Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's Not My Job

Have you ever been asked to do something that was not your job? It happens in the workplace, in the home, at church and in all kind of settings. Our first reaction is to be ticked off. When we know that someone else needs to be responsible for something and we get their load, a grunt or groan slides off our lips or out of our hearts. Rarely do we take on someone else's work load to make ours unmanageable. Notice I said rarely. Occasionally we take on a job that does not belong to us and really has been designated as "off limits." The task we assign ourselves belongs to the creator of the job. So just what would that job be????
Isaiah 63:4 and Romans 12:19 tell us that a job that only belongs to it's creator is revenge. Both verses say the same thing, "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." Since the beginning of time man has assigned himself this task that truly makes life unmanageable, unbearable, unfulfilling, unloving, and all the other "uns" you can think of.
In Genesis 34 Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped by a man who tries to declare his love for her and then asks for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers are outraged and carry out an evil plan of vengeance not only to her perpetrator but his whole village as well. They slaughter every male in the city. What an awful job to undertake. They never asked their father or their Father God what they should do about the situation. They believed the vengeance belonged to them and allowed evil thoughts to be turned into evil actions. The word vengeance comes from the Hebrew word naqam, meaning "to entertain revengeful feelings." That is what happened to Dinah's brothers and it happens to us today. We entertain revengeful feelings and we can get so worked up that we justify carrying out a job that only belongs to God. We take on His workload.
Several weeks ago I was hurt and angry at someone. I was doing naqam- entertaining revengeful feelings. Unfortunately I was "naqaming" while going through the self checkout line at the grocery store. I was thinking and planning of ways to get back at the person who had wronged me. After scanning my goods and placing them in the bag I headed out to my car. About the time I cranked up the engine I heard a knock on my car window. It was the woman manning the self checkout line who informed me that I walked out without paying for my groceries. I was mortified! I was trying to do two jobs at once and it about undid me. After running at breakneck speed to pay for my groceries I came back to my car and begged for God's forgiveness. I left the person who hurt me in the hands of God. Max Lucado says it best with these two quotes,"Vengeance fixes your attention on life's ugliest moments," and "Score settling freezes your stare at cruel events of the past." I do not want to take on either of those jobs!