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Articles

Always Something

A phrase that I've found myself thinking and uttering quite often the past several months is "It's Always Something." I made a career move about a year ago by going into management after over 20 years as an independent field agent. Management has stress and pressures that are both interesting and challenging. As one who likes to plan and function with precise organization, I am having to adapt to continuous adjustments in my daily schedule. Invariably, things just come up that alter the plans I had made. While sometimes frustrated, I am learning that flexibility and quick decision-making are necessary traits of a successful manager. It's easy to allow priorities to shift and slip while being pulled in fifty different directions by various tasks and demands vying for my time and attention. At work I can, seemingly, do things I don't want to do, don't like to do and don't think are necessarily important, because I know I am required to perform to keep my job. Priorities are kept in focus and I work hard to please both my superiors and my subordinants.

At home, it's a little less clear how well I've dealt with life's surprises, glitches and problems. I know I'm supposed to love my spouse as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). But there have been times when I've neglected her, treated her unfairly or downplayed her ideas and needs. There have, also, been occasions when I've been inconsistent in the handling of our children, being overly critical or showing a lack of concern and attention. I admit to the need for better focus and an improvement in my ability to deal with the "little somethings" that always come up at home. Overall, however, I believe we have a successful marriage and a good family environment.

Spiritually, I am like the stock market. There are days when I think of the church and my faith almost continually and others when a quick prayer at the dinner table is the only attention given to God the entire day. Most of the time I'm somewhere in between, depending on the "things" that are going on in my life. I can organize the monthly duty roster, prepare and teach a Bible class, say a prayer in assembly and even put together a sermon when asked. The appearance of Christianity is there for all to see. But when I look in the mirror and examine my faith, I see many weaknesses and lots of excuses. I willingly do those things that come easy or require little effort, considering my personal abilities. But I rationalize around becoming more well-rounded (spiritually speaking) and growing into the complete man of God I am supposed to become. I don't shun unpleasant responsibilities at work. While not as good a husband/father as I'd like to be, I don't really procrastinate or avoid too much at home either. Why, then, do I do so when it comes to the church?

I submit that when I - when we - fail to fulfill ALL our duties as Christians, it is because we do not trust God as we should and have not completely submitted ourselves to His divine will. Jesus said, "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Paul thanked Christ, who strengthened him, because He considered him faithful, putting him into service (I Tim. 1:12). The more faithful we are, the more we trust in the Lord and the more strength we will be given to do those things that are difficult or uncomfortable. I have been a Christian for 5 years and have a long way to go. I can't become complacent, resting on my conversion and meager accomplishments to carry me to eternal life with God. I am required, as we all are, to resist those tempting "things" that come up regularly that would hinder us or even knock us off the narrow path leading to the crown of life. Church-Home-Job should be our priorities in life, not Job-Home-Church, or any other set of priorities that would move God from the #1 position. We make and adjust priorities every day of our lives and have to adapt as interferences impose themselves upon us. But we must never lose focus on heaven, on faith, on God and on our real reason for being here on earth. If we do, those "Always Somethings" will carry us down that wide road leading to eternal damnation.