“Can I speak with you for a moment?” My laboratory supervisor was flustered as the redness of his face betrayed the smoldering intensity of his feelings. I nodded and motioned to the chair in front of my desk. Plopping himself in the chair, he shook his head as he shared his disapproval of one of our employees.
“I gave him a stack of work to enter the information into our EMR (electronic medical record). He just sat there for a second then rolled his eyes and asked, ‘And what you are going to do?’ “
Rule number 1 from Workplace 101, don’t question your supervisor when handed an assignment. Rule number 2, don’t ask what they are going to do. The corollary to both of these rules is if you break either of them, you probably will not be working there much longer.
This incident happened many years ago, in one of my former laboratories. As surprising a story that it is, I have heard similar stories repeated in other workplaces. It reinforces my long-held belief that many of the skills needed to successfully navigate the world of business are not learned in business school but simple common sense.
After Jesus had preached to a crowd of at least five thousand men, they were hungry and needed to be fed. Yet, the only resources that His disciples thought they had was a young boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish. Unfazed, Jesus directed the crowd to sit down in groups of fifty. He then took the five loaves of bread and two fish and proceeded to feed the entire crowd and instructed his disciples to do a seemingly impossible task.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” John 6:12 (ESV)
Can you imagine if the early followers of Jesus Christ bickered and complained in a similar manner as this former employee? “Gather up the leftover fragments from these FIVE THOUSAND men, not to mention the additional thousands from the women and children? Sure, Lord! And what are YOU going to do?”
So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
John 6:13 (ESV)
Thankfully, the disciples put aside any doubts or reservations they had and obeyed their Master, although I wonder what was really going through their minds? After all, it was not the first time that Jesus asked them to do something that was out of the ordinary. Walking on water, calming a raging storm, healing a demon-possessed boy with seizures, and now, feeding over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. All of these seemingly impossible tasks that were given to the disciples, they failed to accomplish. It was Jesus who successfully completed the task but they soon forgot the miracles that Jesus performed and, once again, doubted His promises and assurances.
When God asks me to do something that I perceive as burdensome, sometimes I roll my eyes and complain, “Why God? And what are You going to do?” I am no different than the disciples and the employee.
What will God do? He will perform another miracle in my life, humbling me because of my arrogant pride, and showing me a better way to live by looking upward and outward to His guidance rather than downward and inward to my fallen and sinful desires. Only by surrendering my will and obeying Him, will He allow me to successfully complete the task He gives me, to teach me a lesson in faith that would have been squandered if I questioned Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.