Work: Blessing or Curse?

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Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. –Colossians 3:23

It was 25 years ago. The door had firmly shut on the job of my dreams –teaching – and, after I got over my major, extended funk, I realized this was an opportunity to pursue another one of my life’s interests – writing.

So I got a job at a local newspaper writing feature articles.

I loved it! I wrote human interest stories with a positive slant. Interviewing folks fascinated me, their stories intrigued me. I had the best of both worlds: a job I loved and freedom to set my schedule and choose my topics. But I was too stupid to see it. I wanted a position on staff, not be merely a stringer.

So when the society page editor resigned, I stepped into her position. I didn’t like it as much as writing people stories, but I was caught in a “climb-the-ladder-to-success” scenario. Excuse me, trap is a better word.

Fast forward a year or so, and I found myself in the editor’s office. Editor of the entire newspaper. I hated it. I hated the hours. I hated the politics. I hated everything about it.

In his book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg tells the story of a man who was offered the presidency of a university. A Quaker, he called together a half-dozen Quaker friends to help him discern whether this was truly a calling from God.

When asked what he would like about being president, he told them all he wouldn’t like. Finally, when asked a third time, he came face to face with the real reason he even was considering it: “Well, I guess what I’d like most is getting my picture in the paper with the word president under it.”

“Parker,” one man asked, “can you think of an easier way to get your picture in the paper?”

We can laugh, but that’s where I was. I liked the words “editor of the newspaper” behind my name, but there was no joy. I was absolutely, totally miserable. The mother of miserable.

Fortunately, I didn’t last long. I went to another newspaper, where I continued to write my devotional column, plus another column about my former town and also covered board meetings.

My sister’s death in 2003 made me realize I still wasn’t fulfilling my God-given calling. I was letting money and prestige dictate my job choices.

When you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for you (see Psalm 138:8), joy will fill you. Your work will be a blessing. But when you’re out of sync with that calling, uneasiness, restlessness, joylessness, and even downright misery will rule the day. Work will be a curse.

It takes courage to step out of the rut we’ve carved for ourselves, take off the masks, and leave the comfort of the known.

But remember, God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), and He will guide you, direct you, prepare the way for you, walk with you, go before you, and provide for all you need.

Commit your way to the Lord, and your plans will be established. He will make your steps firm (Proverbs 16:3 and Psalm 37:23–24). In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Why not ask God what He wants you to be doing? His answer may surprise you – and will definitely delight you.

Thank You, God, for giving me satisfying work that uses the talents You gave me, fills me with joy, and fulfills Your purpose for me. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 25:14–30.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Lips

The lips of the righteous nourish many. —Proverbs 10:21 NIV

 Plump is in; thin is out. Lips, that is.

An ad I saw online touted the look of full lips. The lips on the model in the picture were so full, she looked as though she were having an allergic reaction. 

Now, I’m not one to run out and buy every product that’s supposed to better my appearance and increase my sex appeal. Nearly fifty years of marriage, three kids, five grandkids, and seven decades of life on this planet have pretty well taken care of that. I struggle enough with my appearance—the last thing I need is to look like I’ve just been shot up with Novocain. 

But the ad got me thinking about lips—and their purpose.

Lips reveal our emotions: they kiss, smile, pout, frown, and open to release laughter. The position of our lips affects the expression on our face. I can always tell when my husband is upset about something by the set of his lips—a thin, tightly pressed line. On the other hand, when his lips are smiling, his eyes are twinkling. 

Lips are the gateway for food. Closed lips keep food and liquids in our mouths. “Chew with your mouth closed,” we tell our kids. Closed lips also keep things from going in. Good when you’re trying to lose weight, bad when you’re trying to administer a dose of medicine to a reluctant child. 

Because of their nerve endings, lips stimulate the senses of taste and touch. When I want to check to see if my tea is too hot, I use my lips. When my kids were little, I pressed my lips to their foreheads to see if they had a fever. My lips were more reliable than my work-weathered hands.  

Lips also are vital for speech, enabling us to create sounds and form words. I’ve learned to cope with a lifelong hearing loss by watching people’s lips as they talk. When I can’t see their lips, it’s hard for me to understand what they’re saying. Hence the saying in the Huey household, “I can’t hear you—I don’t have my glasses on.”

Like anything else, we can use our lips for good or for evil. We can kiss someone or spit on them. Our lips can encourage or discourage—and affect our own feelings. A smile will not only brighten someone else’s day, but it will also boost your own spirits. Don’t believe me? Try it. A frown, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. A frown is the thundercloud of the face and the spirit.

The lips that praised Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday by the end of the week betrayed Him, denied Him, cursed Him, and condemned Him. A kiss signified He was the one to arrest. Lips that boasted undying loyalty denied even knowing Him. Lips that shouted “Hosanna” on Sunday screamed “Crucify Him” on Friday. 

I can use my lips to complain or praise, demolish or construct, poison or nourish, deny or confess, curse or bless, spit or kiss. 

How do I use my lips? How do you use yours? 

 Dear God, may my lips be plump with praise. Amen.

 Read and reflect on 1 Peter 3:10–11.

NOTE: Look up “lips” in a concordance, then read and reflect on the Bible verses that have to do with lips.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Michele Huey, Inspirational Author & Speaker
http://michelehuey.com
Where faith, love, and life collide