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Affluent Christian Investor | October 21, 2017

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Statue of Pharoah Khafre, Cairo (Photo by Juan R. Lazaro) (CC BY) (Resized/Cropped)

Statue of Pharoah Khafre, Cairo
(Photo by Juan R. Lazaro) (CC BY) (Resized/Cropped)

Recently, I posed a question and asked how many Pharaohs you worked for. Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh to make his assembly line run smoothly, and in return, he gave them very little. He oppressed them and they cried out to God who finally moved on their behalf to set them free.

The problem was that God had taken Israel out of Egypt, but they still had a lot of Egypt left in them. They had been slaves, so they thought like slaves and acted live slaves. When they were set free, they had to trust the Lord for their daily provision. While they lacked nothing, they grumbled and complained because they had no control over their daily lives. They moved when God told them to move, stayed when He said to stay, and waited for the daily provision of manna to show up, at which point they went out to harvest their daily need.

The people soon forgot how bad their bondage had been, and rewrote their history, utilizing selective memory to actually make their past oppression a positive occurrence:

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said,

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

– (Numbers 11:4-6).

That is how It can be with you and me. We complain about our Pharaoh, and as soon as God sets us free, we go and find another Pharaoh in the hope that this one will be kinder and friendlier than the last one. When he isn’t, then we go in search of another.

The problem is that no matter how promising a Pharaoh may look at the beginning and no matter how good his offer is or his working conditions are, he is still Pharaoh, and you are often little more than a means to an end for him. The system needs and wants to use you, and if that means it uses up your energy, creativity, and future in the process, so be it. Israel was willing to trade their freedom for some onions and watermelon, as long as it was in regular supply. Rather than trust the Lord, they wanted to put their trust in Pharaoh, who had already proved to be a cruel taskmaster.

There is nothing wrong with working for a company. Most people do these days. The problem comes in when you begin to see your company as your source of provision. Then you begin to serve the company first and foremost, instead of serving the Lord. When that mindset is present, you feel like you have the last job in the world, that you could not possibly leave or else your supply of onions and watermelon will be lost forever.

You talk yourself out of your dreams with thoughts like,

“You should just be grateful you have a job. There are others who would love to have it. You need to keep it for at least another 14 years until you can retire, and then rely on the government Pharaoh to do what your company Pharaoh is doing now.”

When you think of it, Jesus never recruited anyone to a paid position. He recruited people to follow Him, with a promise that He would be with them wherever they went. There are far more verses about trusting the Lord for your provision than there are about doing a good job for Pharaoh. We have focused on the work verses while often ignoring statements like,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

– (Matthew 6:25-26).

My question to you this week is: Do you have a heart to move forward in God’s purpose for you or a heart to go back to the comfort and security of something you know, even if it sucks the essence of life out of you? It is difficult for me to imagine that it is God’s will for you to be miserable every day in your work. I cannot conceive that God’s plan for you is to look forward to Friday and dread Monday. Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if you have traded the comforts of Pharaoh for the uncertainty of faith, and to consider if the trade has been in your best interest. If not, then maybe it’s time to tell Pharaoh you have had enough, and to tell the Lord you will trust Him for your daily bread. Have a great week!

 

Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.

 

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