Compelled to be grateful

5 Jan

For the past several months, the non-profit ministry I work at, Dare 2 Share Ministries, has been struggling financially. We’ve watched our donations and conference registrations significantly go down…and stay down. To stay afloat, we stopped buying kitchen supplies, eliminated 2 conference cities, permanently cut the not-absolutely-necessary spending from our budget, and prayed earnestly for God to provide for our ministry. In the course of 6 months, about 12 people left on their own accord to pursue other opportunities, which, by God’s grace, prevented today’s events from happening any sooner

But the lagging economy and lack of donations caught up with us…4 people were laid off today. They determined it according to which jobs could be absorbed the easiest.

I can’t help but thinking that my job would be eliminated if I weren’t the only full-time person left in the Marketing dept (besides our web guy, but he just does web). As I sat there thinking about how it would feel to have the rug pulled out from under you like this, to have a family to support, to try to find a job in this economy, I felt amazingly grateful and relieved that I still have my job. Then the guilt set in: how can I sit at my desk, not doing work (because there isn’t any!), when 4 people from the ministry no longer have a job? How can I do that?

I can’t. I have to find work to do and be productive with my time. It’s frustrating at time because I think of the things that I could change or create or do and then realize that I’d have to get approval, jump through hoops, sign paperwork, etc just to make it happen. I feel trapped at times, like I can’t make any professional decisions without asking permission from my superior. But such is life and that can’t be my excuse keeping me from working as if I’m working for the Lord and not for man.

As my team and I were praying this morning for those who were laid off, I pondered my surge of gratitude and how it illustrates the gospel. I really feel like I don’t deserve to keep my job; I don’t feel like I’ve been “earning my keep” so to speak. So I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to still have it–like I’ve been spared something awful. It puts into sharp clarity the kind of gratitude I should constantly feel as a result of the gospel. All of my words and deeds were setting me up for an eternity in hell–that was what I deserved. Instead, I received eternal life through absolutely no accomplishment or merit of my own. I have been ultimately spared. And just as I feel my gratitude at still having a job overflow into a desire to be productive and useful, so should my gratitude at being spared from hell overflow into a desire to make my life meaningful and to live it for Jesus and what brings Him glory.

I love seeing everyday events frame the gospel in an eye-opening way. My heart grows so insensitive and cold to the amazing truth of the gospel that I become cynical and unbelieving. I ask “Why should this matter to me?” instead of “Why would God choose me?” I am humbled. I am blessed. And I feel like God has proverbially hit me on the nose and told me to pay attention to what has been so graciously and undeservedly given to me. Thanks for the wakeup call God.

One Response to “Compelled to be grateful”

  1. unexpectedthankyou January 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I love the blog you wrote today. Very encouraging.

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