PROGRAM W-1774 – Part II
To illustrate the reality of Jesus’ presence in the lives of believers, the story is told as though Jesus accompanies Fran wherever she goes and she can hear him and talk to him—though people around her are not aware of this interaction. Of course, if you are born from above, the incredibly wonderful truth is that Jesus is with you at all times!
You were given the Spirit of Christ when you were born from above, and that Spirit dwells in your body. The Bible tells us we have the mind of Christ, so it is possible to communicate with the Lord on a moment-by-moment basis, and seek his guidance and wisdom throughout our days. It’s one of the greatest privileges we have, as children of God, and few of us either appreciate it or enjoy it as we should.
As we began this episode, Fran was struggling with the humdrums. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Her job isn’t terribly exciting or challenging any longer. She’s been doing it for a few years, and she’s ready for something different. But the reality is, she has a job to do and right now there are no other options.
Jesus pointed out to Fran that there was some serious slippage in her work habits because of her lack of enthusiasm for the job. While Fran tried to justify it by pointing out that she still worked harder than most of her coworkers, Jesus emphasized that he does not judge us by comparing us with others, but rather by how we use the gifts and opportunities given to us.
So, with some perspective on her responsibility as an employee, Fran took some new approaches to her work, and found that it put a lot of enthusiasm back into her job. She simply made some changes in her usual routine and did a few things more creatively. That has helped a great deal.
Meanwhile, she made a date with her friend, Nancy, to talk about her career. Nancy is her Bible study leader and Fran really admires her wisdom and spiritual maturity. So, as Proverbs 20:18 recommends, Fran decides to make plans by seeking advice. It’s Saturday now and she’s meeting Nancy for lunch.
“Hi, Nancy,” Fran greets her at the restaurant. “Thanks so much for taking some time for me today. I really appreciate it.”
“Glad to do it,” Nancy assures her, and they find a suitable table. They have a long discussion about boredom, and Nancy agrees that it’s a challenge everybody must face on and off throughout their careers. “No job is without its boring aspects, that’s one thing I’ve come to accept, Fran,” Nancy says.
“I’m beginning to understand that,” Fran says, “but I really think that I’ve outgrown the job in a sense—I’m ready for a bigger challenge.”
“Do you see another job in the company that interests you?” Nancy asks.
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Fran answers, “but I’m not qualified; they would never consider me. . .”
“Now, Fran, don’t start with the negative prophecies. You need to identify your career goals and then put a plan in place to make yourself qualified,” Nancy tells her.
“Well, I’d like to be. . .I really think I could do a good job. . .I’d like my boss’ job,” Fran finally gets it out.
“Great. . .” Nancy starts to reply.
“But they’d never consider me. I haven’t been there long enough. . .” Fran starts again.
“Stop it, Fran,” Nancy says. “That negative talk isn’t helpful—and remember what we studied last month in Bible study about imagining the worst instead of expecting God’s best.”
“Yeah, you’re right, Nancy,” Fran admits, “but I just don’t feel as though I deserve that kind of promotion, so it’s not right for me to ask God for something I don’t deserve.”
“Are you hearing yourself talk, Fran?” Nancy asks.
“Yes,” Fran chuckles, “I know what you’re going to say: God doesn’t give us what we deserve and aren’t we thankful he doesn’t!”
“Well, it’s good to know you remember something I’ve taught,” Nancy replies, as they laugh together.
“But it’s so hard to know where you draw the line, Nancy,” Fran continues. “I mean, I know that we can ask God to give us good gifts, but I also know that we have to do our part.”
“Oh, you’re right, Fran,” Nancy says, tongue in cheek, “there’s that wonderful verse in Hezekiah: ‘God helps those who help themselves!’”
“No, I know that’s not in the Bible,” Fran says hesitatingly. . .
“But it’s so hard to get out of the performance-driven mindset, isn’t it?” Nancy sympathizes with Fran. “Well, it is wonderfully true that God doesn’t give us what we deserve—he looks beyond our lack of worthiness and gives according to his marvelous grace. But it is also true that we must be good stewards of the gifts and talents he has entrusted to us. Therefore, if you want to move on to a higher position, and that is within God’s good plan for you, then you should assess what you need to do to improve and polish the intelligence and aptitudes that you have.”
“Now, why can’t I say it like that?” Fran asks. “You just have a way of making the Bible so clear, Nancy. I wish I had that gift.”
“You don’t have to wish for my gifts, Fran. You have plenty of your own,” Nancy encourages her. “Why don’t we start this process by making a list of the qualifications necessary to do your boss’ job; then we’ll talk about what you can do to acquire the skills and experience you need as quickly as possible.”
For about an hour, the two of them make notes and discuss what Fran needs to do to be qualified for the job she wants. Then Nancy says, “If I were you, I’d go to Marilyn, your boss, and solicit her help. Let her know that you want to be in line for her job when she gets promoted, and ask her to give you assignments or suggestions that will help you.”
“You mean, tell her I want her job?” Fran is surprised at Nancy’s suggestion.
“Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. She’s undoubtedly working on her next promotion, and she should be impressed that you want to work on yours,” Nancy says.
“Really? I never thought about it like that. I was afraid or maybe embarrassed to admit that I wanted her job,” Fran tells Nancy.
“If there is anything in your ambition to be ashamed of, then you shouldn’t have that ambition,” Nancy points out. “But as long as it is above-board and reasonable, then why not be out in the open with it?”
“Makes sense when you put it that way,” Fran agrees.
“By the way,” Nancy asks, “how much have you been praying about this promotion you’d like to have?”
“Well, a little bit on and off, but not terribly much,” Fran admits. “I think I was embarrassed to ask God for something that I felt I didn’t deserve,” she tells Nancy with a smile.
“No need to go over that territory again, right, Fran?” Nancy laughs. “Hopefully we’ve at least gotten that issue settled this afternoon.”
Fran thanks Nancy again and again for her help as they leave the restaurant.
On the way back home she says to Jesus, “Nancy had some great advice. I’m glad I met with her. Now, I’ll just work out a plan, put some things in writing, and then ask Marilyn to give me some new areas of responsibility that will help qualify me for the job I want. Thanks, Jesus, for your help.”
“You know,” she says, “Proverbs 19:20 is true—when you listen to advice and accept instructions, in the end you will be wise.”
Isn’t it interesting to see all the little lessons Fran had to learn in this experience of dealing with a boring job. How about you? Have you been struggling with some similar frustrations and questions?
Maybe, like Fran, you’ve hesitated to ask God for something because you felt you didn’t deserve it. It’s important for us to remember that we serve a God of grace, and every good and perfect gift which comes to us is from him, and we deserve none of them.
Whatever gifts and abilities we have, it is because God has chosen to give them to us. In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul tells us this:
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Our responsibility, as the parable of the talents teaches us, is to be good stewards of what we have received, develop our potential skills, and use them to the glory of God. So many Christians are not good stewards of what God has given them, and they miss out on the blessing of seeing how God can multiply their talents and efforts. Others develop their gifts and then use them for their own benefit and not for the glory of the Lord.
If you’re looking to advance your career and find a job that is more interesting, there’s nothing wrong with that, provided your motivation is appropriate. After much prayer, make a plan to get there and pursue those career ambitions. Meanwhile, don’t let boredom keep you from being an outstanding employee and worker right where you are. God will hold you accountable for the quality of your work.