If you are a Christian, are you also on the shelf? And is it comfortable?
I am writing this in January, which is a good time to think about the new year we are in and about an hour ago I saw something that made me sad. I was waiting for a friend at a Tim Hortons and a young family came in; mother, father and two little boys. They were ragged and poor, but polite to everyone. Their order was a large coffee, probably for the parents to share, and a very small box of Timbits donut holes. That was their family break time.
I guess they were probably Christians, and I know people come to Alberta, where I live, to find work. One nickname for this province is “tomorrow’s country” and I see struggling start-ups all the time. My parents did that.
Today, I wish I had moved faster to buy cookies for the kids in that little family, but they walked away too fast into the cold and the snow, probably back to a small apartment.
I trust that God will give good things to that struggling family, and some day mother and father will find paychecks and the boys will go to school, and in the long term they will be OK. I hope, but it was painful to see.
You might know about project management and process improvement. Six Sigma is one of these, starting with Motorola in 1986, and later with huge corporations like General Electric. Don’t be fooled by the strange names and language, these systems are all based on simple common sense, and they are useful wherever people try to do something together. Note that there are many critics who don’t like these systems.
- RELATED: Six Sigma
I believe that improvement systems only do what they were made to do. They work to block failure, which is a foundation or a shelf. Success is different for everyone, and we need to find that without being dragged down by our failures. Freedom from failure is not success but it’s a great starting point, like a stage set for a play.
And then there is Jesus. Did you know the Bible is a book of project management? Your life is a project, and your family, your church, and this whole new year. People who trust God are supposed to win and not lose.
Jesus came to this planet to do a great thing. A few of His followers met in a room and then went out to change the history of the world, and here we are today. More people identify as followers of Jesus than any other brand or sect or belief. They are number two in only one thing; apparently more people can identify McDonald’s Golden Arches than the Christian cross.
And it started with one carpenter in a place most people can’t find on a map. We know about Bethlehem and Nazareth today only because Jesus made them famous.
So, what about that poor family in Tim Hortons? We know they need food and clothes, and a place to live, but that is not enough. When they rise above their basic needs, I hope they will find something much higher. That is the business of Jesus.
The Bible warned us long ago: “For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 8: 12 to 14).
Freedom from poverty is only a starting point, it is never the conclusion. Imagine a boring retirement near a golf course. We will fail at life unless we know that God has great things for us to do. I hope that the new year will be prosperous for you, but I also hope that you will find some great assignment.
I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29: 10 to 14)