Healing the Division

Valentines is a day dedicated to show and share love. Unfortunately, we are all too eger to share our thoughts and show our contempt for those who think, act or behave differently than ourselves. It has caused a large division within our society. There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.

When I was ten, my family moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to him. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really didn’t know any better. Somehow, I got on the wrong side of  the playground bully. The bully, Nelson, was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. Nelson called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why Nelson wanted to beat me up.

As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked Nelson why he was mad. Nelson said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.

The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not made any derogatory remarks against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next few of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on this friendship. While God call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.

Unfortunately, our society is all about division. It might be politics, religion, race, gender, sexual preference. Everyone feels it is better to condemn and ridicule versus loving and accepting. We don’t all have to agree with each other. In fact, that is not a good thing. We need to bring our differences, our experiences, our skills, our background to make things better. We were made unique and different. It is time we celebrate our differences and simply love one another. I encourage everyone to try blessing others. Celebrate the differences through the love of Jesus. “For God so loved the world He sent His only Son to die for us.” This way we can be reconciled with God, just as we reconcile with each other!

Give someone a Valentines present!

Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.

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How Are You Doing?

Right now, it is difficult to smile. I praise God, as I know He is good. He wants good for me and is not a malicious father. So how to handle the greetings when I am out and about? Usually we have a pleasant greeting where we say something like, “Hi, how are you?” We are not really asking about a person’s well-being, rather we are simply a nice way to start a conversation. I find myself using this greeting with anyone, even a person I am just passing by. A good, “hey, how are you?” and a slight head raise helps to fill the awkward gap between eye contact and walking past the person I will never see again.  Of course, the only possible response is, “good, and you?” Neither of us are really concerned with each other’s mental or physical state. It is the socially acceptable answer in all situations. So today, I am ok with the surface level stuff. But I shouldn’t be. I should care more about others than how I am feeling.

Unfortunately, this dance of pleasantries is the same for strangers and close friends. With the end result of us never really knowing the other person’s condition. In our fast paced, always too much on my plate culture, we do not have time to really stop and find out how the other person is doing. So we look to social media to get that kind of update. Even though we know social media only shows a shadow of the real health of the person. It is the most expedient form of keeping tabs on friends.

I am reminded of a day I that was not great, but had a great outcome because I didn’t let my feelings get in the way. I was in the office one day and for some reason it was super quiet. Most of the employees were on vacation or out of the office. As I took a break to get some coffee, I noticed another person in an otherwise empty floor. I knew the person, but had never really stopped and spoken with them. When I saw them I said the obligatory greeting and they responded with the obligatory response. This day I intentionally asked the question a second time. I said, “really, how are you?” with a stress on the question. Ann was taken back a little bit. When she saw I meant the question, she opened up that she was having some difficulties. I got to know more about her in the few minutes that she shared than I had the previous three years.

Ann’s willingness to open up allowed me the opportunity to pray for her. It turned out she also had a faith and was so encouraged to have a co-worker pray for her. This interaction revealed a desire many have to be known and share their burdens. Too many of us don’t stop long enough to listen to each other. If you ask the question a second time, you will find most people willing to open up just a little bit. It is thought that door where Jesus can minister to that person. I have seen great results with servers, airline attendants, retail workers, as well as friends. Go ahead, take some extra time to really find out how someone is doing and watch how God works. Even on your worst day, you will end up feeling better.

Successful employee-Respect for the person in authority

“Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Search for leadership books on Amazon.com and you will find almost 190,000 titles. Which is dwarfed by the number of management books. Just on Amazon.com there are over 1 million titles telling people the best way to manage people, manage themselves, manage things. With twenty years of experience and having read dozens of business books I have yet to come across any book that gives us insight to how God wants us to work and be successful. There are so many different leadership principles, management models and matrixes. Many of them are very good, don’t get me wrong. However, it is man’s attempt to explain what success looks like for the average person.

Isaiah 55:8 God says, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” So it would make sense that all of the books on leadership, management and personal growth would leave the reader wanting something more. I have read a number of books where I loved the concept, but there was not enough depth to do something with the idea. Instead of looking at the latest leadership guru, I want to look at leaders in the bible who God said were good.

Looking for the right individuals to study, I made sure to establish one rule to evaluate their characteristics and behaviors. They must have served and individual. While all of them served God, they had a human leader they also served. In a modern context, they were people who had a manager and they were employees. Having the employer-employee relationship, allows us to look for characteristics and behaviors that each person demonstrated. In all cases, they found success in their employment, even when it looked like the odds were against them. The other item I looked at were commonalities between them. While we can look at favor of God and leadership ability as common characteristics, I wanted to look beyond the obvious. How did they handle themselves, what set them apart from others doing the same job? How did they behave that went against the trend and what might still be applicable to us today? The employees and their managers I will be examining over the next few days are:

Employee                                 Manager

Joseph                                         Potiphar, Prison Warden, Pharaoh

Daniel                                          5 kings of Babylon

Esther                                          Hegai, King Xerxes

Nathan                                         King David

Nehemiah                                    King Artaxerxes

Each one of these individuals have interesting stories and they are all vastly different, though on the surface it may appear they are similar. For example, while Joseph and Daniel both served kings, Joseph started out as a slave, the a prisoner before getting to the palace. While Daniel began serving in the king’s palace from the beginning. We can read both stories and on the surface, they both served kings and had God’s favor. What else would you need to know? When we dig a bit more into the specifics of their stories, and the others, we find details that we can learn from.

The first characteristic or behavior that I want to bring forward is a core foundational item. Without it, one may find a level of success but can have a very negative and limiting effect. All five of these individuals had an understanding and respect for the person in authority over them.  

I know this a strange place to start. However, based on current events, I actually believe it is more important than ever to begin here. If you don’t respect the person in authority over you then you will never give your all to the job or you will undermine your manager. Either way, the employee is the one that ultimately looses out. If we look at who managed each of these individuals, only King David was a leader we would want to follow. The kings of Babylon or the Pharaohs of Egypt were to be feared and in many cases, hated. They had the power to kill someone at their whim.

Respect is something that is usually earned. Respecting the person in authority over you is about voluntarily subordinating yourself to them. While the five individuals were really in a submission position, they chose to give obedience to the person they were accountable to. Usually, time and relationship allows us to know someone enough to give them respect. Most people come into a job and will respect the authority of their manager out of fear. Their manager is the one who can give them raises or fire them. The five individuals respected their managers because they understood the core principle of authority.  We are all under authority of God in heaven, however, while living, we are subject to those in authority over us; having the legal right to order us. It has to do with rank, power, office, position and hierarchy. The five understood this concept and took it to a new level. Let’s look at how each of them addressed their manager.

 

Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:3 said to the king, “May the king live forever!

Daniel in Daniel 6:21 said, “May the king live forever!

Esther in Esther 5:3-4 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

Joseph in Genesis 50:4-5 said to Pharaoh’s court, “If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,  ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.’”

While all four examples show a deep respect for the authority of their manager, Nehemiah and Daniel went well beyond respect. It was almost to the point where they had true affection for their manager. Daniel says this after he is thrown into the lions den. That is a level of respect for the authority over his life that is not easily found in todays world. It was from this deep level of respect they had for their manager where everything else flowed.

Tomorrow we will look at more characteristics which are common among the five individuals. I would love to hear your thoughts, inputs, questions, so that we can have a better understanding of God’s plan for our success at work.

Gift of Knowledge

In John 3:11 Jesus was talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus and says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen but you do not receive our testimony.” Nicodemus was having a hard time understanding everything Jesus was talking about. He was curious, but was having difficulty understanding what Jesus was saying because of his deep rooted teaching. Nicodemus had heard something so unbelievable that he was not able to reconcile this new teaching with his past teaching.

This is very similar to the first time Nick witnessed a Cirque du Soleil show. Cirque du Soleil is a circus that travels around the world and performs some of the most amazing feats of acrobatics that you can imagine. You almost need to see it first hand to truly understand the magnitude of giftedness of the performers. Nicodemus had his own “Cirque du Soleil” moment, when he hears what Jesus told him. He heard the words, but could not grasp the depth of their meaning.

Jesus was sharing the knowledge of Himself, via His testimony. Nicodemus heard Jesus’s testimony first hand. The Bible is the best way to read about Jesus. However, there are many good books that also reveal God in new ways. Mike loves to read. He’s always on the lookout for new revelation and great stories about his Lord and King. Whenever Mike finds a book that moves him, he wants to share it with those around him. When “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young was first published, Mike met the author at a conference and picked up his book. After reading it, he proceeded to buy cases of the book to give out to everyone he met. It had such an impact on Mike, and millions of others, that he just could not keep it to himself. He freely gave the new revelation to others so they could share in his amazement. He spread the knowledge of Jesus beyond his closest friends and had a positive impact on dozens of people through sharing the book.

Action for the day

Think about a book or music CD that had a profound impact on your life. Pick up a few extra copies and pray about who you should give one to. Let them know why it had such an impact on you and why you thought of them. Let them know how special they are and how you pray the book or CD will have the same impact in their life.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I am glad you revealed Yourself through many different ways. You do it through the bible, through books, through music and directly to us. I ask that You put a name on my heart to share what I have learned through a book or through music that has moved my soul. I long to share it with others so they too can have the knowledge of You. Thank you for the work You will do in that person’s heart through the gift I am to share. It’s in your name I pray. Amen.

Tune in to those around you

Jeremy was a new college student learning to live on his own and become his own man. Being part of the selfie generation, the stereotype would be that he would be too self-absorbed to notice or understand what was going on around him. Being a follower of Christ, allows Jeremy to break all of the stereotypes and to be more in tune with those around him.

Jeremy has made a number of friends during his time in college. One of those friends is Sara. For college students, mid-terms and finals tend to be the busiest and craziest times of the semester. In this case, mid-terms were coming up which naturally introduces a higher level of stress into the college students’ life.  As Jeremy was hanging out with his friends, he noticed a change in Sara’s demeanor. Her thoughts were more scattered and she was not her normal bubbly self. The first time this happened, it just felt like a tough day. However, Jeremy was able to tune into his friend and realized something was up. So he made a point to ask her and she admitted she was stressing out over her upcoming exams. Jeremy made sure to pray for her right there.

A few days later Jeremy called Sara up, knowing she was going to be studying all day, and asked her what her favorite coffee drink was. He then proceeded to walk to the other side of campus to get Sara her favorite drink and hand deliver it to her. She was so thankful for Jeremy’s thoughtfulness and being aware enough to engage in her life when she needed a friend. Jeremy could have easily missed the signs if he was not in tune with those around him. Instead, he broke the mold and showed what a selfless generation looks like. A generation who put their faith into actions will show the world the love of Christ.

Action for the day

Today, ask Jesus to allow you to tune into those around you. Be aware of others moods, behaviors, actions and words that may be different then their normal self. Listen and observe those you know for any sign that something is different about them. Then do something that will bless them and show them Jesus is thinking about them.

Prayer for the day

Father God, sometimes it is hard to pay attention to those around me and be aware of their moods. Sometimes my own life and challenges prevent me from noticing the little things of those closest to me. Today Lord, open my eyes to see those around me. Allow me to tune into their feelings and moods. Let me see with Your eyes and feel with Your heart. Prompt me to engage and listen to them. Let me show my friends and family how much You love them by sending me to encourage them.  I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Heartbeat of God

I have always found it interesting that we are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26). This means that God would have similar appearance as man or woman. But I have also wondered if it means He has internal organs like we do. Does God have lungs, a liver, a stomach? Does He have a heart like ours? We know David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), however is our heart fashioned after God’s heart?

We know the normal resting heart rate for an average person at an average age is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. In contrast, the humming bird hearts can beat as fast as 1,260 beats per minute. The heartbeat of God is more complex than a physical beating. It gets to what He is passionate about. If we align our heartbeat with His, then we will start to see and feel the world differently. In Luke 19:10, Jesus gives us a picture of what gets His heart beating. He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” His greatest desire is to see every one of His children to know Him and have a relationship with Him. When we allow our heart to beat like Jesus’s, then we find the courage to do the things He would do.

Noelle and her family made a family budget at Christmas to make sure they did not overspend. After they had completed their purchases for the season, they realized they still had some money left over. Instead of absorbing it back into their overall budget, they felt led to give it away. So they split it up between the family members asked their children to pray about where God wanted this money to go. They wanted this offering to be Holy Spirit led and given away when they saw an opportunity to give it to a stranger. One day, Noelle and her ten-year-old were at a fast food restaurant. Her daughter saw a man sitting in a corner and wondered what he was doing. He was disheveled and was most likely homeless. When they approached the man, Noelle noticed he was making lemonade out of the free water, lemon packets and sugar. Her daughter felt the stirring of the Spirit and told her mom she wanted to give her designated money to this man. The gesture moved the man to tears as he felt the love of Jesus and in that moment Noelle’s daughter was perfectly aligned with the heartbeat of God.

Action for the day

Today, align your heartbeat with God’s and look for an opportunity to give someone hope. Maybe it is helping someone who is homeless. Maybe it is paying for someone’s meal or coffee. Maybe it is giving an extra tip to a waiter or waitress and let them know God sees them. Maybe it is helping a mother of a crying baby at the store.  Be open to the opportunity the Holy Spirit puts before you.

Prayer for the day

Father, thank you that you did not leave us with a heart of stone, but you gave us a heart of flesh that can beat with the same rhythm as Jesus. Show me today who your heart is beating for and reveal what I can do to be aligned with Your heartbeat. Let me be a person after Your own heart, just like David. Open up the door of opportunity so I can step through and share your love with a hurting world. It is in Your name Jesus, the name above all names that I pray this. Amen.

Time for Reconciliation

There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 is says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.

When I was ten, we moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to me. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really did not know any better. Somehow, one of the boys I had made an enemy of was the playground bully. He was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. He called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why he wanted to beat me up. I was much more interested in being his friend since I understood him more than the kids who had only lived in one place all of their lives.

As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked him why he was mad at me. He said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.

The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not said anything derogatory against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next couple of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on a friendship. While God does call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled is with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.

 Action for the day

Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you for loving us and reconciling with me. Thank you that you did not leave me as a sinner and an orphan. But I am now Your child and a royal priest. Father, I ask you to help me reconcile with those who I have wronged. Give me the courage to say I am sorry and let this bring You glory. Let this be the first step in our reconciliation, but also reconciliation with You. It is in your powerful name, Jesus, that I ask these things. Amen.

Get Out of the House

Growing up I always thought that I needed to go to church to find God. That is where He was right? If I wanted prayer, I go to church. If I wanted healing, I go to church. If I wanted salvation, I go to church. All of those statements are correct, however, they are not sufficient to live out the great commandment to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Church is a safe place to be with those who know Jesus and believe in His life giving message. Too many of us equate the building with the broader understanding of “the church.” Every believer in Christ Jesus is the church since Holy Spirit lives inside us.

I find it interesting when I read the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. He creates the heavens, the earth, the animals and finally man. Then in Genesis 2:8 we are told, “now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” There were trees and rivers and flowers. What was not there was a building. God had not wanted Adam and Eve to be restricted with a building. Fast forward to the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. He had them live in tents. In fact, God Himself resided in the tabernacle, which was a tent. Then God had Solomon build a temple for God’s present to reside. However, it was a place to go to and then go from. Finally, Jesus gives His life for our sins and transforms our bodies into the temple of God.

Just like the tabernacle in Moses time, our bodies are meant to be the mobile temple of Jesus. We are not meant to restrict ourselves to a building. Church on Sunday should be a time where we can get instruction, a time to worship God as a whole body and be encouraged. We are then to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. He wanted us in a garden, to be outside, interacting with His creation. He wants us going to where people are sick and hurting. We are to get out and bring the gospel or good news to a world in pain.

 

Action for the day

Today, make a commitment to get out of the building and find a place can serve. The church is good, but get out into the community. The good news is search engines today enable us to find places that serve areas of our passions. If you don’t know where to start, try some of these searches:

  • Place to serve <insert the name of your city>
  • Volunteer opportunities <insert name of your city>
  • Soup kitchens near me
  • Serve food to the homeless
  • Anti-trafficking organizations <insert name of your city>
  • Non-profit organizations <insert name of your city>

Once you have searched and chosen a place to serve, take the action to contact them today and get involved.

Prayer for the day

Father God, thank you that You created a world full of wonder and beauty. It is good! Today, as I make a commitment to get out and be your hands and feet, guide me to the place where I can join You in Your work. Let my heart break for the things that break your heart. Reveal how my passions are in line with my purpose to live an abundant life. Show me where I can best serve to bring Your glory and the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. It is in the powerful name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Kindness is needed

The weather had turned cold and the rain clouds were threatening to release their contents on the earth. Mollie was just about to sit down for lunch and eat leftovers from dinner the night before. The doorbell rang. In today’s world, we know there are only a few reasons the doorbell will ring. Primary among those reasons is if you are expecting a package. However, Mollie was not expecting to receive anything. So the next thought goes to a solicitor. While we do not have many door to door salesmen these days, we do get them from time to time. No longer are people trying to sell a vacuum cleaner or some other household gadget. Most of the time it tends to be individuals trying to sell magazines, cookies or raise funds for the local school.

Mollie was not really in the mood to hear a pitch, but she got up from the table and answered the door anyway. Standing in the doorway were two women who had a look of surprise on their face. Mollie was the first person who had opened the door that day. They proceeded to give their pitch for her to buy magazines. Mollie was not in the market for magazines, but felt the prompting of the Spirit to do something completely different. She asked them if they would like to come in out of the cold and damp weather. When they agreed, Mollie then asked if they had eaten. When they told her they had not, Mollie invited them to lunch. The two ladies did not seem to mind sharing the leftovers, as they were hungry.

Mollie got to know a bit of the histories of these two ladies and found out why they were selling magazines door to door. Prompted by the Spirit, Mollie noticed they were not wearing a heavy enough jacket to keep the cold and wet out. So she asked if they would be interested in a warmer jacket. Mollie opened up her closet and clothed both ladies. She then told them she did not need any magazines, but she wanted to give them money directly. Mollie prayed for the ladies and they made their way out with tears in their eyes. They were shown kindness that day. On a cold, damp day, when no one else was willing to open their doors for these two ladies, they experienced the love and kindness of Christ.

Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, the hate, anger, vitriol must stop. We have to come together and find a new path forward. Each of us can make a difference if we want to. We have to learn to accept the consequences and choose to do things differently next time. Today is the day to begin that new path, with Jesus’s help.

Action for the day

It does not cost you anything to be kind to someone. Today, pray for an opportunity to show the kindness of Christ to someone. Maybe it is giving your coat away, maybe it is encouraging a mother of a screaming child, maybe it is allowing someone to cut in line who is clearly in a hurry. Whatever it is, you can make a difference by showing the love of Christ and being kind today.

 

Prayer for the day

Dear Father, You love us so much. In fact, You were kind enough to send Your Son to die for our sins. Help me to show that depth of love and kindness today. Show me who You want to be kind do. Prompt me to say something nice, give something away, do something unexpected to bring You glory and joy to another person. It is in the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Divine Interruptions

There are only 24 hours in a day. Everyone is subject to the number of hours, minutes and seconds each day brings. In essence, it is a limited commodity for everyone. It does not matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, Christian, Muslim. Time impacts all of us. With so much to do, so much to be distracted by, a new term has emerged for those who are over scheduled, over committed and overtired. It is called time poverty. It basically is telling us what we already know. We are too busy.

It was not supposed to be like this. In 1928, John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2028 our wealth and technology would permit us all to work 15-hour weeks and dedicate our lives to leisure. Instead of having a lot of extra time to help others and relax, we find ourselves in a much different world.

  • Americans work an average of 8.8 hours per day as compared to the UK at 7.8 hours per day. Those in Italy and Germany work only 6.8 hours per day. This does not include the “shadow work”, which is all of the tasks that take time in which we don’t get paid for like cooking, driving the kids, communing, etc.
  • In America, we spend an average of 60 hours a week at work, as compared to 40 hours per week in 1967.
  • In America, we take fewer vacations than other parts of the world. We take an average of 14 days a year, as compared to Norway who take an average of 70 days per year.
  • We also do not get enough sleep. The average person only sleeps 6 hours a night, as compared to 8.5 hours a night a century ago.

More work, more tasks, less sleep, fewer vacations. It is no wonder we are tired and feel overwhelmed and too busy. But are we too busy for the divine interruptions that allows us to share the love of Christ? Lisa is not. She was at her daughter’s softball game and got to talking with an out of town grandparent. He asked Lisa if she knew where a particular place was that he needed to visit at the end of the game. Lisa’s initial thought was to teach him how to use his navi on his phone. Unfortunately, he struggled a bit. Instead of leaving the man to his own devices, Lisa chose to allow the interruption and offered to lead the man to his destination. The man was shocked that someone would take time out of their busy schedule to help him. He was so grateful. That day Lisa realized the value of not overbooking her schedule. It was a great example to Lisa’s daughter as well. Taking time to help a person in need is exactly what Jesus would have done.

Action for the day

Your task for today is to review your weekly schedule. Look at every activity and task that you have. Do you have enough open time to accommodate a divine interruption? If not, prioritize and take some things off your plate. If you are to truly make a difference in this world, you will need some time to engage with people.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you that you always had time for those in need. Today, I pray you will help me see how I can manage my time so I can also have time to join You in your work. Help me to see those in need and step into their lives and make a difference. Father, I ask that You help me to be time rich so that I can give it away freely. It is in your powerful name Jesus that I ask these things. Amen.

 

Notes:

Tim Chester, The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)

Richard A. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004)