The Detached Role

Steve Arterburn

Tom’s a clerk in a hectic government office.  In the midst of all the daily pressures, he’s regarded as one of the most even-tempered workers in the department.  He’s quiet and efficient, and he never seems to get riled at anything.

Tom spends his energy herding his emotions because he feels they’re his enemy.  Deep inside he believes that his father didn’t like him as a boy because he was too much of a crybaby and a ‘fraidy-cat.’ Since he perceives that he lost his father by being too much of a sissy, Tom isn’t about to expose his emotions as an adult. His controlled emotional detachment also keeps him distant from his wife.  In the past, whenever Tom showed any signs of being troubled, angry, or fearful, she’d ask him what was wrong.  His usual response was a curt, ‘Nothing!’  So she’s learned not to ask.

Detached men like Tom find it difficult to live out the values they profess because they ignore their heart, which is the center from which values come.  Often detached men will become addicted to work, money, football, alcohol, or drugs.

Are you like Tom?  Do you stuff your sense of defeat inside, thinking you should be able to ‘take it?’  Are you emotionally frozen?  Perhaps you’re so dead inside you have little to give a relationship.  Is your spouse enduring a frustrating relationship because you insist on suffering your losses alone?

You can change. Start by connecting with others. Find a safe person that you can talk to. We were meant for connection, not detachment.

Worship

Steve Arterburn

Worship is a way of life.  Worship isn’t simply what you do for God in church; it’s also who you are for God in the world.  

So how can you bring worship into you daily life?  Let’s consider some suggestions from another man’the apostle Paul. In chapter twelve of his letter to the Romans he gives us some good counsel.

First he says you need to allow God to transform your mind.  In this way, your allegiance is transferred from the world to God.

Second, he tells you to serve others with your gifts.  This displays God’s glory as your Creator.  You should rejoice in these gifts and use them to accomplish God’s purposes.

And third, Paul says you need to be a reflection of God’s love and grace.  The second great commandment is that you love others as yourself.  Paul provides numerous concrete examples of how you can obey this commandment.  These aren’t simply humanitarian gestures.  They are acts of worship, acts that please and honor God.  Let me leave you with a few ways Paul says you’re to worship God.

Love each other with genuine affection
Never be lazy in your work
Be glad for all God is planning for you
Be prayerful
When God’s children are in need, be the one who helps
Get into the habit of inviting guests for dinner, or if they need lodging, for the night
Don’t try to act important but enjoy the company of ordinary people

The Business World

Steve Arterburn

The ‘rules’ practiced in today’s business world aren’t always the same as God’s rules, are they?  Are you getting caught up in the game, trying to get as much as you can’are you tempted to cheat others or not give them their fair share?  God will hold his men’you and I’accountable for this.  We must take responsibility if we’ve sinned this way.

Take for example a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus’s hunger for riches drove him to take more than his fair share while he was collecting taxes from the Jews for the Roman government.  He was hated by his own people as an extortioner and a traitor.  But when Jesus reached out to him he changed dramatically. The book of Luke says,  ‘Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to his home today” (Luke 19:8-9).

When you honestly reflect on your life, you should be careful to consider whether you have taken more than your fair share in your dealings’business or personal. If so, it’s your responsibility to face the greed, the fear, the anger, and the pride that led you to behave dishonestly.  Like Zacchaeus, true spiritual growth will be evidenced in practical ways.  I hope you’ll take those courageous steps today.