Monday, May 15, 2017

Through the Roof

This week I’d like to repurpose an article I wrote about career transition to use as our discussion topic.  Finding oneself between jobs can feel particularly lonely for many people. There is a real ministry opportunity here for us to take part in, whether you are the job seeker or not. One of the most common complaints about the modern job search is that by the time you hear about an opening on LinkedIn,, or through a recruiter, there are many other people vying for the same opportunity. At that point, it’s impossible to cut through the noise of every other applicant. The process is crowded and there is a good chance you will never get to the decisonmaker.
In the Mark 2:1-5 we find a passage that still apply to us in the 21st century, even for those who find themselves in career transition. In this story, we read about a paralyzed man who learns that Jesus is helping and healing many people. Like the other folks desperate for a change in their circumstances, the man wants to go and be cured of his condition. But there are a couple of challenges he faces: he’s paralyzed so getting there is a major challenge, plus there are massive crowds seeking the same thing. The good news is that he has several friends willing to carry him on a stretcher to get to the house where help can be found. Once they get him there though, the place is so jammed full of people there is no way they are going to get to see Jesus. Not giving into the futility of the occasion, they call upon their persistence and creativity.  They hatch a plan to raise their friend up to the roof and then dig a hole big enough to lower him down to get face-to-face with the Decisionmaker. When He sees the extraordinary effort they made to get to Him, Jesus immediately puts our hero back on his feet and remarks that He hasn’t met anyone else like this.
Things to think about:
  • Don’t give up! Your situation isn’t hopeless. There is a way to get what you need; you must keep working at it until you find it.
    • if you are currently in transition, does your situation feel hopeless?
    • If you have been through the job search process previously, can you empathize with someone experiencing a lack of optimism?
    • Why is perseverance so important?
  • Community. This man had a network he could call on in his time of need. His friends were so devoted to him they would do whatever they could to get him the help he required.
    • You can’t make withdrawals from accounts where you haven’t made deposits!
    • How does busyness steal time for relationship building?
      • if you made time for just one meeting per week (in person or over the phone), you would have developed and/or cultivated 50 friendships in a year!
    • If you had to find three or four friends to carry your mat, do you know who you could count on?
    • How does living in community with others exemplify Christ-likeness?
  • Be creative, try an unconventional approach. Even though there may be a flood of applicants, you can find ways to distinguish yourself. If you are just doing what everyone else is doing, you will get lost in the crowd. Find a way to get yourself in front of the hiring manager.
    • What is one approach you have tried (or would recommend someone tries) to be creative in a job search?
    • How do prayer and faith enable us to be bolder than we might be otherwise?
    • What are the risks to doing something different than the crowd?
      • If prayer is the act of speaking directly to the Creator of the Universe (I dare you to find a more intimidating title than that!), what could possibly hold us back from reaching out to a mere mortal?
  • Decisionmakers are looking for creative problem solvers.  The approach you take in getting to them says volumes about how you will be once you get the job.

Moral of the story: Our friend got what he was looking for and so can you.  A can-do attitude, combined with a network of support and lots of imagination, will help you go from paralyzed to mobilized to energized.  If you are currently in transition, be encouraged.  If you aren’t in transition then you know someone who is. In either event, let’s use the occasion to encourage, build relationships, and take a step of faith. Let’s cut a hole in the roof of unbelief and let the light of the Son warm us and heal us.

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