4.06.2007

Two Battles

Pursuing a vocation in which you can seek God's kingdom in the work
itself is something that's always been important to me. I'm speaking
at a local college Christian fellowship on this topic later this week,
so I figured I'd help myself organize my thoughts by posting on the
subject.

One point that I want to make during my remarks is that we often sign
up for one battle but end up fighting two. In other words, we who
decide to work for Christian organizations or small non-profits
understand that the work itself, whether teaching inner-city students
or working in a rural clinic or counseling the addicted, is a battle.
But we're ready, with God's help, for that external battle; that's the
battle we've signed up for by choosing that place of employment.

What we don't realize at the time is that there is a second battle we
end up fighting, one that is endemic to any organization that employs
people. And that is the internal battle, the one that weighs us down
with things like office politics and in-fighting and disagreements.
That battle doesn't seem nearly as noble, nor was it one we signed on
for when we went this route.

And yet our character may end up being shaped more by those internal
battles than by the external ones. Not necessarily that we divert our
attention more to the inside stuff than to the outside stuff. Far
from it, for the outside stuff is still the real battle. But in
another sense, how we deal with things like personal integrity and
treating others with respect and being a team player are deep,
meaningful character issues that go a long way in determining how much
success we're going to have outwardly.

It's a shame when people, upon realizing they're getting two battles
instead of just the one they wanted, either walk away disillusioned,
looking for that perfect organization where everyone gets along and
people rise above such petty hindrance; or let those internal
struggles so weigh on them that they have no energy left for the very
struggles they're there to tackle. So I hope when I make my remarks,
some college students will hear me and take to heart what I'm saying,
and find a middle way that respects those internal battles, uses them
to become people of character, and press on through to those external
battles that so desperately need to be fought.

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