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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Job Loss

Americans are losing their jobs as the economy worsens. Some of my friends are among the unemployed. I hope each of them finds a job soon. It must be extremely difficult to be unemployed as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach.

Perhaps you know someone who is unemployed—a friend, a relative, or a neighbor. You may be praying specifically for that person, but you can do more than pray. Why not keep your eyes and ears open for a job opportunity? Pass the tip along to the job seeker. Volunteer to serve as a reference, and encourage the unemployed person in tangible ways. Your friendship may be precisely what he needs—and what the Lord will use—to carry him through a tough transition.

“A friend loves at all times. And a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Very Slow Paint Job

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

On our way to a church I used to pastor Gloria and I passed a house that was almost painted. The painting project lasted almost two years. The goal was to transform the exterior from yellow to blue. Three sides became blue rather quickly, but for a year and a half the painting of the last side moved at a snail’s pace. A ten-by-ten patch of yellow surrounded by blue caught our attention for months. Then the yellow patch started to grow smaller as the painting inched toward completion. Finally, the house became blue on all sides, and the owner could step back and admire the metamorphosis.

If you are like most homeowners, you want improvements to start on time and move quickly to completion. Who wants to live indefinitely with an-almost-painted house or a partly remodeled bathroom or kitchen? We want things done on time and professionally so we can be satisfied that our money and efforts were well spent.

Every Christian has a responsibility to invest his or her spiritual gifts, energy, and time into the building of the Church. Our work is never done as long we live on this side of heaven. We cannot excuse ourselves by claiming we are too old or too tired. We may move slower than we did when we were younger, but we can still move, can’t we? And we can make steady progress in whatever task the Lord assigns us.

In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul offered a challenge for Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord” (4:17). This challenge is appropriate for us too. Someday Jesus will inspect the work He assigned us. Let’s not leave anything almost finished.

© 2008, Jim Dyet