While eating soup is like a party in your mouth, “cooking the soup” isn’t always a joyous experience. Sometimes the challenges of work get the best of me. But a book that my friend Susan recommended has been extraordinarily helpful. Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick shows how the Gospel transforms our daily life. Before you yawn, think to yourself that you already know the Gospel, and click to another website, please hear me out.
Here’s how I apply the Gospel to the challenges I face at work, in the framework that Elyse Fitzpatrick presents:
Incarnation – Jesus humbled Himself and became a lowly servant. He knows what it is like to be human, to be tired, to be sick, and to work. He worked as a carpenter, and He likely experienced the drudgery, monotony, and pressure that almost everyone endures at one point or another at work. During His life on earth, he also suffered betrayal, misunderstandings, and false accusations. No unfair situation at my workplace is beyond His understanding.
His Sinless Life – Jesus lived perfectly, obeying every law in my place, so I don’t have to strive for perfection on my own. I am also free from the pressure of giving the appearance of perfection. I don’t have to worry about looking like I have it all together all the time. I can be honest with people and admit my mistakes. Jesus lived a perfect life, and I have His record.
The Crucifixion – At work, I am trying to prove that I’m a success (so much so that success is my idol). But the cross proves that I’m a failure. However, Christ bore the wrath that I deserve. I’m completely forgiven for my idolatry, selfishness, ungratefulness, and complaining.
The Resurrection – Because God raised Jesus from the dead, I know that (1) His sacrifice has been accepted by God, and (2) God has forgiven me. Sin no longer has power over me. I no longer need to prove my worth to anyone — not to my boss, not to my coworkers, not to my LinkedIn connections, not to God, and not to myself. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can change and become more like Christ. Through His strength, I can go to my desk each day with the mindset of a servant, working with gratefulness for the job and the resources that God has generously provided. By His power, I can reflect His peace, joy, and love as I participate in meetings, answer e-mails, and field unexpected interruptions.
The Ascension – Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He loves me and will bring me to be with Him one day. He is speaking to the Father on my behalf, sustaining me with grace and mercy. My career is not at the mercy of economic forces, the whims of management, or the number of late hours I can put in at the office. It is being directed by the CEO of the universe, who understands me and loves me. His plan for me is bigger than this week’s PowerPoint or next month’s budget, but He uses even those things to help me become like Christ.
Taking brief moments to consider all of these aspects of the Gospel throughout my workday is transforming my outlook. I am a work in progress! I pray that you will also experience the transforming power of the Gospel, no matter what challenges you face.
How do you apply the Gospel to your life?
The danger of frost is over, so I decided it would be okay to plant seeds outside. Being the planner that I am, I read the back of the seed packets and started looking forward to seeing my Columbine seedlings sprout in 22-30 days and my impatiens germinate in 10 days. I was trying to guess how long it would be before I saw blooms.
But a squirrel came by looking for lunch. He dug up my dirt and seeds and threw out my plans.
It’s gardening, these things happen, and I got over it. A gardener advised me to start over, putting chicken wire on top of my pots to keep the animals away. Meanwhile, this experience got me thinking about timelines. Sometimes I feel as though the flowerpot of my life has been knocked over. Things often don’t go as I plan, and even good changes can be surprising and overwhelming.
When I think about timelines now, I remember a snowy day this past winter when I helped paint a friend’s house. I was with some ladies who have more life experience than I do. We were painting a little girl’s room a bold pink. The conversation turned toward the pregnancy of a mutual friend, and the best age to become a grandparent. In all of my planning and dreaming about the best age to get married and have children, the timing of becoming a grandparent had never even crossed my mind! I couldn’t imagine trying to plan that.
I said something like, “Well, things don’t always go according to our timelines,” because I was disappointed that I hadn’t received something I’d wanted yet. The two ladies agreed. And as they dipped their brushes in the bubble-gum pink paint, I thought about their lives, and I knew they understood. Each of them could have told me how much easier my life was than theirs, but neither did. We just painted together, and I found comfort in being with people who know that God is sovereign over the timelines of our lives.
The second graders were working on their memory verse for the week. It is hard for them to memorize verses. It takes focus and discipline. Sometimes the words are not familiar. But they learn quickly compared to me at my age!
A student asked why she needed to memorize verses. I gave a pep talk on Scripture memory and told the kids how beneficial these verses would be to them later. I explained how it was so easy for me to learn verses when I was in second grade, and how I remembered them for years and years. Now I still try to learn verses, but it’s harder and they don’t stick as well.
One of the girls was excited because she had just learned Psalm 23 at home, so she recited it to me, word for word. I was happy for her and told her she would remember it for a very long time. I remembered learning it when I was her age. Then she asked me to recite it to her. Continue reading