took this approach, our work would be more God-honoring.

From a broader standpoint, our culture is inundated with “get rich quick” schemes.  Many “experts” will tell you that you can make money without doing any work or putting any money down.  Disregarding, for this blog at least, that these things can be illegal, getting money instantly like that can be a curse.  I’ve seen articles about this conclusion in the Huffington Post and the Financial Samurai, and a certain 7th grade history teacher used to tell us this.  But I think it is easier to see a better way.  If we see our work as our service to the Lord, and If we see that everything we do is a reflection of our gratefulness to Him for all from which He has delivered us; then we cannot help but do our work with boundless enthusiasm.

If our boss is a jerk, we realize that we don’t ultimately work for him.  If our income is less than we like, we can learn to live off of less.  We must realize that no amount of money or no boss situation is worth sacrificing the fact that we have an opportunity, every day, to show what we really are and Whom we really represent.  Actually, if I am more honest, we don’t just have that opportunity, but we actually do that.  I guess I’m just pointing this fact out, so that I (and those scattered readers) can live aware of such a thing.  So that when I feel myself falling into a general work lethargy and I know that I’ve rested as I should, I need to change my paradigm and work my job as if I work for the Lord, because I do.  And so do you!