Glorifying God in All Fields of Work

Before I discuss this question, I must admit at a church I attended in the summer of 2015 had an incredible (and indelible) sermon series.  It was right on target for my career situation, both then and now.

Overall, it discussed the truth of work and keeping away from having too ambitious of an attitude toward it.  In other words, if someone wishes to “change the world,” a hope for such a breakthrough is totally in God’s hands.  Thus, the likelihood of such a change tends to be slim.  So, we must think in terms of “baby steps,” no matter what our careers entail.

The bottom line is whatever you do, you should do it to God’s glory, and with the spirit of Christian love.  This applies to all careers, from truck drivers to doctors.  (This does not mean you should deal strictly with Christians, because, likewise, their salvation is personal.)

Fast forward 2 years for the meat and potatoes.  While I am (and have been) a Biology major hopeful, I recently thought there was no jobs that fit the bill.  Well, things have changed, and things are looking brighter.

That radical change of heart concerned the various positions of cell and molecular biology, the dominant field today.  Previously, I was cynical toward that, since I thought such research was an excuse to prolong life as well as to eradicate certain diseases, and hence make the world more “worldly.”  (Of course, on earth, just because we cure everything that exists doesn’t make death any less inevitable.)

But the good side of such scientific progress is that 1) extension of the average life expectancy gives time more for better Gospel reception 2) it won’t make anything more “sacred” to target the “worldliness” mentioned above; of course, this earth is worldly by definition, and people may or may not receive the Gospel (this depends on God’s will) 3)  Over the past few centuries we have made great strides, so why stop them now?  Such serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are apparently far more formidable than such ailments like polio, measles, etc., which can be addressed by certain vaccines and similar barriers.  Not to mention, all this is done for the good of people like me and you, as Phil 2:3, 4 advocates, whether as a true biologist, a biology technician, or similar occupation.

So, should I pursue such a career?  Well, in any case, the Bible is the central source of wisdom for Christians, and that is my guide.  Prayer is welcome as well, from wherever your neck of the woods may be.

No matter what your job is, as long as it is done to God’s glory, renders work as worship.  AMEN

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Taking Bible Studies to Other Forms

Sometimes it’s very easy to have excessive allegiance to a mundane endeavor, and lose focus on God.  Being the bookworm I am, sometimes the topics I read can cause a big drift from the appreciation of the omnipresent (yet transcendent) pervasiveness of God and his mark on everything that is created.  Let’s turn to our old friend Ecclesiastes, a book with some irony, inasmuch as Solomon was very godly yet had so many burdens, but he explained all things in a “twisted” – yet God-inspired perspective.  Without further ado, let’s turn to Eccl 12:12 (ESV).

My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Wow!  Consider these three truisms!  Let’s delve into them.

  1.  We are to use good, critical judgement in our choices of reading and study, save perhaps Scripture (which all Christians are expected to read).  Obviously, because of the brevity of life (cf. Ps 90), it may not be worth your time to bother with certain subjects, whether because they are not interesting to you, or may present a poor influence.  Most of my scientific interest is in biology.  Therefore, most of my in-depth study, whether scholastic or personal, would lean to that.  In short, both quantity and quality are important in your nonfictional investigations.

2.  In Solomon’s time, books were handwritten and therefore arduous to write, centuries later we have Gutenberg’s printing press, and now we have not only books but Kindles and Nooks, websites (including this very blog you are reading), and all different sources.  Information can now be conveyed by photos, diagrams, video, audio, animations, etc.; in other words, “multimedia.”  Of course, technology moves on and some things are nearly extinct, such as library card catalogs.  Nonetheless, there is an explosion of information in the 20th and 21st centuries, and books (and all their modern kin) will flourish.  Rumor has it that books (as they are typically conceived) will have their own demise sooner or later.  As for Scripture, no problem; since its durability is in heaven (and not earth), it will follow the technology.

3.  Remember, like all things, study should be done in moderation.  In excess, you may become obsessed with retaining the entire coverage of the material read (or at least its majority), often to a sharper level of detail than needed.  Conversely, if your focus is on concepts and understanding, then you can more easily move on to other topics.  Keep in mind that true learning is reflected not in testing your memory, but in candid, spontaneous moments when something is applied or mentioned — and you know what they are talking about.

Two Tidbits of Advice

  1.  For most of you, I tend to recommend popular level books and websites (and yes, the popular press is a spectrum of various complexities).  I don’t typically recommend getting a true collegiate textbook unless you seriously want to pay its high price with the assurance you are poised that you will understand it.  After all, they’re meant for scholastic use, and they can often bring up questions, which can only be brought up duly with a professor that teaches such a class.
  2.  As long as it’s private, maybe a quick prayer can help you appreciate God’s work and wisdom in areas studied more thoroughly.  Remembering God’s omniscience (knowing all things, which we take a share of, or at least an approximation of such), omnipotence (his creation of the world by whatever method and sustenance of such), and omnipresence (pervading the cosmos through and through) should really power your endeavors to be God-glorifying.

In faith, make the Lord a “heavenly study buddy.”

Wee Hours of Bisquick, Biology, and the Bible

Who says the overnight hours need be depressing?
Who says the overnight hours need be depressing?  This selfie (taken circa 5:30am tells the contrary)

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.  You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about.  The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens.  Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. (Psalm 104:19-23)

Okay, so I got up a little before two.  And I thought there was no point in returning to sleep.  So, I read my Bible, from which I quoted above, except the focus was Jeremiah.  (Of course, in modern society, you can’t strictly go by a sunset-to-sunrise sleep cycle, because we have, yes, clocks!  Though as we all know, mankind’s modern waking hours lean in the “PM” direction.)  Yet the scripture, as always, does give godly counsel.

So anyway, on a more temporal note (pun intended), I also read two Scientific American Library books, a long discontinued series I get used from Amazon.  One I started yesterday evening and completed about one-fifth through (again, it’s little over 200 pages.)  This was on the biochemical topic of enzymes, a form of protein.  The other, with only little that I haven’t read intently, concerns microbial organisms.

The Bible and these two popular-level books (from the Scientific American Library) kept me company overnight.
The Bible and these two popular-level books (from the Scientific American Library) kept me company overnight.

A little after 4 am I decided hey, why not make breakfast.  Little did I know I had the alternative of making something different than oatmeal or eggs/omelets.  The verdict?  Pancakes.  (The “Bisquick” in the title, mind you).

Mmm...Pancakes and Authentic Maple Syrup. (I actually made/ate this breakfast about an hour before, namely, a little before 4:30am)
Mmm…Pancakes and Authentic Maple Syrup. (I actually made/ate this breakfast about an hour before, namely, a little before 4:30am, and deliberately posed this as such.)

Yep, not Mrs. Butterworth’s, Aunt Jemimah, or Log Cabin, but something where quality trumps quantity:  real maple syrup.

So, to conclude, while it’s not good to be up half the night (ask a doctor for details), the super early wake-up was (and is usually) due to leaving my overhead light on, a habit I must stop.

As this post went to press, the sun is now up, and the night is now over.  (I’ll bet I’ll crash soon).