I know not every job is like this, but one of the interesting things about my job is that it is very integrated with my life. Here’s what that means. There aren’t a lot of clear boundaries as to when I’m working and when I’m playing (play here is defined as not work).
Now, generally speaking, I certainly major in work while at work and major in play when at home. But, largely because of technology, my work and play bleed into one another fairly regularly. Some examples:
- Email: Despite the fact that you can email me at my work account (an @FirstTrinity.com email) or my play account (@gmail.com), it all goes to the same place. This means I process both work and play email every time I check my email. This is why you may get a work-related email from me at 11 p.m. or a play email at 1 p.m.
- Blogging: Generally speaking, I read blogs when I have an opportunity to do so. It’s easier to divide work and play blogs, but I read both types in both places. I also do some play blogging at work and work blogging at play.
- Twitter: One of the things about Twitter that I love is that I can get small bits of teaching wherever I am. I can also get Fantasy Football news and information. And updates on my friends’ lives. Work and play co-exist.
Sometimes it’s best to have a clear divide between the two things. For me, that’s often on Mondays, which is my “day off”. Very rarely do I respond to work requests on Mondays. Occasionally, but not often. There are also times where I need to erect a barrier so play things don’t interrupt me at work. Usually this involves shutting down my email/twitter/blogging software and focusing exclusively on work.
So here are two theological questions associated with this:
- Is your relationship with God integrated with your life?
- When do you build a barrier to keep out the world and focus exclusively on God?
Of course, God wants both: Life integration and moments of exclusivity.
Interesting section of reading yesterday in our 30 Days With Jesus. Matthew 8:5-13:
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,  ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel  have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
A Roman Centurion is praised for his great faith. He knew what it was like to be in authority, having his orders followed unquestioned. I imagine he routinely gave orders and never even bothered to confirm they were carried out because he just knew they would be.
And he translates that life experience to his spiritual life. He knows the authority he has, recognizes that Jesus has even more authority, and insists that Jesus need not trouble Himself with traveling to the Centurion’s house.
I suppose praying is only part of the answer to our problems. The other half—perhaps the greater piece, actually—is believing that Jesus not only has the authority to answer our prayers, but that He will.
I’m involved in an interesting discussion on a DCE email discussion group I participate in. The discussion started around the question, “How do we measure effectiveness in ministry if not by numbers of people coming?” Numbers are easy to measure: they are either up or down.
It’s not a perfect measurement, however. There could be lots of people not coming, but growing spiritually through other means. Or people could be coming for the wrong reasons. We could probably up attendance 200% by offering $20/week for everyone who comes to church, but is that really spiritual growth?
We like to think of spiritual growth at First Trinity as steps on a journey. What’s the next step in your spiritual life? Where do I go from here?
If spiritual growth is a journey, how do we measure it?
What if there were a personal spiritual assessment tool? A PSAT if you will. The tool would have questions that you answer in numerical form (scale of 1-6 style), but also include room for comments. You would take the test now, and again in a year, theoretically measuring your progress in journey.
Let’s say we’re developing the tool. Here are some questions I’d love to hear your thoughts on:
- What areas should the assessment cover? (Example: Prayer life, Worship, Serving others)
- What specific questions would you include?
Sound off in the comments!
One of several start pages in my browser is espn.com. I typically spend about 2 minutes scanning the front page for any stories of note. This title caught my eye just now: UW alum pledged $100K if Willingham were fired.
Intrigued, I clicked through to see what was up. If I’m being honest, it actually sounds like a rich person trying to get their way, perhaps even being a bit childish. My favorite quote:
If someone is willing to make a gift of money for a charitable purpose, they are entitled to put conditions on it.
Well…. No. If you are putting conditions on it, it’s not really a gift. It’s a transaction.
The Bible talks about a free gift, namely our salvation:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
It wasn’t a transaction. God didn’t say, “I’ll save you, but first I’m going to need you to get rid of all the bad stuff in your life.” Rather, we are saved not on account of anything we do, but on account of God’s grace in giving the gift.