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For the last eight years my wife and I have worked in an office right down the street from my church. It was really handy to be available to the people who would drop in or to call if they had a need. We rarely took a day off, and I realize now that besides an income my job provided structure and focus.
You would think that being laid off would yield a lot of free time, at least I thought that being laid off would yield a lot of free time. Wrong again. Since the home office decided my wife and I were redundant, we have had the time to actually take one ride in the country. That is it. Where did all the time go?
Learning about being bi-vocational is a continuing process. Today’s lesson is that a bi-vocational preacher who is laid off still has a vocation, and in fact one that will swell to fill some of the void of a 40 hour week job that is no more. Men and women often define themselves by occupation , and I have seen people devastated by job loss. It is a gift to me that when asked, “What do you do?” I still have an answer. ” I pastor a church called Dayspring.” Every time I say that, I hope God does not lay me off.
The week after my corporate lay off I shared a fear from the pulpit. I shared that often in my mind an image appears,[ perhaps taken from the Robert Duvall movie, The Apostle], of the ‘Pastor Police ‘ showing up at Dayspring and taking me away in cuffs, apologizing to the people for the affront dealt them by being subjected to my rantings. For a sinner like me to have the honor of speaking the Mysteries of Christ, the Love of God, and His redemptive plan, seems totally outlandish. Should this Holy calling not be reserved for a Nazarene? Some one kept pure from birth, no fermented products, somehow dedicated to the servicew of god from childhood, a modern day Levite? How can it be that a man who has waded so deep in sin is chosen to preach and teach the Gospel? There is only one answer, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”“
So I am bi- unemployed. It seems to please God to continue to allow me the privilege of loving His people and feeding His flock. Part of that responsibility and privilege is to support my family with a new job. I have no doubt He will provide, and no doubt a change was due.
When the job left so did my pattern of life, my schedule, my habits. The systems that had developed for sermon prep, study , even prayer were all affected by the lack of schedule. It is taking me a while to adapt. So my blog-cation is over, my “shock of change” , diminishing. It is time to learn to use the hours of the day in a new way.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Time to put things in focus.
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