God Deals with Our Idols

Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

II Corinthians 5:16-21

I have a friend who has suffered from a severe career downturn. Recently, he asked me to help him get perspective as he had applied for a Hospital Orderly job. He described it as Plan Z, having exhausted Plan B, C etc.

I’m struggling with it, and you can guess the reasons. To be honest, I feel sorry for myself (and there is pain in those few words). Gone from PhD, published author, esteemed lecturer . . . to an Orderly on $20 per hour. Woe is me. There’s no end to how much my ego can hurt it seems. I know it’s all pride and stuff, but there it is.

I replied:

There is dignity, grace and opportunity in every role. God uses roles like that to rub off our pride and remind us not to judge people by their work. God knows what you are capable of and what you need. What a great opportunity to serve! When my daughter had leukemia, the hospital orderly who moved her around for operations was Joe and he never failed to make her smile and feel special. As you can tell, 20 years later, we’ve never forgotten him!! I love your honesty and vulnerability. This job will make you a better preacher.

Just recently he sent me this message (and I have his permission to share these stories with you).

This morning I wheeled a lady in a bed to her ward. I ask her where she was from. She says “Cambridge.” Me: “I’m from Cambridge.” Patient: “Where abouts?” Me: “Grail Street.” Patient: “Oh really, I’m on Grail Street.” Me: “What number?” (It’s a long street). Patient: “15.” Me: “You’re kidding me. I’m number 14.” Patient: “My garden needs some work…” Me: “Oh, really. Would you like some help?” Patient: 😮😊
Just prior to that I wheeled a guy from CT who had a brain injury. 20 years old. Turns out he’s a Christian.
The last patient I was with was a little younger than me, and going for an MRI. I could tell he was nervous so I quietly told him I’d pray for him if he didn’t mind. When I got him to the MRI I could see he was scared so, as it was my last job of the day, I sat with him for a little bit in the waiting room. Turns out he’d had a stroke on Saturday and gets claustrophobic in MRI machines.
What amazes me is that I am in the most unlikely of places doing what I’d never choose to do – remember the struggle with my ego? – feeling pretty unimportant at times when I see what doctors and nurses do; and yet things like this happen on a daily basis.

Think It Through

  • What are the boring or horrible parts of your job, through which God might be able to work to both shape your character and serve others?
  • In what ways, as a new creation in Christ, can you help bring a taste of reconciliation to those around you at work? How are you Christ’s ambassador in your workplace?

Dear Lord,
Thank you for my friend, and the ways you have proved faithful both in shaping his ego and in reaching others through him.
Please help him to have a profound effect on those around him. May they see Jesus in his actions and his words.
Help us, also, to be challenged by what it means to have a new identity, and to be a new creation in Christ.
Help us to see how we can carry on Jesus’ work of reconciling the world to himself, in the context of where you have placed us.
Help us to remember that every day we go into our workplaces as ambassadors of Christ, representing his kingdom on earth.
Please change in us what needs to be changed, so that we can work faithfully for you.

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Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organizations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.

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