Ten years ago, I wrote a post titled Look What They Make You Give, based on the line from the Bourne Identity. The main character Jason Bourne, repeats the line in the Bourne Ultimatum, the 3rd movie in the series. The post began by questioning the demands a job places on people.
When we take a job, we agree to spend a chunk of our life (energy, time, resources, and attitude) to produce an outcome. The company’s culture (the way things happen in an organization) and politics (the way people interact within the culture) create constraints on how we produce the outcome. At first, our pay may help motivate us, but after a while, if our work, friendships, or our mission generates no energy, our jobs drain us. Eventually, we feel like our agreement becomes a prison sentence. We feel compelled to hang on to as much of our life as possible.
However, when we enter a job as a representative of Jesus, we know our life is eternal. We spend energy, but the Holy Spirit refreshes us. Our life comes from God instead of coming from our work. God uses enjoyable people and activities to give us eternal life, but he can also give us life through other means.
Paul talked about this when explaining his ministry to the Corinthians in the 2nd letter:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NASB
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB
When we work based on eternal motivation, serving God, we may be afflicted, crushed, perplexed and struck down. But God spares us from the natural outcome of those external forces. We can’t avoid affliction, but we won’t be crushed. God uses light-as-a-feather affliction to produce in us an incomparable, weighty glory that is no comparison.
Do you enter a work environment where you feel crushed, despair, alone or defeated? Our Holy Spirit can turn that around for you and give you eternal life. In Part 2, we’ll discuss how he does it.
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