Turn My World Around

August 5th, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by David Squire

Today’s scripture: Luke 6:20-22 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Squire):

I think today’s scripture is all about the power of God — power to turn my overwhelming world on its head, to make good out of bad, to turn my need into fulfillment, and my sorrow into holy laughter.

Before I began working for Jesus MCC, I worked for an Indiana State agency for about nine years.  I worked with good people to do good work.  We really helped our clients and made a difference for them.

It was a good place to work until the last year or so.  The agency’s president (who was a political appointment) left and was replaced by “Ernie.”  And Ernie, shall we say, had an unusual management style.

He motivated by fear more than anything else.  He was abrasive and condescending but clearly held himself in the highest esteem.  He expected to never be questioned.  And he turned our mostly-functional office into an an evil brew of stress and instability.

Several members of the staff, including my supervisor of three years, left during Ernie’s first few months.  Ernie liked to hire yes-men to fill vacant positions.  Even more than yes-men, he liked to hire yes-women.

One of those yes-women was my new supervisor, “Marie.”

It was early 1998, just about time for annual reviews.  For two years, there had been a freeze in state employee salaries, but that had finally been lifted.  So I was looking forward to this review — Marie’s first of me — because that would mean an increase in pay.

But instead of an increase, I received a harshly negative review — after years of positive evaluations.  I was shocked — I didn’t see this coming, at all.  I just sat in stunned silence as I read my supervisor’s review of my year.

(I was furious at her at the time.  But with time and thought, I can see that she was just doing what “Ernie” had told her to do.  I think he wanted me to quit, but didn’t have legitimate cause to fire me.)

So how does this horrid little workplace story relate to today’s reading?

Well, it was about this time that I was feeling a “nudge.”  I had found Jesus MCC a couple of years earlier, and I was excited by what I saw God doing among us.  I wanted to be a part of that, with more than just attendance on Sunday or a couple of hours on a ministry team.

My review and the past year of workplace hell was another strong nudge.  There were other factors, too (including a wonderful partner and a small financial windfall) that combined together to convince me to quit my state agency job and volunteer my time at the church.  That eventually led to a paid position as communications director.

I hesitate to even mention that I worked as a volunteer for a year — it sounds so much like I’m trying to proclaim my own holiness.  But that’s not it, at all.  I had experienced a time of lack, and God was leading (OK, pushing) me to a time of being satisfied, of laughing, of finding my niche in the kingdom of God.  I had discovered my purpose for this time in my life.  What else could I do?

God used this awful time to propel me to do something radically different — and it’s been the best career decision I’ve ever made.

Thought for the day:  What part of your life makes you feel like you’re in poverty, hungry, and weeping?  How might God use that to display God’s power and turn your overwhelming world around?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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