quick disclaimer: I do not believe my employers are God, nor do I think they’re perfect, nor do I think they’re all powerful. This is just a convenient place to take away some lessons, and these are comparisons, not absolute statements. thank you.
I’ve learned a lot about what it means to depend from my job. For anyone who doesn’t know, I work for/with some friends of mine who own their own coffee shop, and the fact that I am an employee at a small business has taught me some things.
1. God chooses us.
I returned from Boston, Massachusetts late on the night of August 2nd, and went to Purdy’s first thing on Tuesday (the 3rd) to read and hang out. I was extremely homesick and this place was home for me. This was the time they sat me down and talked to me about working with them. The amazing thing about it was that I was chosen, and I didn’t have to ask. God similarly chooses us. Now, the humanity in this lesson is that God doesn’t choose selectively–but in saying that God chooses us I mean that God wants all of humanity without bias or discrimination based on personal characteristics. I also feel I should make it a point–they could ask me and choose me all they wanted, but at some point I had to accept the job. In the same manner, we have to believe.
2. Make your requests known to God.
One of my favorite things about working at a coffee shop is that you make minimum wage (at least) but you also get tips. These are helpful for things like gas, eating out, or that CD I wanted that I couldn’t budget for. Sometimes though, it becomes an emergency, and I need tips desperately. I HATE asking for things, but I also know that if I ask for my boss to distribute tips (since there’s not really a set time to do it,) she will. I don’t know if she hates it when I ask, but the point here is that I know I can ask, and (usually) not be rejected by her. God is a more perfect provider in that we can ask Him for the things we need (again, this illustration isn’t perfect, don’t get the idea that I think God gives us tips because we earned them!) and He is going to hear us and provide for us without rejecting us. Also, His supply is limitless–it doesn’t depend on whether or not there are resources available, because they always are.
3. God empowers believers.
At first, it was difficult for me to take up initiative because so many of the customers were accustomed to my bosses, who were the only ones who usually worked. But eventually, they got used to me, and I’ve gotten used to them (mostly) and I am empowered by my bosses to take care of the front while they do other things. In a similar fashion, God gave us a commission to rule over and subdue the earth. God doesn’t have to hold our hand through all of it (although He does watch over us, and He will help us) but empowers His kids (not employees) to live on the earth.
4. God’s not looking over our shoulders.
This might be the hardest one for me. I’m used to having far more structured employers–more supervision, more lists, more tasks, etc. However, things are pretty loose at Purdy’s. By and large, as long as I am not leaving things in a state that is going to make things inconvenient later (either for myself or for others) I can relax in down time, even read a book and work on homework when it’s slow. This is a huge blessing. God isn’t looking over our shoulders. Guess what? We can do whatever we want! Not all things are lawful, so just like it’s not a good idea for me to leave the portafilters without cleaning them in the machine, it’s not a good idea for me to go have sex before I get married, but I think you get the idea. Some things are good ideas, some things are not, and all things are accessible. Crazy.
5. God trusts us.
This one piggybacks the last one. I truly believe that God trusts His kids–mostly because He has given them a new nature and He knows what we’re like now–just like my employers trust me not to screw up the shop. They know me well enough to know that I’m going to do everything I can think of (and remember) to make sure the store’s running smoothly. God has given us a new heart, and He knows Himself, and if we’re like Him, then God can trust us to (most of the time, given our new nature) want what He wants.
6. We can ask for help.
Please hear me clearly: God doesn’t leave us on our own and EXPECT us to do good, at least I don’t believe so. God knows we’ll screw up. there’s a sin nature that we have to fight day in and day out until Jesus comes back, but the beautiful thing is that we can ask for help! I have to ask my bosses for help all of the time: to make sure I’m not forgetting things, or to make sure I’m going about things the right way. They don’t beat me or hate me for it (at least I don’t think so.) We can ask God for help.
7. God is a friend, not an employer.
At the end of the day, I go home saying, “see you tomorrow, friend.” I chat with my bosses and have a great time with them. Honestly, I’m still learning this about them, but I know God is a friend, and not a boss, for all the reasons listed above. My employers have entrusted and trained me to help with their business, and God has entrusted me and trained me to help make disciples and rule over/subdue the earth. It’s a fantastic reality that God is a friend, not a boss.