If You Love Them, Speak Clearly with Them

“…each part… helps the other parts grow..”. Ephesians 4:16

We have all heard the term “beating around the bush” to describe someone who is not straight forward in what they say. Part of the impetus for change is the wish to clearly help men to become the men that God intended. And that means being honest and transparent with ourselves and others. It is not about confrontation. It is about being honest and direct. I suspect that one of the reasons that Jesus, with little fanfare, was able to recruit four fishermen at the very start of His ministry [two were brothers nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” which today would sound like a motorcycle club] was His clear and unmistakable way of laying it squarely on the line. These were hard living men who worked hard to make a daily living. Words such as tenderness, diplomatic and tactful would not be very accurate in describing their personal communication style. In their world men screamed and chewed each other out; communication was verbally abusive. I have first hand knowledge, I worked in that world as a young man. Look for avenues open that provides us men the unique opportunity to communicate directly and honestly with the One who wants to speak to our hearts with love and transparency. That was one reason that those fishermen over 2,000 years ago dropped everything to follow Jesus. They recognized love and transparency without an attitude of judgmental condemnation. Jesus is committed to having us ‘be all that we can be.’ Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.

Truth or Consequences?

I know a man who 45 years ago made the decision to build his career rather than listen to God calling him to work in His Kingdom.  He told me that the lure of “getting ahead” was more important than being obedient to the call that God put on his life to go into ministry.  “What if God wanted me do something that I hated or that would be outside of my ability to be successful accomplishing?”  He described this as a paralyzing fear.  He looks back on his life and sees missed divine opportunities on several occasions.

The more I got to know him, the more he revealed how he made a series of choices that took him down paths of rebellion.  The consequences were felt emotionally, mentally, financially and physically.  He related to me how this pig-headedness caused undue stress in not only his own life but those closest to him.  As he moved further away from God he sought to expel any remnants that God had been part of his life.

He told me that all of his best efforts to build the career that he desired failed.  “There is not one company I have worked for that is still in existence under original ownership or name” he claimed.  “During this frenzy of trying to build my career I was twice fired; three different companies I worked for changed owners and the new owners laid me off; four times the companies downsized due to economic conditions with a subsequent layoff.  During the 30 odd years of frustration, he told me that his stubbornness prevented him from turning from his rebellion.  He never did obtain the career he sought after.  He became in his mind a ‘victim’ with no sense of contentment or security.  He emphasized that those early choices to go his own way … to walk away from God’s plan for him … put him and his family into needless hardships.

“But you know what?  God does not give up on us!  As Jesus told Peter after he boasted about what he would do for Jesus, ‘after you have turned, strengthen your brothers.’”  This man is walking now where God is directing him.

Hey there Guys…

Today as I worked, I was thinking about both workplace and men’s ministries. I spent my first 40 years thinking that I was somebody. I spent the next 20 years learning that I was nobody. I want to spend the rest of my life allotted by God in discovering what God can do with a nobody like me. The turning point for me seems to have happened just over two years ago when I meditatively read through the book: Purpose Driven Life. I began to understand that God is in the business of disqualifying me from thinking that I am qualified for the mission He has called me to…be it the marketplace or vocational ministry.

Ed Silvoso’s book: Anointed for Business, as well as many studies over the years, consistently have demonstrated that 80% of the secular workforce is dissatisfied with their jobs. 50% of Christians are dissatisfied with their work. Maybe this is because 90-97% of Christians have not been trained to apply biblical faith where they spend 60-70% of their time. Herein may lie the difference between the Christian who is just trying to survive in the marketplace and the Christian who is transforming their place of work for Christ.

How many of us as men know that our call to the workplace is equal to a vocational ministry’s call in its spiritual importance. How do we as men get affirmation from the church for being in the workplace as missionaries? The church is quick to commission pastors, leaders and vocational missionaries for the work of the gospel. When have you ever seen a church commission folks to minister in the workplace? Would the church even consider allowing on a regular basis a two minute sharing from someone who has experienced God working through them in the marketplace? If as a church, we say that we are ministering to the community and the community is involved in the marketplace, what are we doing to meet that need?

Ministry, be it vocational or marketplace, is “an intentional focus of equipping men and women in all spheres of work and society to understand and experience their work and life as a holy calling from God.” “We are all called to Someone, not something.” “We are called to a holy calling of yielded work life and not just a job.” [Col 3:22-24] “Ultimate success in ministry is dependent upon my obedience to God, not my sweat and toil.” [These last thoughts were distilled from www.icwm.net].

Just some thoughts to ponder…