Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Parabolic Bale

Last week, I made a bale of cardboard at work all by myself.  I sound like a child, but there's something parabolic about it to me.

I taught two guys how to make a cardboard bale a couple weeks ago without making one alone before, but what I told them worked.  I must admit, I was proud of myself. 

A few days ago, the baler was full.  There was no one around to assist me in making a bale because I had a lot of cardboard to dispose of.  I confidently took on the task.  I succeeded.  I returned to my duties in my department with a sense of pride and joy.

I'm certain many could accomplish this task sooner than me.  Many would have sought out the opportunity to accomplish this necessary task and grow proficient in order to be an asset to the company rather than a shrinking violet sheepishly avoiding the duty.

By contributing and assisting others, I accumulated knowledge and wisdom and, ultimately, confidence to succeed at the task.

Honestly, I believe it is the last challenge for me to face and accomplish in my current job.  I shied away for months from this challenge because I didn't want to risk embarrassment in failure.  Now, I succeeded not by luck but by knowledge and confidence.

As a parable,  I helped two co-workers learn how to make a cardboard bale before I performed it solo.  It was a first for them.  I believe it was a last for me.  I assisted in their knowledge and growth first.

Its not a challenge for me to listen to people and not have an agenda. A co-worker shared with me about her friend's battle with cancer.  She told me her friend's condition is worsening day by day.  I practically stopped her in the mist of her listing her friend's gruesome symptoms.  Believing her friend lost her personal dignity weeks ago because of this insidious disease, I asked my co-worker what her friend might be holding on to as her body is quickly decaying.  Could she be holding on, keeping herself alive, by thoughts or beliefs in the soulish or spiritual realms that leave her unwilling to pass on into eternity and to ever be with her Lord?

My co-worker wasn't sure.  I suggested that her friend may simply need a word from a loved one (like my co-worker) to assure her everything will be alright in the presence of her Lord, and to ask boldly if there was anything the friend needed to share to free her spirit or soul of any weight keeping her in this misery.  My co-worker shed tears and said she might be able to say that to her.  I shed tears by saying, again, everything will be alright for my friend's friend.  The Lord will make all things new.  We then hugged, right there in the back room of the produce department.

This was not a challenge for me.  This is what I'm called for and trained to do.  I am a minister of God.  I've come in closer contact with my original calling over the past couple months than I have in years.  My calling, in effect, has returned.  This encounter with a co-worker and talking about such heavy stuff reaffirms what I know is true.  I have a calling.  I am gifted and full of compassion.  Ultimately, my destiny is in God.

My last challenge was making a cardboard bale all by myself.  Encouraging a friend to speak to her friend about not being afraid of death as a Christian was far from scary for me.  It was not a challenge.  It was a fulfillment of my destiny and anointing in God.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Entrepreneur



Two emails from insurance agencies arrived in my inbox recently inviting me to apply for position as an agent.  One of the emails asked me to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit.

I'm not entrepreneurial.  My profile on some job search site may fall into such a category, but I'm not motivated in that way.

There are people who are excited to get out of bed every morning because they'll embark on new enterprises and meet new people.  It wouldn't excite me to meet new people and endeavor to satisfy their insurance needs.

That is not me.  I seldom rose out of bed with excitement when I pastored churches.  It was a job, not a passion.

It would, however, excite me to rise out of bed knowing I'll meet new people that day and be overwhelmed with compassion for them, get to know them, pray for them and see God do a gracious and merciful work in their lives.  It excites me to expect to encounter people at the farm encountering God.  This is not embarking on a new enterprise to me. This is stewarding a portal where God comes to encounter his created.

This week, I got a call from someone at a local office of an insurance company.  She said she saw my resume online and asked if I'd be interested in coming for an interview.  After I heard it was an insurance company, direct sales opportunity, I said no.

I woke early for work the next day thinking about my no and regretting it.  At my lunch break, I called the woman back to say I changed my mind.  She scheduled my interview for later in the week.  I came home after work and told April.  She was very surprised.  She knows my history of rejecting direct sales positions.

Why accept an interview this time?  I wasn't sure.  In explaining the change of mind, I said maybe this could be our financial breakthrough; maybe its God doing his thing.  I wasn't sure, but I was more negative about being an insurance agent than being positive,  It was as if I was convincing myself not to do it.

April felt there was something in this I'm supposed to witness or do or share.  The interview, itself, is secondary.  I agreed with her and experienced peace.  I'll freely tell my interviewer I'm not sure why I'm there, but I'm supposed to be.  I'll honestly share my heart.  I appreciate the honor of being interviewed, but my calling is in God alone.  Everything else is a distant second.
 The morning of the interview, I read the Daily Office scriptures for the day.  All of them spoke to me.

O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! - Psalm 83: 1

I was encouraged to hear what God might say to me or through me that day.

Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.”   - Judges 8: 23

The people of Israel wanted Gideon to remain a judge for the nation after his last victory as their military leader.  He said no (and didn't change his mind).   Only the Lord will rule over us.  Alleluia.

This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’  There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved. - Acts 4: 11-12

Though rejected, my Lord became the cornerstone.  His name is the greatest, and he loves me.

Then, my verse from years ago that opened my heart to believe great things of the Kingdom were in my future to the glory of God. . . 

Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”- John 1: 50

I attended the appointment.  It was important for me to fulfill this commitment to simply tell my interviewer I changed my mind, but, still, my calling is the most important thing.  Jim was gracious and appreciated my devotion.  He expressed honestly this wasn't for everybody.  The first 90 days are difficult, but it can lucrative. If I was interested in pursuing it further, I could call him.  Nothing about this interview inspired or excited me to running down leads and referrals to sell affordable policies to the uninsured, but something in the spiritual was released in me.  I know who I am afresh.

My calling and anointing has been growing subtly beneath the surface prior to this week.  The interview was a moment to say again I'm called of God and nothing will eclipse this reality in my life.  Greater things than an interview or secular job or position will be seen and known.  

My calling, purpose, mission in God has returned to my spirit in fullness.  I've given testimony.  My spirit is full, and the days of fulfillment are at hand.  I'm an entrepreneur of the grace and power of God in Christ.   Alleluia!