My Vocation Is Not Useless

Good morning. It is Sunday, January 11, 2015. Welcome to the Weekend Edition!

Today’s Word of the Day is “nakodo.” Basically, it’s a Japanese match-maker. “In Japan: a person who acts as intermediary in arranging the introduction of parties to a possible marriage and assists in the subsequent negotiations; a person who accepts the formal role of matchmaker at a wedding ceremony whether or not he or she played a role in bringing the couple together.”

Today is Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day. Hmmm. Okay, then. .— . ..-. ..-. / -… .. -.-. -.- .-.. . -.– That, according to a translator I found, is my name in Morse Code.

Yesterday was a challenging day. Obviously, the Internet is up and running again, but we had issues with the DirecTV set up. It seems that the last time AT&T U-Verse switched out our modem, they took out the coaxial wire and replaced it with CAT 5 wiring. DirecTV still uses coaxial (as I’m sure most cable companies do, too), so they had to fish a new line down from the attic. This wound up costing us an additional $50. Christi was very unhappy about this, and called AT&T, who told her she would have to talk to DirecTV, even though we signed up through AT&T. She got hold of someone, who, at first told us that there was no way he could credit us for that. But he wound up coming up with a way to credit our account, but he had to “cancel” the original order and re-enter it as a new account number. This caused trouble for the installer, as the order number changed. It also causes us further issues, as Christi will now have to call AT&T back and give them the new DirecTV account number in order to get the bundle connected properly. All that being said, everything seems to be working well, at this point. We have faster Internet than we had before, and, even though there are some things that are different about DirecTV, we will get used to them. I’m working on getting our regimen of TV shows set up on the DVR. It’s a bit challenging, as things work differently from U-Verse, which is what we were used to. Different is not bad. It’s just hard to get used to.

Christi was exhausted and didn’t feel well after groceries and lunch, so she did not go to church last night. We had a good service, even though it was quite different. It was our annual “business meeting,” per our newly ratified by-laws. But it was certainly unlike any “Baptist” business meeting I have ever experienced. It was, well, yes . . . kind of exciting. We looked at things that have happened in 2014 (good things), looked at our budget (which wasn’t as horrible as I thought), and then looked forward to some things that we hope to accomplish in 2015. One of those, I have mixed feelings about. The pastor wants us to be able to get back to having services on Sunday morning. I really like the Saturday evening thing, but I totally get where he is coming from. In our culture, Sunday morning is when people go to church. And there are many legitimate reasons that take people away from us on Saturdays. So one of our big prayers for 2015 is getting a space where we can do that.

After church, I grabbed dinner at Lee’s Grilled Cheese, came home, and we found a movie to watch on one of our temporarily free premium channels. It was a rather silly movie, called “R.I.P.D.” It had Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, along with Mary-Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon. It was a fun movie, and just right for what we needed last night. I had set up another movie to record last night, called “Let the Right One In.” We watched that after the other one, and, I have to say, this was a stunning movie. We watched the Swedish version (the U.S. version is called “Let Me In”), so I had to shut down the computer and actually watch the movie, in order to read the subtitles. It’s a tragic story, yet strangely beautiful. And, yes, it’s a vampire movie. But it’s much different, I believe, from most vampire movies. It may be the saddest movie I have ever seen.

Today, we are having lunch at the house of our pastor’s parents. He has invited all of the Pastoral Assist Team/Elders and our families to their house for lunch. If I’m adding correctly, there will be 25 people in that house. At least. Should be interesting.

Also, I’m disappointed, as the Patriots squeaked by the Ravens last night, 35-31, on a fourth quarter touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game. Today, the Cowboys play the Packers, and the Broncos play the Colts. Horses against horses. Tomorrow, the alleged college “national championship” game will be played at Jerry World. Still a joke. I refuse to acknowledge it as a national championship. It’s no more so than calling the winner of the World Series the “world champions” of baseball. Whatever. The college football ranking system is still a popularity contest.

(Source: Brainy History)

It was on this date in 1919 that Romania annexed Transylvania. I’m not sure why, but for some reason, I really think that’s a cool historical fact.

Today’s birthdays include Alexander Hamilton (first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury), William James (psychologist and philosopher), Carroll Shelby (race car driver/auto designer), Rod Taylor (actor), Clarence Clemons (sax player), John Piper (theologian/preacher), Tony Kaye (keyboard player), Naomi Judd (singer), Lee Ritenour (guitar player), Ben Crenshaw (golfer), Robert Earl Keen (singer), Vicki Peterson (musician–The Bangles), Jasper Fforde (author), Manny Acta (baseball player), Mary J. Blige (singer), Amanda Peet (actress), and Marc Blucas (actor).

Marc Blucas is an American actor who has had a number of roles in his career. The most memorable for us is his role as “Riley” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, copyright restrictions on Buffy clips are fiercely enforced on You Tube, so finding clips of the show is next to impossible. So a picture will have to do.

Buffy gang
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn is right behind Buffy, looking at Xander.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

Psalm 8:1-2

(From Knowing Jesus)

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
Mark 6:1-6

The reading for today is called “Jesus, the Carpenter.”

We don’t have a lot of information about Jesus’s years as a carpenter. But we, at least, have information that tells that that was his vocation, until he was approximately thirty years old, when his ministry began. We can only speculate about the kinds of things that happened during those years, or the attitudes that he had about working in a human, worldly vocation. His father was a carpenter, so that is what he did, as well. Strangely enough, he was not selected, we assume, to follow a mentor in the synagogue. We also have to assume that he willingly went along with his expected vocation, presenting no resistance. As we follow Jesus as our example, “we learn to accept the role God gives us, working cheerfully and expertly because this is what pleases him.”

This is important. The author presents an example in which he was working with a college campus to “help establish a student witness.” As he was meeting with dorm leaders, one of the expressed surprise that a particular student was being selected as a leader. “‘How could he lead your group?’ she demanded. ‘He does not do his cleaning job here in the dorm very well.'” This should speak volumes to all of us. I don’t “work” in an official ministry. I have never been full time in the ministry, as I spent a number of years as a part-time (we like to call it “bi-vocational”) music minister/worship leader. My current role is volunteering as the leader of the prayer ministry of our church. If the people I work around know that I am involved in this prayer ministry, especially as a leader, what will they think if I do a shoddy job at work? It is important that I do the best I can at my vocation, every day, because, first and foremost, that is pleasing to God, because I am admonished to work as though I am working for God, not for men. It is also important because people are watching. If my testimony about Christ is to be taken seriously, I must handle my every day tasks with integrity and excellence.

“Following Jesus, we do our best every day, no matter how unexciting the task may be, because that is what he did for many, many years in a tiny Galilean town, far from the world’s limelight. He did not achieve fame or wealth. No structures were named after him. But Jesus pleased God, his family, and his community. That’s what counts.”

Let us never think that our vocation is useless in the Kingdom of God!

Father, I have struggled with this topic. There have been times in my life when I thought that I was of little use in your Kingdom because I didn’t have a major part in ministry. I have spent my years working menial tasks, mostly in the trucking business, for my full time jobs. Today, you know what my full time job is, as a receiving material handler in a warehouse. Certainly not very glamorous. But it is where you have placed me, and that is what is most important. You have given me a role in ministry, mostly behind the scenes, leading a prayer ministry. You have shown me how important prayer is to your Kingdom, and I have embraced this role. I still struggle with wanting to be on the stage, singing and playing praise songs to you. I pray that you help me to further embrace the place where you have me, complete with the unexciting tasks of my day-to-day job. Help me to do that job with the utmost excellence and integrity, that I might be viewed as one who is reliable and dependable. Let me bring nothing but glory to your name and Kingdom.

I pray for this day, that our fellowship time with the other leaders and their families will be full of grace and joy. I pray your blessings on the household that is hosting us this afternoon. Thank you for brothers, sisters, and friends in your Kingdom, and may we do a better job of serving and loving them. I pray that we will get some good rest this evening, as we prepare for the week of work ahead.

Your vocation, no matter how menial and unexciting it may seem, is important to God. He has placed you there for a reason, to serve and glorify him. How we approach this relates directly to how we love God, follow Jesus, and share the Kingdom.

Grace and peace, friends.

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