I needed to get a service done and went to place A which I was somewhat familiar with. The person I found running the place wasn’t the nicest at first, but as I lingered at the behest of the Holy Spirit, I came to learn that they were trying to sort out a personal emergency which had clearly thrown their day off track. Eventually, help arrived and I got what I needed done at an astronomical cost that I hadn’t initially expected.
Fast forward some weeks later when I discovered the work done at place A had an issue that potentially required me to get everything done from scratch. Given the original price I had to pay, it pained me to think about how much more I’d have to fork over if everything was to be done again.
In the weeks in between, I’d discovered that place B exists a walking distance away from place A and so I decided to try it out instead. From the word go, the service was remarkably different. When we get to the bottom of the problem, I realized that the way the work was done at place A meant that I ended up paying twice what I should have had the work been done right. That’s even before I make any payments at place B for the repairs that need to be done.
You’re probably thinking – place B needs a medal and place A should be torn down (figuratively, of course). But my testimony is this – I saw God’s goodness abundantly in both instances.
As Christians who live in a troubled world, we cannot afford to not know how to perceive light in the dark places. Especially when it is not immediately apparent. Particularly because the light is usually us, not something or someone outside of us.
Yet unlike physical sight, spiritual sight is something we have to learn. It’s not automatic that we see what God or the enemy is doing, even when we have the gift of discernment. It takes practice to be able to take note of the ways and patterns of a God who hardly does anything the way that is common for us as human beings.
Over the years, I’ve learned to live with this heart posture: God, help me see Your goodness in ALL things. I no longer question God’s goodness like I used to and go wandering in search of it as though it and He is lost and can’t find me. I do my best to stand on the faith that God is good and go looking for His goodness; because I know it’s there, my eyes just need to adjust so I can see it.
This is what my adjusted eyes see in place A and B that gives me cause to be thankful to God for both:
1. Obedience outweighs outcome. My initial reception at place A had me ready to leave to look for an alternative almost instantaneously. But God asked me to stay and I did. Just because our obedience doesn’t lead to the outcome we consider ideal, doesn’t invalidate it. I know that it counts for something each time I trust God enough to follow His lead especially when it doesn’t make logical sense. I’ve found that learning to obey in the small things builds muscle for when the stakes get bigger.
2. We always have the choice to extend grace. It’s not always that people are bad. Maybe they’re just having a bad day. And if you look beyond yourself and your needs for a moment it’ll be right there for you to see it. Even if they are being intentionally awful, there’s room for gracious recourse even if you have to stand your ground concerning a matter. I much prefer to have God fight my battles because He knows the intentions of another’s heart better than I do and will treat them more justly than I ever could.
3. Save the baby as you throw out the bath water. I was dealing with a deadline that involved other people both times I got the service done. There was input person A gave beyond their service that allowed me to meet first deadline. Most of what they did was actually good; it was only one error that upended things. And while the need for repair was inconveniencing, God availed wisdom on a way to get it done that barely cost me anything. Not to mention, I didn’t lose any benefit I had gained by getting things done within deadline the first time. God came through both times, just in different ways.
4. Faithfulness matters. The person at place B made about 0.61% (yes, I did the literal math) of what the person at place A did. Even though person B could have insisted on it, they chose not to charge me for the repairs and only charged me for the new work I gave them. The world would consider them a terrible business person; but I am a thankful recipient of their faithful stewardship. What they do for a living is a job looked down upon by many in society, but their heart of service registers a powerful testimony in the kingdom of God. There’s no such thing as small work or small faith in His hands.
5. Live your faith daily. Based on how things went, you may presume person A is a non-believer and person B a believer. You’re half right. Both places are run by Christians. Saying you’re a Christian means little if your life is a complete departure of who Christ is. You cannot say that you don’t represent Christ at work because there’s no opportunity to do so. Every time you engage in business – as a customer or a provider – you’re handed a chance to be a light and a life-giver to someone.
This post is not a humble brag of what a good Christian I am. Hardly. There are plenty of times when I haven’t made the best choices and my representation of Christ has been less than exemplary. I share this story in the hope that anyone who reads it would see the practicality of the gospel in the marketplace.
My work transactions are spiritual in nature whether or not money is involved and regardless of how much of it. Whether I’m the customer or the product/service provider, I have learned to check for what God is doing in everything I’m involved in, big or small, and to partner with Him in accomplishing it.
Person A may never fully know or understand the inconvenience I faced but I can afford to extend them grace and be thankful for all the good they did do. I can’t afford not to ask God to help them be better and do better because we’re part of the same Body and under the same Christian banner, which makes their testimony my own. Saying I’m not “that kind of Christian” doesn’t go as far as we think.
Person B may never fully know or understand what a blessing they were to me and I can’t afford to repay their kindness in the way I would want to. But I can ask God to cause His face to shine upon them and their family. As the Lord leads and enables, I can send more business their way. I can find encouragement that just as their faithfulness deeply mattered to me, my faithfulness makes a difference to someone else.
May we learn to partner with the hand of God as we honour His heart in who we are and in the work that we do.
What practical ways can you practice the gospel this week at your workplace?