A Personal Note

These are such unique days - as unique as any I’ve faced in over 45 years of ministry. But, our God, is not surprised. As your Pastor and your brother in Christ, I want to speak from my heart to a number of you – specifically to a number of groups.

To those of you who are business owners, employers and managers:
We are asking you to be especially mindful of your employees and their family needs. Many of them are hurting and could use a word of encouragement from you.

We are also praying much for you as you wrestle with manpower issues, layoffs, furloughs and job reassignments. May God give you boldness, wisdom and, especially, compassion in the midst of doing what He calls you to do. We are praying you will do your best to try to avoid layoffs. We are asking you to show your employees that you also are willing to sacrifice on their behalf. Colossians 4 calls you to grant to your workers justice and fairness, knowing that you, too, have a master in heaven. As a church, we are here for you - to listen and pray and maybe offer a bit of counsel, when needed.

To those of you who are working…some of you at home:
I encourage you take some time to thank God you still have a job. (Maybe even thank your boss). And now, I hasten to say to each of you: Do your job well!

This is not a paid vacation. This is not a time to do a half-hearted job because no one is looking over your shoulder. This is certainly not a time to lie to yourself or your boss as to how you are really spending what should be your “work time.” Even though your employer may be fooled with how hard you say you are working, you answer to the Lord God Himself. Some of us don’t do well unsupervised. Some do better with a specific job description. Admit it to your boss. Don’t fake it. If you have trouble managing your time, then work out an even more detailed work list. Then keep a journal as to how you are spending your work hours.

Your work is to be a benefit to your employer; not a liability Your job is to be the best worker your employer has, even if you are working at home. In Titus 2:9-10 the apostle Paul urges each of us as workers - no matter where we work - to be subject to our bosses and “to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering (i.e. not stealing even the littlest of things, including time). He goes on to call us to show “all good faith so that we will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”

To those of you who have lost your job or expect to be laid off soon:
We know these are especially tough days. Let us know. We will try to connect you to those who can guide you, perhaps even someone who can offer you some work. (Employers, let us know if you have any openings). However, even if you are getting unemployment, and stimulus money and other benefits, don’t sit around. This time of unemployment is not a vacation. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 reminds us that if a person will not work; neither let him eat.

Your new job during this time of unemployment is finding another job or building some new skill or improving the ones you have. This is also a time to bring your resume up to speed. We have people here at the church who can help you. Your new job during this time of unemployment is also working on repairing your vehicles, and cleaning your home. And don’t forget to spend some of this time helping your neighbors. Perhaps God has given you this time to demonstrate the love of Christ to them in ways you have not had the time to do before.

Also, this would be a good time to do a web search on yourself and ask whether you would be uncomfortable with a prospective employer seeing anything you currently have on social media. Maybe it’s time to clean up your image and re-focus your priorities.
 
To you kids stuck at home:
You need to use this time wisely. This is not a vacation for you, either. Even if your school does not require much from you, your job is to study, read, to get ahead - to move ahead of the pack. Young people, your job at home is your education--to do more than “just get by”.

This is also not a time where your parents have to spend their days trying to keep you from being bored. One of my great fears is the number of hours many of you are spending watching TV, movies, or playing games. A certain amount of that is fine, but be careful. And especially understand the temptation to watch things you should not be watching (You know what I am talking about!).

Your job at home is also to be an even bigger help to your family. It’s not easy to be huddled with your brothers and sisters or your parents. However, your job at home is to be a helper; not a hindrance, a giver, not a taker. You need to go the extra mile and help around the house:

  • Clean up after yourself. If you drop it, pick it up. If you spill it, clean it up. If you want it, get it yourself. If you can’t find it, keep looking and maybe next time, you will put it where it belongs.

  • Help with more chores than normal. Do the dishes without being asked. Pick a few weeds or wash a car without being paid. Oh, you can expect to get paid what every kid should be paid - free room and board, free food, free internet and free junk food and snacks, most days.

To the 93% of you who will be receiving help from the stimulus package:
This is not fun money nor play money. If you need to spend it, distinguish needs from wants. Pay off debt. Make much-needed repairs that will help you in the future. Hire unemployed people to help you with some much-needed projects. Perhaps you can use some of the money to help the needy (one option is to donate to the Campus Bible Church Love Fund and we will disperse these funds prayerfully and wisely).

To all of us facing these challenging times:
The reason we exist is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I believe these are days God has allowed to happen so that He might focus our attention on His priorities. Don’t miss the opportunities to shine for Him at home, in the church, in the workplace, and in the community. Let me remind us of the timeless words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Thanks for hearing my heart. Please take the time to contact at least five people and share a few of these thoughts with them.

Please join me in prayer:  “Heavenly Father, You are our very present help in times like this. We choose to be still and know You are our God. We choose to place our hope in You, not our government and certainly not our own ingenuity and ability to survive. We choose today to place our complete trust in You. In these challenging times may You be pleased with how we do our work heartily in specific ways that bring honor and glory to You. In Jesus name. Amen.”   
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 2020