One of the great things pastors have the opportunity to do is meet new people on a weekly basis that are guests at their church. I've got a shepherd's heart, and it's one of the things I look forward to on Sunday's.
One trend I've noticed over the past year or so (at least at ), is that Menomonee Falls is drawing a very diverse host of young, professional singles and couples from all different areas of the city, and even other states. So at the encouragement of some friends who are businessmen both inside and outside of our church, I joined the Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce last year... it was one of those quality decisions that I've never regretted.
I love being around people, especially those with an entreprenuerial spirit. They're people who see what others see, the way things are, yet see beyond that to the way things could be. People who see a need, and do something creative and courageous to meet that need. Rod and Michelle Zimmerman are people like this.
They've recently relocated from a different part of the state to purchase an existing restaurant here in the Falls. Camille's Cafe' has now become "Ally's Bistro" and has officially opened their doors to the hungry people of this area.
This past Wednesday, I had breakfast with Rod as well as 50 others like him at the Area Business Leaders Exchange otherwise known as A.B.L.E. It's a gathering of this some of this region's finest community-minded business men and women you'll find anywhere.
These are people who are pushing forward in an economy that's definitely pushing back! The men and women that comprise A.B.L.E. north meet regularly to connect business leaders and promote networking. What I enjoy most is the connection and encouragement that takes place every time there's a gathering. It's a microcosm of what makes our nation so great - the belief that commitment and hard work are meaningful and important, both to us as individuals, as well as our communities.
Connection, exchange, hard work, and networking are all Kingdom principles that produce synergy and change things. Best of all, they're rewarding. Let's center in on something that's a reality for most of us. Work. For many, work is a four-letter word that at best is an exchange of hours for dollars, and at worst, something they're sentenced to. They believe it's a product of sin and therefore dread the thought of having to spend one more minute at it than is absolutely necessary. It's become a "necessary evil" that's to be endured.
What most are unaware of though, is that the concept of work and productivity come to us from before the Fall of man in the Garden. We read in Genesis 2:15 that: "The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it."
Work and creativity, as well as the ability to tend, care, and receive the reward that comes with it is an expression of God's character. It was always meant to be fulfilling, rewarding, and even challenging. Yes, I know sin brought about the sweat, toil, thorns, and dirt part (Genesis 3:18-20) but here's a thought: If work is unfulfilling and a drudgery for you, it may be a sign that God has not "placed you in it."
Just as God placed man in the Garden, I believe He also places us in just the right work situation or business opportunity when we consult Him on the decision. I understand that in a difficult economy, we sometimes have to do things and be places we don't want to be in order to make ends meet. Those are and should be considered temporary situations. When we're thinking long-term about our lives, it's important to ask ourselves, "What am I passionate about?" What do I have a burn for and what do I really enjoy doing?" The answers to those questions are often the key to opening doors of opportunities in new directions. Laid off? Company closed it's doors? God's got something better for you just ahead!
Your God-given creativity may bring about an idea at your job that moves your company into a greater realm of safety or productivity. It may even be the beginning seed of starting your own business someday. I really believe that if we'll go back to the "root" in the Garden, that work is a blessing, we'll experience the "fruit" in our lives now. Pastor Mike, does finding that "dream job" end all frustration, all drudgery, and all lack of fulfillment? Does starting my own company and being the boss assure me of a stress free life? Absolutely not! What is does do though is enable us to make a difference in a field we care about, help us to bridge those days when nothing seems to go right, and enable us to enjoy the reward of our labor. Ultimately, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.