Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 20 Lydia

            I began my very first job when I was sixteen years old.  There is a sense of accomplishment receiving your paycheck and thinking I earned this money.  I had much to learn about working hard, giving 100% to an employer and saving my money.  I worked for my step mother who owned a shoe company, and the majority of the workplace was women.  I learned valuable lessons, which prepared me for the military. At that time in my life, I knew nothing about Christian work ethics, being a light in the work force or that God had a purpose or plan for me.  At that particular time, I knew nothing about the Christian faith and evangelizing while working. 
            I have women in my life that work.  Several teachers, military officers, self-employed entrepreneurs, entertainment professionals, waitresses, child care givers, pharmaceutical doctors, medical doctors and writers all have influenced my life in a particular area.   Not all of these women are Christians, but they do inspire me in their dedicated field.  Most have studied, climbed the corporate ladder and continue to strive for more.  I see the results of their hard work and their own lives motivate me to seek God’s purpose and plan for me.
            The workplace today is different than when I was working. I see these women’s accomplishments, but I have also seen some hardened by gossiping, passed over for “better opportunities”, lost wages and seeking employment, low income salaries and social media explosions.  Today, technology is rapidly becoming the “way of the world” and some of these women may be behind.  I am fully aware of my lack of knowledge with computers.  If placed or needed to be back in the workforce, I would have to take some kind of technology class just to get my foot in the door for an interview.  Social media sites, buyer beware, can influence your job application for many post the oddest things.  I recently had a friend “fail” a job interview for her blood pressure was too high for the hiring requirements.  I know, it does not sound logical, but it is factual.
            My step father, a college chemistry professor, profusely claims the students today are not prepared for the workforce.  While in emails, the undergraduates write in acronyms as if they are texting a personal friend.  Many have their parents come in to question grades and test scores.  What is happening to our young minds, be formed and molded to lack minor social skills and the ability to take responsibility for their actions? Many employers complain the texting, facebooking, picture taking, videoing all have deteriorated the mind of the employee.  Focusing on the job at hand when a little bell rings claiming you have a text or message, you need self-control to take a stand against the draw of “how important is that”. 
            Employers are complaining our youth and workforce can not show up on time for work, but ironically leave early.  The criticizing continues with a list of employees unable to work in the time paid for, taking office supplies, gossiping or sabotaging fellow colleagues, workplace “romances”, falsifying applications, delicate sensibilities who are always “offended” and call for mandatory classes on the offense committed, and individuals who lack the initiative to do their job.  These last one infuriates my husband.  In his profession as a realtor, individuals who are responsibility for their part in the contract from lenders, to underwriters to the actually seller have a lackaday attitude, “I’ll get to it when I get to it.”  His question is, “How do these people make money if they don’t do their work?”
I also have seen the employee’s side where a supervisor takes advantage of a subordinate.  Whether for personal or professional reasons, some have demanded extra hours without pay as per the salary position.  Employees have given their time, gifts and talents at the expense of a superior’s promotion and have unfortunately lost life savings from the greed of a CEO’s inability to manage company funds appropriately.  Yes, the work force is becoming a challenge to many of us.
            Fortunately, we as Christians have an employer who owns it ALL!  Everything is the Lord’s and he allows us to enjoy the fruits of his labor.  God has bestowed gifts and talents to you for a particular job, service or work.  Most of us know what we are able to perform proficiently and what we are incapable of attempting.   I would never attempt to become a songwriter or singer as my friend Sharyn; I am not gifted in that area AT ALL! I could never teach children in a school or have the patience with molding young lives as Cathy, my stepmother; she has the patience and gift for that job.  I am not an entrepreneur who has inventive ideas, sees into the future for a plan and preparation for a company, but my friend Tera does.  I do not have the patience or desire to babysit and love on little ones everyday of the week, but my friend Cathie does; she have the gift of fortitude with God’s precious toddlers.  I do not have the capabilities to interpret for the hard of hearing or deaf as my sister Natalie does; she is gifted to love and help the disabled.  I do have the desire to write, teach, study and pray God’s Word.  I know where I am able to perform at my highest ability and I enjoy the alone time with the Lord.
            Lydia was in the workforce.  Paul was preaching in Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of the district of Macedonia (Acts 16:12). The bible reads, “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.  We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.  When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.  ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15). 
            First of all, I love Paul was looking for a place of prayer.  We are to be as determined as the Apostle to seek God, his presence and love communicating via prayer.  Second, I admire Paul who saw these women worshiping, was not deterred by their gender and joined their worship.  Thirdly, the women opened their arms to him, maybe his reputation preceding him and listened to the man of God preach.  Fourth, God opened the heart of Lydia.  Did you see that, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” God wanted this woman.  God needed this woman, just as he has opened your heart to the call of Christ; he needs you for a plan and purpose. Finally, she was baptized and began “withholding no good thing from her instructor” (Galatians 6:6). 
            Lydia led by example.  These women were apart of her household and am sure helped with the selling of clothing.  They followed Lydia for she was a godly woman who worshiped the Lord and led by God’s provisions and laws.  Probably seeing their matriarch, listening attentively to the Gospel and the promptings of the Lord for baptism, they diligently followed.  Lydia was a respected entrepreneur who led by godly example to those around her.  My question to you, are you that godly example in your place of work or to those who labor for you?
            If you are feeling the call by God to give your life to Christ, then heed those desires and pray with me, “Father, I admit that I am sinner.  I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross, sacrificing his life for me.  I confess my faith and believe in Jesus as my Savior, I open my heart and invite you in.  I pray you are Lord over my life from this day forth.”  Praise God for you obedience and joining the Christian faith!  I encourage you as Lydia did, to find a church, Christian friends and open the bible for God’s instruction and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            Your life is different now.  You are God’s child, a princess of the Most High, a representative of Christ, an ambassador in chains.  As you lead in the workforce, labor for superiors or strive for your self-employment opportunities, you are to be a living, breathing epistle to the world.  I pray you desire to study the Word of God, be molded in the image of Christ, led by the Spirit, may you give thanks for the ability to work, the gifts given to you for the kingdom and the boldness to go and tell.
            I understand today’s workforce is very “touchy feely”, for Christians have a unique challenge ahead of them in spreading the Gospel.  God will give you the opportunity to teach, the wisdom as to when the appropriate time and discernment to whom you should speak.  I encourage you to be in the “world”, but not be of the world.  Your reputation should not be as one who gossips, slanders, maliciously climbs the corporative ladders, and belittles the ones in subordinate positions.  I pray you are encouraging, wise, hard working and focused as a Christian. Please do not wear a cross necklace, Jesus pin or fish symbol as you nitpick your employer or company, as you entice those around you with low cut clothing, or as you use those around you for monetary gain.  We will give an account of our lives and the last thing I would want standing at the throne is “Why did you do this?”  All I want to hear is, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
            Bring all your requests to the foot of the cross.  Pray about a promotion, a business transaction or a disgruntled boss.  If you are unhappy at your current position, pray to the Lord about a job transfer, the finances you may need now for the ever changing taxing economy or the words to speak to a challenging boss.  Pray your company see the hard work and hours you give selflessly and God move you when he is ready.  There may be challenges, but these are valuable teaching lessons we need if moving ahead as to what to do and what NOT to do.  Lay your job, your employer and those around you at the cross!

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of God:

Abba Father,
            I give you thanks and praise this day for the ability to work, to use my gift and talents for your purpose, fulfilling the plan on my life.  Thank you I have a job or you will supply me with work to provide for my family.  I pray the work I accomplish this day is representative of you, giving a full day’s work for a full day’s pay (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  I pray my mind is alert, rebuking all ungodly thoughts to gossip, slander or join in unproductive slothfulness, putting on the full armor of God for I know the days are evil Ephesians 6:12, Galatians 5:19-21, Mark 7:20).  I thank you for my employer, for many people this day are without jobs, money and food to sustain their families (Proverbs 31:15).
            Father I pray for your spirit of wisdom, the spirit of discernment, counsel and might (Isaiah 11:2) this day among my fellow works or employees.  I pray I see their hard work and they are rewarded well.  Give me a generous spirit to encourage, to be thankful and recognize each individual talent and respect the time given by each (John 6:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:12)  May I be a woman who speaks with wisdom, watch over the affairs of this company diligently, rebukes idleness and opens my heart to the poor and those in need (Proverbs 31)
            I praise your name for the ability to start and finish a job, being able to also rest and enjoy the fruits of my labor (Genesis 2:2, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20) Help me this day to work six fulfilling days, using all my gifts and talents chosen for me by the Spirit, but the ability to rest, relax, revive and restore my spirit on the seventh day.  I pray I praise, worship and give you glory for such a time and season as this. 
            I pray the work is fulfilling, continually striving to accomplish more in the boundaries you have set for me.  If the time ever should come where I am no longer needed, or Lord you remove me from my current job to partake in the planting of your harvest, give me the spirit to follow, the obedience to submit to your will, and the finances to supply the journey.  Mold and shape me this day.  You are my provider,  Jehovah-Jireh. You have my time in your hands, you are fully aware of my needs, the bills I need to pay, the family I need to provide for and I trust you completely.

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