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Don’t Expect God to Do Your Grunt Work

February 3, 2012

I was privy to a conversation involving a mentor and his coaching subject, a mid-level manager. They had been discussing the manager’s future – moving up the ladder, making the next career move, and the like.

When asked about his plan of attack for pursuing the opportunities before him, the manager, an earnest and devout Christian, boldly replied, “I am leaving it up to the Lord. If I am meant to be promoted, then I’m sure God will step in and make a way.”

The mentor, who happened to be a former pastor-turned leadership coach, responded with a vehement expression of disagreement – a word which I will refrain from saying here, but which refers to bovine excrement.

“You are completely deluded if you think you can just sit here passively and expect God to do all the grunt work for you,” he said.

God has this funny way of using us as co-conspirators in His plans.

If you have been gifted with leadership skills, blessed with a dream or desire to do or become more than what you are right now, then you’ve got to do your part. And that usually involves some heavy lifting.

Anything that’s grand, or beautiful, or world-changing is going to require action and intentionality, some sweat and perserverance, some getting knocked down and bloody lips. God doesn’t deserve to be short-shrifted by our passive theology.

It only works if we participate.

And sometimes a good swift kick in the ass from a pastor friend was just what the good Lord had in mind.

Photo thanks to Nance.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 7:13 am

    A hearty “Amen” to this one.

  2. February 3, 2012 7:19 am

    Awesome Bradley! You could be a Christian counselor! Just what God’s people need to hear.

  3. February 3, 2012 8:11 am

    I agree with Suemiley. No passive theology here!

  4. Phil permalink
    February 3, 2012 8:55 am

    Here, here Bradley. I once served on a busy church membership committee with a lovely friend who would often comment that I should not worry about all the small details, that “God will provide.” It used to burn me up when we overlooked these things and events would be less-than-ideal because of it. Maybe I am more of a “God helps those who help themselves” kind of person…or perhaps I need a bit more help with my faith?

    PS: Creepy photo. I can make out skin, teeth, and a condiment dish? Not making the connection with the topic. Can you shed some light?

  5. February 3, 2012 10:00 am

    That’s exactly what most of us need from time to time. A well timed, well placed, swift kick from the right person IS “God stepping in to make a way.”

  6. February 3, 2012 1:36 pm

    Joseph stored up food in Egypt to ride out the famine. The Israelites battled to take Canaan. Nehemiah built back the walls of Jerusalem. Joseph fled to protect his family from Herod. Paul went through trials and persecutions to plant churches.

    The Bible is full of people who had to work hard. I don’t know why we sometimes think that God and hard work are opposites.

  7. February 3, 2012 5:51 pm

    Enlightening word from a professional…

    (I hhave linked your blog url on my blog roll, and I sincerely ope you don’t mind)

  8. February 3, 2012 7:54 pm

    Smiling here, Brad…such a good “word”.

  9. February 3, 2012 10:08 pm

    Right on, bro. And your commenters are chimin’ in with some sound words, too. We are never told to wait passively, but to work for the coming of the kingdom – whatever that may look like in our own setting. Not sure the expletive was necessary, but I’m sure it got the guy’s attention. Preach it!

  10. February 3, 2012 11:50 pm

    i think that it is both…in that, number one, if it’s God’s plans, he makes a way, and number two, a person must pay attention to God’s voice and get up and move in that direction.

    what i have found in pursuit of a goal, the very fine line is between doing something in God, ‘or’ doing something our self.

    a pursuing must take place in the way that God makes for us. the real work is in listening for what that way is and then obeying. Yes, God makes the plans, and we listen like mad and continue in what we are led to do. We can go on ahead of God and make a bunch of plans, no problem, but, we need to put it down in pencil and keep an eraser handy.

    bj, you know some of these times; you know… how they feel, and how they speak to the heart. i know that you listen and watch, and i’m sire there have been times that you have had to make hard decisions because of it.

    there is the work that must be done, but it must be done while listening. listening is not passive, patience is not passive, waiting is not passive, and moving when you are being told to is not passive. one can not be passive when continually watching and listening for God’s word. Yes. God does make ways, but we must be looking where we step as we go so that we can know that it truly ‘is’ God’s way. one can not afford to be passive about their relationship with God.

    • February 4, 2012 7:25 am

      Nance, I agree there is a time and place for quiet and listening and waiting. Sometimes that is more important than action. THis is all part of the cycle of things in our lives. But the guy I’m referring to here was taking things more from a passive theology overall, not expecting that he had to do anything that would push him out of his comfort zone or to propel him forward. Maybe he was satisfied without expecting more from himself, but I think God generally has more in store for us than we are willing to accept.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

      • February 4, 2012 11:17 am

        i know what you’re saying… and i posted more thoughts.

  11. February 4, 2012 10:57 am

    I’ve eliminated the perjorative phrase from my vocabulary because I think it’s hurtful and mean, but I’m going to wince and type it here because I think it ties in to the mindset you descsribe:

    Welfare Christian.

    (Which has nothing to do with relying upon state aid, but everything to do with expecting that one may simply sit and provision will flow down….)

  12. February 5, 2012 2:13 pm

    What a great reminder. I think a lot for Christians are waiting on God when God is telling them to go and produce.

  13. February 6, 2012 8:01 pm

    I try and apply this to all aspects of my life. Thanks Bradley! Maybe we should do an interview with you for our new satellite blog off of Z-comosition Magazine…some writing related post would work…when you have time for us Zombies…

  14. February 7, 2012 9:28 pm

    Rats, I was coming by tonight for an easy read. This one made me think!

  15. February 17, 2012 9:18 pm

    How refreshing to have someone step up and say that we have a responsibility to ourselves to use our God given talents a go after that job or whatever we are searching for and elevate ourselves up the personal ladder of life.

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