Showing up (not just physically)
Not only do I show up to work, I show up early. In fact for the first hour or so I am the only person there. Do you know anyone like that? Seize the day, early bird gets the worm etc.. You see men when we show up to work, we don’t just show up and hum through our day. We show up with an intentionality that is innate within us and motivates us to close deals, make new partnerships, drive sales, fix problems and conquer the tasks and challenges we face daily. It is this mindset that comes from the very foundations of who we are. We use our mental fortitude, agility and skills of negotiation to put down any problems that may arise. We expend ourselves mentally and this is good. After all work was part of the original creation prior to the fall and therefore is good.
But what does it look like when you get home to your family? You may say, “I don’t have a family.” Sure that is alright but I still say, what does it look like when you get home? Many times when we come home from work we may assume we should not have to be bothered because we have put in our days duties. We drop the intentionality, mental fortitude, agility and skills of negotiation at the doorstep leaving work. We come home to a family happy to see us. We see a wife struggling to find purpose and encouragement in her daily plight. Children happy to see dad but also struggling with their own version of negotiation skills in various problems they face as siblings. What do we do? Many times we hit the couch or the La-Z-Boy and burn out in front of the T.V. to the destruction of our families.
The point is simply this, is your intentionality rooted in your faith in Christ or your job? If it is rooted in your job, you will never come home with the intentionality that you take to work. Because it is not rooted in Jesus Christ, your family will continue to coast through life with no real leadership and direction. Playing with your kids and telling your wife how much you love her and them is merely surface level. Jesus is the head of the man and the man the head of the family.
If you are not aligned under Christ you may have success in your job but it will be to the forfeiture of your family. You say, “well I maintain order in my home and lead.” A family does not thrive under the rule of a dictator barking orders as his foot crosses the threshold of the door. Therefore, ask yourself, does your family rejoice when they hear your car pull up or do they cringe?
What does this look like you may ask? First and foremost, you cannot just show up physically and pat yourself on the back. Your family needs to know that you are there physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They need to see your intentionality and desire to serve them. This needs to be rooted in Christ through faith or will quickly turn into an idol where you get the glory and when things go wrong, they get the resentment.
Doing your best / Giving your best
There was an incident in Genesis 4 between Cain, Abel and God.
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Upon immediate reading of the text it appears that Abel is favored but Cain is overlooked. But if we carefully take into account what the text says about the offerings both men brought we can see where the difference is and which one truly understood his place before God. Look again, “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.”
Here you see that Abel brought the firstlings, or to put it in a way we can all understand, he brought his very best. He surveyed his flock and took notice, then chose to take the best and bring it to God. To many times we as men bring our best to work, but leave the left overs for our families. As if that was not bad enough, when we are fully spent we give God whatever crummy left overs we can muster. This, my friend is wrong. Why do we expend ourselves at work but excuse ourselves at home? Why do we work hard at our job but but forfeit our time with God?
The answer is simple, our alignment is incorrect and our priorities are wrong. God deserves our very best every day, and it should be the first thing we do. I know we have to keep a job and need to support our families but that does not mean we have to expend ourselves to the point where our families become a burden in our selfishness. We should stay faithful to the Lord at work, do our best, and pray for strength and help on our way home. God is faithful and He will help us.
Trying to impress the boss
The next thing we do at work but not at home is trying to impress the boss. There is nothing wrong with doing good honest work and trying to impress the boss. After all work is good and we should do what we can to set ourselves apart from the rest in a way that is aligned under a mighty and good God.
But I fear that the only boss we are trying to impress is one that bears no weight on eternity. When we get home from work, our abilities don’t disappear, we turn them off. My brothers that ought not to be so. God is the ultimate boss; as creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them, He is the one who has authority over all. There is nothing we can do to impress God.
But we should be aligning ourselves under His authority and working diligently to further His kingdom in our home. This looks like a man that comes home from work and seeks to serve the King. A man that loves his wife, engages his children for the Kingdom and spiritually leads by example. It is not, coming home turning the game on and telling the kids not to bother you while exhorting your wife to serve you. This is the opposite of what it means to serve the boss.
Encouraging your team members
How many times at work do we work on team projects, collaborative meetings and share encouragement? I fear more often than we do at home. Let’s evaluate the definition of encouragement.
the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
Encouragement is a verb, it is an action which means it requires movement on our part as husbands and fathers. Do we give support, confidence and hope to our wife and children or are we merely assuring them of our circumstantial love once we have served ourselves? Giving support means helping someone with something. Giving confidence means building up another by speaking truth and life into their ear. Giving hope means sharing with them the truth of scripture. God created a perfect and right world, mankind disobeyed God willfully and as a result the world and its inhabitants were plunged into a perpetual state of sin and decay. The Bible says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
that is short of perfect holiness. And for those sins, the Bible says
for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see this is the ultimate hope, the hope that carries us through the pain and toil, the groaning and grunting of this sin cursed world and into eternity with our Creator. But one can only receive this hope by repenting (turning away from their sins) and putting their faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone. There is no other. Is this the type of encouragement your family receives from you? Do you come home and intentionally build them up for the kingdom of God and His glory, or do you tear down, and belittle?
Sacrificing for the advancement of the company
How many late nights have you spent working on that proposal? How many long hours have been put in to meet a deadline? Perhaps a better question to ask is, how many times have you skipped a family affair for the advancement of your employer? My brother if the answers that complete these questions result in “more than I should have;” we must reevaluate our priorities. Jesus said,
What shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul, or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
The question is this, why would you sacrifice your eternity for temporary advancement in the here and now? What would you exchange for your soul? If we are making sacrifices to the advancement our employers agenda at the detriment to our families we are doing it wrong. Sacrificing for the greater good is giving up what we want or desire and serving another. This does not mean losing your job or quitting; it simply means spending less extra time at work and instead, investing into your family sacrificially.
This might look like turning down a big project you know will tear into your time with your family. It may look like turning down a promotion if it requires you to be at work more often and at home less. I know this sounds crazy in our modern society but is it really? If a man’s job is to love, lead and sacrifice for his family to impact eternity, what good can he do from his office desk? Do not gain the world only to let your family fall. I assure you that big money and big stuff is only stuff. You will never see a moving truck behind a hearse. Jesus finished his teaching by saying this
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels!
I wonder, are we teaching our families to be ashamed of Christ in a futile attempt at gaining the world? My brothers these things ought not to be so.