Tag Archives: work

Dependence and Charity

The stated goal of many charities is to encourage independence of families or the individual. The entire operation, if properly aligned, is to help the person and those they support to no longer become dependent on some other entity – in most cases that means they organization specifically does not want the person to remain dependent on them.

For Christians, however, especially those aware of the Eternal Revolution and our daily battles with the world, we cannot say our charity work or acts of charity are geared towards the independence of those we serve. When we do what we can to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of others we want them to find dependence on God, not on themselves. To be reliant on oneself is to act out of pride.

Charity, as a virtue, ought to always desire to love others as God loves them. We do not want others dependent on destructive influences like drugs, alcohol, or debt. But nor do we want them to see themselves as dependent on their own selves. This can be as simple as directing their expressions of thanks to God, and not to our organizations or our own efforts. It is good for any child of God to recognize His hand behind the hands that help them, and it ought to be their goal to always be dependent on His Charity.

It is not a bad thing that people need help from charities. Charities, especially Christian charities, ought to exist as organizations that do works of charity – that is love. And as Christians we desire that people put their trust, their hope, and their dependence on the love of God. To desire them to be independent of that would in fact be a terrible and uncharitable thing to wish upon another person.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 6, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

All For the Glory of God

“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

As Christians, we hear the instruction to do everything for, or to, the Glory of God. But what does it actually look like when we do things for His glory, and not our own?

The story of Gideon is a great example of this. The odds were against Gideon’s 32,000  Israelite soldiers from the start, facing the combined Midianites and Amelekites that were too numerous to count. However, even those odds were too humanly possible. God had Gideon challenge and test the men until just 300 remained. Unlike the famous Spartans, these 300 had no allies but God alone.

When instructing Gideon to reduce his fighting force, God’s reason was this: “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ ” When something is to be done for God’s glory, it should be done without personal pride in the accomplishment, and without taking credit for it.

This doesn’t just apply to sports stars and performance artists. It doesn’t just apply to public victory and celebration. It is supposed to apply to everything we do.

Why does it seem that the biggest miracles have all happened in the past? Perhaps we have grown too confident – not just in our own abilities, but in knowing what is possible and impossible. But God is in the impossible tasks He sets before us.

If we set out to do something we know is possible, and achieve it, how have we shown the glory and power of God in that achievement? But if we set out to do what is necessary, against odds that are obviously impossible – then the success can truly be a witness to God’s presence and majesty.

 

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 6, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

The Career Father

My adventures as a freelancer have brought me back to the place ‘between clients.’ The point where we trust God’s providence for our daily bread fully – as we ought to always – because efforts at the moment feel particularly in vain. Apparently this was something I was to consider this Lenten season. 

I can’t say I have much of a career that can be defined as a pattern of work. I’ve worked in IT, management, retail management, government jobs, and so forth. Even ‘award-winning board game designer’ is in there now. There is no particular pattern that I can use to define myself by my work. Except maybe writing, which as a communication medium just seems necessary in every job, and sometimes it is part of the title.

I did not set out to define myself this way, but I guess my career is my family. I’m a career husband and father. The job is always second, which might irk some employers, but my loyalty lies at home.

There’s a passage from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series – from the book Xenocide to be exact, that explains it much more poetically than I could. It is a piece of an interview between Ender’s  sister, Valentine, and his stepson Olhando.

“I saw what Andrew (Ender) did in our family. I saw that he came in and listened and watched and understood who we were, each individual one of us. He tried to discover our need and then supply it. He took responsibility for other people and it didn’t seem to matter to him how much it cost him. And in the end, while he could never make the Ribeira family normal, he gave us peace and pride and identity. Stability. He married Mother and was kind to her. He loved us all. He was always there when we wanted him, and seemed unhurt by it when we didn’t. He was firm with us about expecting civilized behavior, but never indulged his whims at our expense. And I thought: This is so much more important than science. Or politics, either. Or any particular profession or accomplishment or thing you can make. I thought: If I could just make a good family, if I could just learn to be to other children, their whole lives, what Andrew was, coming so late into ours, then that would mean more in the long run, it would be a finer accomplishment than anything I could ever do with my mind or hands.”

“So you’re a career father,” said Valentine.

“Who works at a brick factory to feed and clothe the family. Not a brick-maker who also has kids. Lini also feels the same way… She followed her own road to the same place. We do what we must to earn our place in the community, but we live for the hours at home. For each other, for the children.”

I’m not the provider for my family. That is ultimately God’s job for all of us. I do the work I must, and one way or another we have what we need. If I did define myself by my ability to provide, that would be depressing. Not only in the dry spells but even in the glory of accomplishment; for no matter what I may write, or do with my life it will be nothing compared to what I can be for my children.

I’ve sort of stumbled into this path, but if more of us chose it from the outset, it would change the world.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 6, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.