Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 99; 147:1-11, Ezekiel 11:14-25, Hebrews 7:1-17, Luke 10:17-24
Tech companies like Google and Facebook are well known for providing their employees remarkable perks. From free unlimited beverages, to massages, laundry, on-site medical staff and shopping malls, they offer services that help attract and retain talent. These seem like great benefits for employees, but in the long run they benefit the company by creating an environment that minimizes the need to leave work – ever. In an unspoken agreement, employees are expected to pay for these luxuries with time away from home and family (if they can find time to have one).
Jesus warned his disciples not to be seduced or distracted by perks. When they returned from spreading his ministry far afield, they were joyful to have discovered that even demons submitted to them in his name. Jesus told them they could walk unharmed among snakes and scorpions and all manner of powers of the enemy, but not to rejoice in these things, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In the end, we love God and Jesus not because of any special treatment or abilities they may give us, but because they love and forgive us. That alone is enough reason for our loyalty, worship, and praise. If the scorpion stings with the venom of ill health, poor finances, or grief, our Lord and Savior have not abandoned us. If all the perks are stripped away, the center and purpose of our faith remains strong. In the corporate world perks and loyalty depend on finances and performance; when things get tough, employees may find themselves burned out or downsized. Our God, ever true, sustains us through difficulty and asks us to lay our burdens before the cross. When the perks disappear, God is more appealing, not less.
There’s a reason true spiritual leaders embrace humility and simplicity: these practices, devoid of perks, remove distractions and barriers between us and our God. The more we think God is supposed to do for us, the less we understand what it is we are meant to be for God. We already have every reason in the world to rejoice.
Comfort: God is with you, always.
Challenge: Ask yourself if you are expecting things from God that you shouldn’t.
Prayer: Faithful and Loving God, thank you for letting me rest in your presence. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever found a job more meaningful because of the perks?
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