Weekly Thought – September 16, 2014
Fred watered. He loved talent and loved nurturing (but not hovering). Harold Myra, the retired CEO of Christianity Today International, enjoyed the benefit of mutual mentoring. He and Fred were truly “iron sharpening iron.”
Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment (Northfield Publishing) is a new collaboration among three experienced and wise men: Gary Chapman, Paul White, and Harold Myra. It boldly presents the problems in business and ministry arenas. It creatively and clearly advances solutions, as well. It is helpful, as Fred would say!
Several years ago, a friend of mine was in deep financial trouble. Bankruptcy was a distinct possibility. He asked his pastor to pray for him. Before the pastor began, he said, “I will pray if you will promise me you won’t be mad at God even if you declare bankruptcy.” My friend agreed, and has repeatedly said he believes this was the first step in his spiritual growth.
Not only should we avoid getting mad at God in adverse times, but we should avoid the “spoiled brat” syndrome, expecting God to break the rules and make exceptions just for us. “Why me? I’ve been a good Christian. I don’t drink, smoke, or chase women.” This high profile executive showed up at all the Christian events, but had a most immature view of himself and God. The definition is in who we are in Christ, not in what we don’t do. Too many Christians want God to put them in a holy bubble, protecting them from life’s problems. A more mature attitude is, “Why not me?”
The Marines expect and want the toughest jobs in the service. The old Catholic mystics viewed spiritual growth as the opportunity for tough assignments.
In troubling times, it is important to develop the right image of God. We tend to draw our own imagery based on what we need Him to look like. A clear understanding of God in the Bible keeps our head straight. While lecturing at a conservative seminary, a student approached me and said, “God has me just where He wants me to be.” “Where is that?” I asked. “Broke,” was his quick reply. Believing his image of God was faulty, and wanting to be helpful, I answered him. “We have a son. If I felt he was saying I had him right where I wanted him, and that was broke, then I’d be very disappointed.”
Don’t blame God for the consequences of your own irresponsibility.
God loves us. We persevere because we know His presence and rest in the relationship. Ray Stedman, the venerable teacher and pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, told me his life turned around when he found out that “God is for me.”
This week think carefully about: 1) How clear am I on my relationship with God? 2) When did I realize God is for me? 3) What tough assignments have I undertaken?
Words of Wisdom: “Don’t blame God for the consequences of your own irresponsibility.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to you! For God is my refuge, the God who loves me.” (Psalms 59:17 NET Bible)