July 3rd, 2009
“My boss is really out to get me,” “Sam” revealed at one of our simple church gatherings. “She is demanding the impossible and making me stay later and later to do work I detest. She ridicules me in front of the other workers. She never has anything good to say about me, yet she has praise for other employees even though their numbers are no better than mine. She is forcing me to work harder than anyone else and punishing me when I don’t live up to her expectations—which happens nearly every day. I can’t stand going to work; I dread getting up in the morning because I know I will have to face that woman. I would give anything to be able to quit, but there is no other job available.”
After pausing to choke off some tears he continued. “How am I supposed to react to her when everything within me wants to confront her but I am afraid of losing my job?”
“Have you been praying for her,” I asked. “Have you asked God what you might be able to do to bless her?”
For awhile Sam was speechless. Then, reluctantly, he revealed he hadn’t prayed for her at all. “I’m sorry,” he confessed, “but I’m finding it very difficult to think about asking God to bless this hurtful woman.”
“I’m going to challenge you not only to begin praying for her everyday, but also to tell her you are doing so,” I responded. “And when you tell her, ask her if there is anything specific you can bring before God on her behalf.”
I wasn’t sure how Sam would react to my challenge. He was a relatively new Christian who was personally experiencing a severe financial meltdown. The likelihood of bankruptcy loomed in the near future along with the certainty of losing his home. After being without work for over a year he had finally landed a job with a major bank in a nearby community. Though he wasn’t making nearly the income he had been accustomed to as a mortgage broker, at least the bank was providing a little something for himself, his wife, and their two young children. At last something positive was beginning to happen. But then he was stationed at a branch where the manager seemed to be doing everything possible to discourage him and make him want to quit. I prayed that Sam would have the courage to speak and that God would break up the hard ground and allow the love of Christ to soak into his difficult boss.
A few days later at another simple church meeting Sam had a rather surprising report.
“Bill, guess what?” he gushed excitedly. “I told my manager we would be praying for her at our gathering tonight and asked if there was anything specific she wanted us to pray for. I didn’t want to do it. I fought against doing it all day, but I knew God was prompting me to act. Finally, she stopped by my desk to grill me about how poorly I was doing and as she turned to leave, the Spirit told me now was the time. After I spoke she seemed a little stunned, but she mentioned that I could pray for her son who was having a job interview the next day. Then, after walking away a few steps, she turned around and said, ‘I believe in it, you know. I believe in prayer.’”
“That was awesome!” I replied. “Now, whenever you talk to her, ask how her son is doing and if there is anything else she would like you to pray about.”
Over the next couple of weeks Sam not only was able to talk to his boss frequently about prayer, but he began to notice a rather drastic change in her attitude toward him. The daily episodes of berating began to subside. One day she opened up to him and explained that her own supervisor was treating her unreasonably, demanding the impossible from her branch, and she was having a great deal of difficulty handling it. Gradually, my friend’s attitude toward her began to change from anger and resentment to empathy and compassion. Others in the bank have begun approaching him with their own personal problems and opportunities are opening up to witness to them about His Lord and even to explain what simple church is all about. And, wonder of wonders, God has actually been blessing him with better numbers.
In the span of about three weeks, my friend’s attitude about work has completely changed. Now he actually looks forward to getting up in the morning and going to the bank. What has made such a dramatic difference in such a short time? He has come to understand that he doesn’t work for the bank, nor does he labor for an unscrupulous manager. In reality, he works for the Lord and is under the management of the Holy Sprit. He may receive his paycheck from an earthly institution but his primary employment originates from heaven.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24.
Awhile back this same friend designed a fabric bracelet consisting of yarn in military camouflaged colors tied together with thousands of knots. He and I as well as a few others in our simple church circle are now wearing these “commando bands” on our wrists to remind ourselves that we are members of an elite corps of special forces, dropped off behind enemy lines, and charged with the mission of bringing down opposition strongholds and rescuing those who have been held hostage by the devil. No matter who we are, no matter what we may be doing, no matter where we may find ourselves, we are on mission for our Commander and Chief 24/7. The inspiration comes from Paul’s second letter to Timothy which amounts to his last words written shortly before his martyrdom. “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.” – 2Timothy 2:3-4.
Being on mission continually for Jesus means we are always on the lookout for opportunities to bless people, to be a witness for the faith, to share the love of Christ, and to expand the kingdom. Whether we are a banker, a music teacher, a student, or a homemaker, as Christians we have enlisted in the Lord’s army and He commands our primary allegiance. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” – Colossians 4:5.
Being on mission with Christ 24/7 makes all the difference in life. Whether you love your job or hate it, the Lord has you there for a reason, and it’s not just to receive a paycheck. Whether you love your neighborhood or hate it, the Lord has you there for a reason, and it’s not just to complain to your neighbors about their loud parties and the unkempt appearance of their homes. Whether you love your school or hate it, the Lord has you there for a reason, and it’s not just to get good grades and receive an education.
We all need to maintain communication with our headquarters and rapidly obey any command we are given. We need to be prepared to act at a moment’s notice, ready and eager to follow our King into battle. Underneath our humble, unsuspecting exteriors we are warriors, battle-hardened, Spirit-gifted, Bible-trained, armed and dangerous. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” – 2Corinthians 10:4. And we are prepared not only to fight for our King, but to die for Him as well. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20.
Once the current skirmish is finished we return to our worldly identity as bankers, music teachers, homemakers, mild-mannered earthlings, not necessarily incognito, but just blending into the natural camouflage of life, patrolling whatever sphere of influence in which the Lord has us stationed. But always we are on mission, waiting—waiting for the next opportunity to strike, even if striking means simply to ask an unreasonable boss how we might pray for her—waiting for the that triumphal day when the war is over, the victory is won, the Kingdom of our Lord is established, and all His soldiers will be called home.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15. “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” – Revelation 17:14.
Bill, a child of God on mission