ife transitions present great opportunities to share the gospel. A lengthy or chronic illness, the death of a loved one, or a relational crisis challenges one’s sense of self-sufficiency, making him or her open to receiving help.
Perhaps nothing undermines a person’s feeling that he or she is master of their fate than the financial and self-esteem stresses that come through unemployment, especially when it is prolonged, as many have experienced over the past few years. The recessive economy “out there” gets very personal “in here” when an individual loses retirement benefits or cannot make house payments, clothe family members, buy enough groceries, or repair the car.
In such times a person becomes aware or reminded how small and dependent they are and that they need to be connected to something and someone greater than themselves if they are going to make it. When confronted with the attractive and embraceable reality of a God who loves them and has a plan for their well-being, as outlined in Jeremiah 29:11-13, they take a look. There are no atheists in foxholes, and there are few in the economic tough times of employment change who do not contemplate the need of a caring God.
We who believe in the caring God can offer the hurting unemployed or misemployed the person of Jesus Christ as their way, truth, and life in their period of change. We can show them love by helping them in practical ways. As we do, we can tell them with the authority of God’s love that He has a plan for their life in Jesus Christ. They can learn from us that God owns all the jobs (Ps. 24:1-2). He has the right job at the right time for the person He wants them to become.
We do a lot of caring for such folks in our church’s employment transition ministry. Each day, week, and month we encounter those who have no job, no good prospects, and no career transition skills, and we become their companions to walk with them to help them find their next right job. It is our privilege to make the journey with them and share who the Lord is to us.
As a pastor, I learned that people experiencing sickness appreciate the courage someone exercises by not shying away from their illness but instead talk with them about it. Such engagement addresses, meets, and helps overcome the loneliness and depression the suffering person is experiencing. They feel better because someone has taken a risk to get involved with them in their life situations.
The same is true for those in employment transition. They are relieved because you or I take the chance to get involved with them in their joblessness. We may not do something as dramatic as take a homeless man from the streets and give him a fantastic job overnight because of his God-given gift of a voice; yet, we can offer something to help people get from point A to point B. In the process, they might come to know Christ for the first time and for all time.