Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sabotaging Our Faith

I recently read an article from the Kiplinger organization, which specializes in personal finance and business forecasting. The article was titled, “Seven Career Killers”. At the beginning of the article, the author mentioned obvious things that could get you fired from a job, like lying on a resume or stealing from the company, but focused the article on more subtle ways to sabotage a career.

As I read the article, I realized that we, as Christians, can also learn some things about how to be the best we can be, from these seven “career killers”. Therefore, in this week’s column, you get some career advice, along with some ideas about how to be a better follower of Christ. You get two articles in one! What a deal! I will cover the first four this week, and the last three in next week’s column. The words from the original career article by Erin Burt, with, are in italics, with my comments following in plain print. I have also included Bible references at the end of each item so they can be used in a daily Bible study or prayer time. If you would like to read the entire article by Erin Burt, click here.

1. Procrastinating. Remember the first time you put off studying for a test then crammed at the last minute and still got a decent grade? Many of us have been procrastinating since grade school and have done just fine, but that's a habit you have to break. Sometimes, God says to wait, but when He says move, He means right then! Even at 75 years old, Abraham wasted no time in leaving his home country when God called him. God expects nothing less of us. We as Baptists are terrible at this. Sometimes when God gives us a directive, we have to have a meeting, form a feasibility committee, who then turns it over to another committee, who has to wait until the next deacons meeting to get approval. Then, another committee must be formed to put the plan into action. In the meantime, countless ministry opportunities are missed. When God says go…GO! (Proverbs 6:6-11, Hebrews 11:8-10)

2. Having a sense of entitlement. Our generation was raised on instant gratification -- we're used to getting what we want, and getting it now. Just because we serve the Creator of the Universe, does not mean that we get what we want when we want it. Sometimes we are like spoiled children with our Heavenly Father. We think that because we serve Him, nothing bad should happen to us. In fact, that is the fallacy behind the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Bad things do happen to good people, but bad things happen to bad people also. We think because we are “good” that we are entitled to good things. There is no hierarchy with God. We are all workers of equal status in His Kingdom. (Matthew 5:45, Proverbs 15:3)

3. Settling into your job description. You may have your set responsibilities, but you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to shine. How many of us have been asked to perform a task in the workplace and thought, “That’s not my job!” Just as we may be asked to do something outside of our job description at work, God often asks us to do things outside of our comfort zone in life. When I was in business, I would ask employees to do things that were not a part of their job. I was testing them to see if they would do what they were asked with no questions, and to see if they could perform above their current level of responsibility. God knows our abilities. He has no reason to test us to find out what we can or will do. However, He has a great need to show us what He can do through us, when we are willing to let Him. (Matthew 14:22-33, 20:1-16)

4. Avoiding office politics. When it comes to playing office politics, there is naughty and nice. Naturally, you shouldn't engage in backstabbing and gossiping. But avoiding politics altogether can be deadly for your career. Am I suggesting that there is room for such things in God’s Kingdom? Yes. When it comes to a directive from God, we have no choice but to stand for what God has asked us to do, in spite of how others feel about it. However, we also have a responsibility to make God’s message to the world, relevant to the world. In those cases, we should never compromise the message, but we should always deliver it in a way that can be understood by the receiver.
(1 Corinthians 9:19-23, 10:31-33)

Check back next week for the next three threats to our Christian walk!

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