Friday, January 30, 2015

Who Do You Really Work For?--by Linden Malki

There is a man who used to work with me who grew up attending a local church.  As a teenager, he was offered a job by a man active in his church, whom he saw as a godly man.  He discovered that what a person is on the job during the week can be totally different than what people see on a Sunday morning.  This applies to anyone at any level in the organization,  or as your job interacts with with the rest of us.  My mom once worked in the financial office of a small college in the Pacific Northwest, and at one point during an economic crunch, they were approached by a local farmer about paying part of his daughter's tuition in potatoes for the college dining hall.  They made the deal, but when the potatoes arrived, they were small, scruffy ones that were obviously the ones the farmer hadn't been able to sell.  And then the daughter came in asking for a part-time job.  So Mom set her up to work in the kitchen--peeling those potatoes. 

The combination of work and money shows what is important to you. You may have lots of money, or very little,  but what is your attitude about money?  Do you see everything in relation to how much money is there in it?  I've been in conversations with people whose whole conversation is how much they make (or grouch about how little),  how much somebody else has, what their neighbors' houses are worth, and how much money their friends and associates have.  I recall a party where the host had invited a whole bunch of supposedly wealthy and influencial people, and some people he was trying to impress with the hotshots he knew.  What I noticed that the hotshots sat together and talked about themselves and ignored everybody else--including the host, whose food they were happy enough to eat, but whose company they didn't care about. Even people without much money can be obsessed with it; the most compulsive budgeter I ever knew turned out to be an embezzler.  And people who grew up poor can become obsessed with having money. I knew two brothers like this, one of whom spent money to show off, the other lived poor and squirreled a lot. Both died with their affairs in a mess and their families squabbling. 

This is nothing new. Jesus was approached by a man once who asked him to "tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."  Jesus' reply: "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for  life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”  And He warned against amassing treasures in this world rather than being rich in the things of God.  (Luke 12:13-21)

Yes, we need to work; not only for the real needs of everyday life, but also for the real values of this life.  We need to feed and shelter our families; to work with others in our community and world to accomplish things beyond our individual strength, to learn from and teach each other, to do our part in meeting the real needs of those we share this world with.  What does our everyday work show about our values, our character, and our God? 

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