Genesis 3:17b-19a (KJV): “Cursed is the
ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the
herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou
return unto the ground…”
COMMENTARY: If you read
verses 1-24 in this chapter, you’ll discover why we live in such a
dysfunctional, messed-up world. Adam and Eve were originally “born”
into a perfect environment. However, they deliberately chose to disobey their
perfect and righteous Creator, and they had to pay the penalty for their sin.
The whole world then came under the curse of sin, and remains under the curse
to this day.
APPLICATION: Do you ever
have frustrating moments at work due to delays, glitches, curveballs,
unexpected problems and crises? Join the club! We all do!
Business owners must be diligent about all areas
of the business: Planning. Research and development. Sales and marketing. Production.
Distribution. Human resources. Finance and administration. Facilities.
Of course, they cannot handle all of these
alone. They rely on staff, suppliers, government agencies and customers to do
what they’re supposed to do.
Strive as we may for perfection, “stuff
happens.” If you are going through a particularly frustrating time at work
today, remember that “this too shall pass.” There is an ebb
and flow to problems. God never allows more to happen in our lives than what He
equips us to handle, through His Word and His Spirit. We can learn to handle
frustrating moments with more grace, humility, self-control, maturity and
wisdom if we let Him teach us and flow through us more freely.
Acts 1:21-26 (KJV): “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
COMMENTARY: Anyone searching for, applying for, and interviewing for a job
knows the risk of being considered a candidate. There is always a significant
possibility that you will not be selected. You may be an upright, competent,
qualified, gifted and experienced person who could fill the position, but for
one reason or another, you are not selected.
This happens in all work environments: businesses, non-profits,
governments and even churches. (Just talk to any candidate who has not been
selected for a particular pastor position.)
A similar situation can arise when you or your firm are not selected
as a supplier by a prospective or existing customer.
How you handle not being selected speaks volumes about your
perspective, attitude, humility, view of yourself and others, and your need to
“control.” In this passage of Scripture, the original disciples had
to select a replacement for Judas. Two highly qualified candidates were considered:
Joseph and Matthias. The differential between the two men was so slight, that
after much prayer and discernment, they still could not decide. They ended up
casting lots, which was a 50-50 possibility for both candidates. That’s how
“equal” the two candidates were.
After casting lots, Matthias was selected and Joseph was not. We don’t
know much about the rest of their lives, but it appears that both men were
faithful until the end. Nowhere in Scripture or other historic documents is
there a hint of discontent, disagreement, rumbling, resentment or retribution
on the part of Joseph.
Think of the example of John Mark in the Book of Acts, chapter 15.
Paul didn’t select John Mark for his next missionary journey. Instead, Barnabas
took John Mark with him to Cyprus. The reality was, there was plenty of
missionary work to be done. As time went by and John Mark demonstrated his
faithfulness, Paul’s heart softened. Paul requested John Mark to join him in 2
Timothy 4. The story had a happy ending.
Now think of Saul. When he realized that he had been disqualified
as king, and that David was anointed to become the new king, Saul had a temper
tantrum and was filled with bitterness, envy, jealousy and hatred. It was very
ugly, and the story has a very bad ending.
APPLICATION: When you are not selected in any kind of job situation, be it
paid or volunteer, it is natural for your pride to be wounded and for you to
experience an initial flood of negative feelings and thoughts. You may feel
disappointed, discouraged, rejected, misunderstood, hurt, mistreated or
Now comes the defining moment. You have the freewill to respond in
many ways. You can let those negative feelings and thoughts become a root of
bitterness that festers and grows. Or, you can maintain your self-control, face
the reality that you weren’t selected, and move on.
It’s not wise
to drag things out, create a fuss, and escalate the situation into an ugly
battle that can hurt yourself, others, and your testimony for Jesus. Obviously,
God has other plans for your journey, or the timing may be off. You may indeed
be selected, but just not “now.” In any case, the future isn’t yours
to know or control. Trust God and keep running the race that’s set before
For Further Exploration
For further exploration
about Proverbs 25:19 (KJV), read Proverbs and Work from
the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.