Every day in the shipyard workers gather in manageable groups of a few dozen, generally separated according to the various trades, and "stretch". Along with dozens of other fitters, and a contingent of invading welders, I stand outside in whatever weather is beholden and go through a series of ligament warming, muscle waking and bone bending exercises designed to prepare our bodies for a safe and productive day.
During this grind, one of the leaders begins to ask us some of the FOUR questions we should ask ourselves throughout the day. A QUESTION FIVE always comes to my mind on these occasions. Finally, I am now getting around to expounding on this question.
Please read about QUESTIONS ONE ,TWO, THREE, and FOUR before going on.
MY QUESTION FIVE:
"How can I do whatever I do today for the glory of God?"
This question is based on an important Bible verse found in First Corinthians chapter 10. Verse 31 says:
Yes, the shipyard's FOUR QUESTIONS are all important, and worth thinking about during the work day, but one might argue that they (and many others) are wrapped up and covered by my QUESTION FIVE. How could I mistakenly hurt myself or my partner or our equipment or waste time, if I am deliberately working to honor my God all day long?
This reminds me of the fact that the further people move from God's simplest instruction to "love your neighbor as yourself", or even away from His basic 10 commandments, the more detailed and picayune our self regulating rules must become. In the wake of the Sandusky abuse case, Penn State just came out with new rules for the whole collegiate staff. Now, each member is officially required (contractually!) to be sensitive and care about others! And Florida now legally requires allegations to be reported to authorities instead of a school staff trying to deal with them in house. Oh good! (Perhaps the authorities will actually make a difference instead of as the courts did in Brookfield Wi. where a man actually violated a restraining order and killed his wife and two other women in a day spa.)
If only Mike McQueary or Joe Paterno or Graham Spanier had my QUESTION FIVE in hand, or, God's verse 31 above in mind, when deciding what to do about what was going on in the locker room. Not to mention the self control possibly gained by Sandusky himself if he were committed to following Paul's teaching to the Corinthians.
But should I, for consistency sake, convert QUESTION FIVE to the same negative format used in the other questions? Something like: "How can I do everything I do today without ever considering God's foundational role and vital importance in my life? Yes, I think I should. For consistency sake (if not for brevity), and to make it much easier to demonstrate how we typically and actively disdain God's rightful place, or apathetically ignore His relevance every day.
So while you are stretching out that spine to one side and then the other, ask yourself QUESTION FIVE today.
"How can I do everything I do today without ever considering God's foundational role and vital importance in my life?
I could be planning how to spend my paycheck instead of noticing that the crane is swinging a load over my head.
I could think about my coming sandwich while my partner's pant leg bursts into flame.
I could let my grinder fall and break another $10.00 wheel.
I could be thinking about where I'm going to hide until break time today.
I could turn and walk away, even though a guy just mentioned his looming divorce.
I could ignore the guy eating his lunch all alone, again.
I could be ashamed of the Gospel, pretending that my life as a believer makes no difference.
I could complain about the long day, the weather, the boss, management and/or my wife.
I could decry Mondays and celebrate only "hump days" and Fridays.
I could make sure Saturdays and Sundays are all about me.
I could focus on myself for the rest of my life, and still hope to commune with God comfortably for eternity.
[Ouch. It was way too easy to come up with these answers to QUESTION FIVE!]
What does "glory" mean anyway? Not bright lights and angels singing. Glory means weight. To give God glory means to recognize and proclaim that He is IMPORTANT. That His existence has MATTER, or does MATTER.
I check my various pockets in a little patting routine before I leave the house every day: Cell phone? Pat; Wallet? Pat; Keys? Pat. And I perform a conscious survey of the rest of my VITAL requirements:, boots, proper clothes, LUNCH BOX. These are all weighty considerations, because I can't get to, get into, or perform my work if one of these is missing. But most importantly, do I have the right attitude ready? Instead of being anxious, am I trusting God? Am I dreading another day of hard work, or looking for opportunities to serve and minister to people God loves? Will I come home worn and selfish, or ready to bless my family with grace? Will "whatever I do" be an affront to my God, or lift up His name?
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