Much More

I’m nearing the end of Marilynne Robinson’s new book, Home. I count Gilead, one of her other stories, as one of my favorites, and Home has certainly not disappointed. Once I’ve finished it, I’ll write about the book in more detail, but for now I want to highlight one excerpt:

That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home.

And she’s absolutely right. Aren’t we always holding on to “the thought of what is wanting…and how the soul could be put at ease”?

It is only human that we can never shake the lingering feeling that there is supposed to be much more to life than what we have right now.

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

- Romans 8:22-23, NASB

So don’t let that lingering feeling go. Remember that we were made to be redeemed. We are supposed to groan within ourselves, waiting for the day when the soul will be put at ease. Restored. Home.

This is a repeat post, because we have had friends visiting. This was originally posted on Dec. 18, 2008

Why Change Me Now?

First, a warning: This post will discuss Country music. Anyone not from Texas, or anyone otherwise excused from enjoying Country/Western songs may experience slight nausea or a ringing in the ears after reading the following.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Billy Currington’s song, Why, Why, Why. His song, particularly the chorus, stands out to me as a question that I often find reflected in my own thoughts. The chorus begs this question:

Why, why, why do you wanna change me now?
Ain’t I the one you loved everything about?
You might start missin’ the old me around
So why, why, why do you wanna change me now

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God Will Feed You

You know those days where hope feels far away? The days where you’re just out of energy and out of joy?

I love the Bible because God helps people with both: He helps them with spiritual despair, and He helps them with physical need. God cares about both.

We see it in the Old Testament, when God provided manna for the Israelites and when He overlooked their sin by way of sacrifices. We see it in the New Testament, when Jesus fed the five thousand and when He forgave the sinner on the next cross over. God cares about both: He knows our physical and our spiritual needs, and He provides for them both.
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Be At Peace With Your Coworkers

Peace at Work

I'm guessing this looks a lot more peaceful than your office.

This post is ninth in our study of 9 Ways to Honor God at Work.

Peace.

What images does the word evoke in your mind? Do you think of sitting in the shade, beside a quiet stream? Do you picture the hippies and psychedelic anti-war protests? Do you picture your workplace?

I feel confident that the latter is not the case. Peace is probably one of the last words you would choose to describe your job.
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Pray for Your Work

This post is eighth in our study of 9 Ways to Honor God at Work.

Pray for Your Work

Everyone's workplace gets stressful at times. How can we pray for our jobs?

How can you pray for your work? In my own life, I have imitated several examples of prayer.

My wife’s example regularly teaches me and encourages me to pray more about my work situation. My wife is a nanny for a young boy, not yet to his first birthday. I am often impressed by how frequently and fervently she prays for the boy, for his parents, and for her own role as his nanny.

What most impresses me (and relates to today’s topic) is how well she prays for her weak areas as a nanny. When she realizes that she’s not doing well in one area, she prays that God would strengthen her to do it better. She gets specific.

Pray for Your Work

John Piper wrote that we should go to work utterly dependent on God. To do that, we must get up in the morning and let God know we desperately need him. We pray, asking for His help.
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Why Read Old, Dead Writers? Why Augustine?

AugustineWhy should you care about St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, born in the 4th century and dead in the 5th? What can a dead white guy from ancient Africa have to teach you today?

After all, you and I live in the age of the Internet. The age of YouTube and The Office. You can Google John 3:16 in approximately 4.2 seconds, so why do you need to read Augustine’s reflections on that verse?

Go read my guest post on Dreaming Beneath the Spires to see why I think you should put Augustine on your to-read list.

Do Not Nag

Do Not NagHow well do you remember the story of Samson and Delilah? If you’re like me, you have childhood, Sunday school memories. Or maybe you remember Samson and Delilah the video (starring Charlton Heston).

This year, my wife and I are reading through the Bible, so we reread Samson’s story recently. Even though I’ve read it many times since childhood, I was surprised anew by one element of the story. I was surprised at how stupid Samson was!

Delilah fools Samson not once, not twice, not three times! Four times Samson trusts Delilah, telling her how she can steal away his strength. Only once does he tell her the truth, but why did he stay with her after the first three? Surely good sense would dictate that you dump a girl who’s trying to kill you.
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Serve Your Customers for God’s Sake

Serve Your CustomersThis post is seventh in our study of 9 Ways to Honor God at Work.

God is honored when you serve your customers.

We know that the second great commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. But who is your neighbor? One lawyer asked Jesus that very question, and Jesus answered with a story.

The story of the Good Samaritan tells of a man serving the first person he comes across.

Jesus did not tell a story of door-to-door evangelism, and he did not talk about inviting your next-door neighbor over for dinner. Jesus described a man willing to serve someone he found on the street.

Our neighbors are the people we see around us, particularly those we see every day. They are our customers.


Serve Your Students, A Story

During college, I tutored in an elementary school. That meant I traveled between classrooms and helped struggling students in a number of classes. I had the chance to watch many teachers, and I was surprised by how differently they treat students.
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Serve Your Coworkers

Serve Your CoworkersThis post is sixth in our study of 9 Ways to Honor God at Work.

“Tell me how to help.”

When was the last time you heard those words at work? When was the last time you said those words at work?

Every Christian knows the command to love your neighbor as yourself, but we rarely think about it at work.

If your work is anything like mine, there isn’t much free time. You aren’t surfing Facebook for hours at a time. In fact, the trouble is usually finding enough hours in the day. So it’s understandable that we aren’t quick to serve our coworkers.

It is understandable, but it isn’t Christian.


An Illustration

Last summer I worked at a public defender’s office. That means every day I was in court representing men and women accused of various crimes. Depending on a variety of factors, some days could be very busy while others were relatively easy.
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Pray for Your Coworkers

Pray for Your CoworkersThis post, Pray for Your Coworkers, is fifth in our study of 9 Ways to Honor God at Work.

Have you ever worked in a tense workplace? One where the battlelines are clearly drawn. The same people eat lunch together every day, and you’re never invited.

Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe there’s that one coworker. The one who never gets his work done on time. Or the one who is always complaining. The coworker you never want to see.
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