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THE CHRISTIAN WORK ETHIC NEWSLETTER
There is a well known African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., that often resonates in my heart. It dates back to at least 1865 and has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers.
“Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.”
The central message is that Jesus has come to this earth to save souls from eternal destruction and pain. In other words, the message in our minds should not be limited to a baby who has been born of a virgin.
But, as we apply this song to our lives, I ask.....
Where is the mountain?
Praise God that as you read this newsletter, I am able for you to join me as I go to the top of the mountain.
During my travels to Kenya in 2016, where I would speak to a pastors’ conference, when we landed in Nairobi on a Monday evening, I admit I was somewhat apprehensive since terrorists had bombed that place several years earlier.
Upon leaving the plane, I found myself at the back of a long line where each passenger had to show his or her passport. The line was moving at a snail's pace. I was not speaking to anyone….just looking at my watch because I needed to get into the hotel as soon as possible because I would need to arise early to continue my travels to Eldoret. I had already been awake for more than twenty four hours.
All of a sudden, an armed guard came over to me and I will never forget what he said: “Sir you need to come with me”. He read my facial expression of fear and he suddenly smiled and said, “It’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok. Come with me”. I was the only passenger taken out of the line….the only one. We walked into an office where there was a gentleman sitting at a desk. The guard said, “Check his passport”. In just a few moments, I was being transported to the hotel.
Sometimes God has strange ways in speaking to us. And, I got the message: I AM WITH YOU!
When I reached Eldoret the next day, I had landed on the mountain.
The mountain? .......but what kind of a mountain.
It is anywhere in this world, whether in our backyard or in a restaurant……anywhere we can testify about a loving God who is taking care of us and what He has done for us including the tremendous sacrifice His son made when He took our place on the cross!
One of the joys of being in the Christian nation of Kenya was that I could tell so many about God’s intervention at that airport. Because of so much suffering in an undeveloped nation, they needed reassurance that God is also with them regardless of life’s difficulties.
Thankfully, you and I have entered a new year in which there will be numerous mountains we can climb. And, yes, when we get to the top, tell it.....tell your stories that reinforce the Gospel.
The song, Go Tell It On the Mountain, is another way of expressing the crucial message which Jesus spoke just before He left to return to Heaven. It is to go ye into all the world proclaiming the Gospel. I am afraid that too many Christians so easily make this world so small because we have missed seeing all of the mountains from which we can share the good news.
Oh! I have so much to tell; i.e. the good news that because of praying without ceasing, Bibles which we shipped to Nigeria arrived one year after being shipped …..the good news that God healed me when, at the age of five, I was lying in a crib paralyzed…..the good news that God protected me in a terrible automobile accident in which the car was totally demolished but I walked awy without a scratch! Oh, there is so much to tell from the top of the mountain!
And, does the worker realize that the workplace, where most of us live one third of a lifetime, is a significant mountain? Sadly, many employees fail to witness from this mountain for fear of reprisal by managers who do not know God and who can be used by satan to suppress their own employees from engaging in what they see as "religious stuff".
So, I am often asked, "What can I do because I do not want to lose my job!" Actually, the answer is very simple. Just live the life of Christ. It is not just what you say that counts. Actions can often speak louder than words. It is the photograph you are producing daily which shows others you are a Christian who is truly joyful and from that joy is an attitude about work, itself, that is positive. It is the worker who goes far beyond the call of duty and is seen assisting a co-worker when the work load becomes so unbearable for that other person. It is the worker who inquires about the status of another worker’s mother who has been hospitalized. And, may I quickly say all of this is coming out of the heart not just something we do that makes us look good.
And, that is why one comes to know we are so different. Oh…..how many times in this life have I had someone approach me who hardly knows me and says, “You are a Christian, aren’t you?” Christian behavior in the workplace is that dynamic because, sadly, it is also so rare!
The late William Shakespeare once proclaimed that all of the world is a stage and the people are merely actors. It reminds us that no matter where we are….which mountain on which we are located….we are on the stage and our audience are those who see the way we are living!
Today, I have returned to the top of another mountain: New York City, one of our four satellite locations. Now, I am ready to go to work…..living on the streets with the homeless and assisting them in becoming employed and earning a paycheck which is the only answer to poverty.
And as for you? May God provide excellent health and safety for you and your loved ones in 2023 enabling you to GO…..GO…tell it on the mountain!
In closing, I invite you to join me on our YouTube channel. Click below and you will find 28 recorded messages including one-minute presentations for those who have a heavy schedule.....
I look forward to being with you in February. In the meantime, I must be about my Father's business.
Very truly yours,
Jim Hogsett, Writer for Guideposts Magazine and President/Founder at WORKER MINISTRIES WORLD HEADQUARTERS
END OF NEWSLETTER