– June 19, 2020 –
This is a tough period for many in business. Health risks combine with economic challenges to create an added burden of anxiety. What to do?
Jesus, early in his career, worked in his father’s business as a builder. We don’t know much about that part of his life except for the stories he told; so many of them were rooted in the marketplace. At age 30, before going to the cross for us, he worked as a teacher, healer, and preacher. In Mark 1:21-38, we get a glimpse of one frantic day in his life. I noticed five things about this busy day that can be helpful for us in our work.
1. He demonstrated competence.
In Mark 1:22 we read, “[Jesus] had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” As Christians, our role in the workplace bears witness to Christ, and that starts with competence. Nothing more quickly undermines our witness than doing work that is “just enough to get by.”
2. He showed discernment.
In Mark 1:23 he encountered “a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit.” Jesus was on a mission of healing when he encountered someone who we might call mentally ill. Yet Jesus discerned this was a spiritual problem. We are often challenged in our workplaces with understanding what kind of problem we are solving. Though Jesus is God and we are not, we will soon see how he gained this insight.
3. He took time for the individual.
In Mark 1:31 Jesus came to Simon’s mother-in-law, and he “went to her, took her hand, and helped her up.” That personal touch was so important. And even in our time of physical distancing, we need to take the time for individuals around us.
4. He took time to pray.
In Mark 1:35 we read, “Very early the next morning Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” In spite of all the pressure of schedule, Jesus took time and intentionally went off to pray. This is where he gained discernment. Are we too busy to spend time with God and pray?
5. He responded to God’s leading.
Rather than continuing his work there, Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also” (Mark 1:38.) From a natural point of view, there was plenty to do where he was. In verse 37, the disciples had just said to him “Everyone is looking for you.” Are we willing to be redirected, even in the middle of good things, for work God calls us to do? It is a much bigger subject to know when to stay and when to move on, but it starts with prayer.
I admit I wrote this as a challenge for myself in this period. But perhaps there is something for you here also.
Al Erisman, KIROS Board