Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Secular Versus Sacred

A lady who was waiting to catch a plane at an airport decided to buy herself some cookies and eat them while she was waiting. She bought the small package of cookies and sat at a table where a gentleman was already sitting.  She opened the package and began to eat and read her newspaper. She then heard the sound of cellophane rustling. She looked in unbelief at the man seated at her table who had just helped himself to her cookies. She quietly drew the package closer to her and pulled out another cookie for herself. She heard the noise one more time. This time the man had pulled out the last cookie and broke it into two and left the other half. She heard her flight number so she made her way to the plane. When she arrived at the gate, she reached into her purse to pull out her ticket and found her package of cookies that had never been opened. Somewhere there was a man in that airport thinking about a very strange lady. 

An elderly lady found four men in her car as she came out from the grocery store. She pulled a gun out and said, “Get out of my car because I have a gun and I know how to use it.” They did, and she put her bags in the back and proceeded to put her keys in the ignition, but they didn’t fit. She had confused this car with her car, which was on the next row. She loaded the bags in her car and drove to the police station to tell her story and found there were four men there telling a story about an old lady who had just hijacked their car.

It is absolutely amazing sometimes how often we think we are right when we are not. We are capable of much worse than these two ladies when it comes to people. We definitely all need help to build relationships with the people in our lives. We need to know how to treat people and how to conduct ourselves and how to regulate our own emotions. Our integrity and character shows up most in our relationships.

One of the greatest traps we all fall into is thinking there are two separate realms of secular and sacred. Sunday mornings are sacred because we are in his house worshiping God, but Monday mornings are secular because we are at our jobs just doing work. This is a fallacy because every moment of everyday is sacred to God. Paul wrote these words about how sacred every day is: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17). The truth is, having a meaningful conversation with your wife or husband is just as sacred as being in a worship service. It is not either/or, it’s everything, Whatever you do…do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Howard Hendricks, in a collaborative book entitled Life of Integrity, tells this powerful story that demonstrates the importance of seeing every moment as sacred to the Lord:

I was flying out of Boston recently. The crew boarded the passengers and then got word that we’d have to get off because there was “a slight mechanical problem.” So we all got off the plane, and they said, “In fifteen minutes you’ll receive further information.” You know how to tell the experienced travelers from the amateurs? The amateurs believe the public announcements. It was six hours before the plane finally took off for Dallas. The passengers were angry and impatient. And, as always happens, free drinks were freely offered. Well, there was a guy sitting across the aisle from me hotter than a hornet, and every time a flight attendant walked down the aisle, he would give her a portion of his mind he very obviously couldn’t afford to lose. I thought, “The poor gal.” So after a while I walked back to the galley and talked to her. I said, “You know, I’m a frequent flyer, and I’m always looking for somebody doing a good job. American Airlines should be proud to have you on the team. I cannot believe how nicely you handled this obnoxious character sitting across from me.” She smiled and said, “Thank you very much.” Then I asked, “Could I have your name? I would like to write the company and tell them how much I appreciate you.” “Oh,” she said, “I wouldn’t. You need to know that I don’t work for American Airlines.” “Oh, really?” “No, I represent the Lord Jesus Christ.” So I picked myself up off the floor, and we had a delightful conversation. How would you like to have someone like that working for you? That’s what we need in America. Don’t give me jazz about foreign countries being able to beat us. They’re not beating us. We are defeating ourselves. We need a larger corps of guys who are men of integrity, who will penetrate the companies of the United States. When I was talking on this subject some time ago, a dear guy came up, pulled out his handkerchief, and started blubbering. When I asked him what was the matter, he said, “I’m the only Christian in my company.” “You gotta be kidding!” “Nope,” he replied. “Just me.” “You mean to tell me you’re the only believer in your whole organization?” “That’s right.” “Wow,” I said to him. “Do you mean to tell me that God Almighty entrusted that entire outfit to you?” Stop feeling sorry for yourself if you’re the only believer on the block or in the tennis and health club. God has sovereignly placed you there as His representative of integrity.[i]

[i] Hendricks, Dr Howard (2011-04-06). LIFE OF INTEGRITY, A (Kindle Locations 2276-2302). Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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