All in Contemporary Issues
Readers who are professionally employed will likely have been subjected to a mandatory personality test. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), True Colours, Insights, Belbin Team Roles and most lately, the Enneagram of Personality are all examples of such tests.
The ‘shop window’ of every workplace looks pristine and morally impeccable. Many companies and employers present an image of consummate professionalism; however, behind the polished exterior there are a few skeletons lurking. Since the Bible teaches the depravity of man, we should not be surprised to see corruption and vice in every area of life - workplace included.
Most spheres of employment involve conversation. Unless your job involves total isolation, you’ll have to talk to others – quite a lot. Throughout the course of an average day we can speak to people, formally, socially, assertively, instructively or even charmingly depending on a whole host of different circumstances. In short, we use words all the time.
With videos replacing, photographs, emoji’s replacing words and our society becoming more and more image based, our eyes have never had more time to look at things. All around us people are addicted and distracted to death, constantly glued to small black boxes with HD pixels. What’s everyone looking at? Says the Psalmist - worthless things.
The modern workplace can be a moral minefield for some people, where issues aren’t always black and white, and from time to time we all feel the pressure of compromise pressing in on us. Whether it’s the socialising, the gambling, the gossiping, the complaining, the slandering, the coveting, the jesting or a host of other dubious issues, there are days when we struggle to stay afloat in the moral quagmire of the 21stcentury workplace. The people of God have always faceddifficulties in this sphere, but the word of God can lead us through the murkiest of waters and help us not only to survive but to thrive in our work. Before addressing the specific dilemmas we face, this article will have a cursory glance at the Bible’s theology on work.
Taking away from the word of God constitutes serious error, and we all shudder at the heresies of theological liberalism – going doctrinally askew is something we scrupulously avoid. However, adding to the word of God is equally wrong and equally erroneous (Rev 22:18-19), and one that we should be at pains to eschew. This seemed to be part of the reason why the Pharisees went so wrong; adding to the word of God might have started small and with good intentions, but it quickly spiralled out of control into a convoluted, hypocritical, and legalistic system.
Loneliness has long since known to be hazardous. We all associate with someone who prefers their own company, and from time to time we all favour a period of solitude, whether it be for concentration or meditation. However, it is generally true that human beings are made for companionship, yet, 9 million people in the UK state that they are always or often alone. This illustrates the point: most prefer company, but 1 in 5 is lonely. Our society has all the connectivity it requires and more, and yet the disconnection of loneliness is higher than ever.
Spring is well and truly here in the UK with the clocks springing forward (pun intended) recently and last week reaching tropical highs of 18⁰C. When the sun has got his hat on in Britain; everyone comes out to play.
I wonder what sort of atmosphere characterises your meeting before it begins? In some places it is light chatter that can build up into a cacophony of noise. Often there are cordial smiles and greetings as people take their seats. Every meeting has a few ‘meerkats’ whose necks crane and look around to investigate every new sight or sound that enters the meeting room. Perhaps there are some who struggle to get to the meeting 10 minutes before it begins and thus enter the building flustered and in a jangling of noise. These are often common sights that we’ve all experienced.
This book is like a father putting his arm around the shoulder of his teenage son, ruffling his hair and passing on some timely advice. At the end of the conversation he gives his son a dig in the ribs and tells him to get to work. It reminds me of Paul’s exhortation: “quit you like men” (1Cor. 16:13) - direct but loving
As a young man with a young family, I have grappled with the problem of how to prioritize my responsibilities to myself, my family, and the assembly. I am quite sure I’m not alone in this difficulty. Although he was writing about three thousand years ago in a different cultural setting, the psalmist offers some relevant guidance. The individual is brought to the forefront with the phrase, “every one” (v 1), for what is about to be said must influence each of us.
This is a longer read but well worth the effort. As the author points out, Atheists will argue about ‘evidence’ forever, and no matter how much you produce it will never be enough. But the power of a testimony is irrefutable. After a gospel meeting a few years ago, two atheists told me that although they disagreed with me on a number of points, they could not deny that the people at the church had something that they did not. It made me think of the blind man in John 9; “This is a remarkable thing, that you don’t know where he comes from, and yet he caused me to see” (v 30, NET). If you are a Christian then read this and rejoice; if you are an atheist, read this and reconsider. (The Editor)
The patience of Job has become an idiom reserved for those with exceptional fortitude and self-restraint. As I read Job’s story, I’m not sure what he deserves more credit for; the way in which he persevered under the direct attack of Satan, or the manner in which he tolerated his four unhelpful, uncharitable and self-righteous friends. ‘Miserable sympathisers you are,’ was about as rude as he got.