Tuesday, September 05, 2006

work and rest Work. No matter who we are or what we "do," we all work in some shape, form, or fashion. I go back "to work" this week--after enjoying two months on "no work." By God's grace, I have always tried to apply this verse to my jobs: "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" (Colosians 3:23-24). It is not easy to work heartily when I get no credit or, worse yet, someone else gets the credit for my hard work. It is not easy to work heartily when I am frustrated with my boss, my colleagues, or my students. It is not easy to work heartily when I am burned out or sick. But, still I must focus on the fact that I am to work as for the Lord and not for men. However, thankfully, most days it is very easy to work heartily because, as I have said before, I love my job. To be paid to do what I love is a blessing! How great is our God! I am starting to think that part of "work as for the Lord," also means honoring his priorities and teachings, rather than just an excuse which allows me to be caught up in prefectionism and self-rightousness. Which means, I also have been thinking about how and when to say enough is enough. What is the balance between being the best teacher I can be and working as unto the Lord on one hand and knowing when to stop, to rest, and to enjoy and participate in the other things of life and living on the other hand? I don't know the answer. But, I do know that I want to wrestle with it more. In the next few days I am going to prayerfully set some goals and objectives for the coming year (for teachers--"the new year" is in the fall). I already know that one of these objectives will be to learn more about rest and practice observing it. I read recently (but can't remember where) that the day before observing rest is a day of preparation for the day of rest. This day of prep led to anticipation for the day of rest to come. The Bible is a story of anticipation--waiting for the Savior to come and waiting for him to come again. Partly, I want to observe a day of rest because God thought it was a good thing to do after working and because I want to practice anticipation. I want to be reminded on a weekly basis that I am (supposed to be) waiting eagerly for the Savior to come again. I guess one of the beautiful things about work is that we get to anticipate and enjoy rest. :) This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by Sallie at A Gracious Home. This week the...
readiness, commitment, and compromise At the moment, I am on a plane somewhere between here and there--probably somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. So, here is a quote that set me thinking and pondering this past weekend: Readiness is a sign of commitment. Commitment that is unprepared to sacrifice is merely compromise in disguise. . . . Compromise takes a steady toll and weakens our desire and ability to be committed. In the same way, the believer's commitment to Christ must exact a price in order to maintain its value. We must prepare for the test of our commitment by daily affirming that [it is] worth it. It's worth spending our time in daily prayer. It's worth gathering for worship at church. It's worth enduring hardship and trial, abuse, and even arrest for the privilege of maintaining our commitment without compromise. (taken from the book extreme devotion, emphasis added) "Compromise takes a steady toll." I think this is so true in my own life. Little by little, just like how a steady drip of water can dent a stone, small compromises begin to add up and take a toll. So, I started asking myself: (1) What compromises have I made--large or small? (2) Am I prepared to make sacrifices? which ones? how so? Have I dictated which sacrifices are ok and which ones are not? (3) In what ways do I need to prepare for possible future sacrifices? How can I be ready, prepared? Scripture says "do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12). Do I live too comfortably? If I am not living in the midst of painful trial should I be surprised?

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