I have watched the computer industry change over my 37 years in business. I remember huge floppy disks and when a megabyte of storage was nothing short of truly amazing. I remember getting my Fujitsu Micro 16S computer system about 36 years ago. It was nearly $4,000.00. I remember when a 10 megabyte external storage device became available for my Fujitsu Micro 16S. It was going to cost me $1,200.00. I thought it was a bit too much and simply stored everything on a whole bunch of floppy disks instead.
Today, my phone has far more processing power and storage capability than that state of the art computer system I once had. The difference is drastic. My phone has 250GB of storage for example. That is 250,000 megabytes. If I were to purchase the equivalent amount of storage for my old Fujitsu Micro 16S, it would cost $300,000,000.00. That's 300 million dollars if you lost track of the zeros.
Growing up in this industry has had many benefits not readily seen in other areas. I have seen much good and bad done in this industry and I have seen and have been given many opportunities to demonstrate grace and generosity.
For many years, we have taken in old computers which have been replaced by newer systems. We have refurbished those older machines and have given them away to those who could not afford a computer. There are lessons to be learned by these few paragraphs of which I have written and I hope these lessons fall on ears ready and willing to hear.
Lesson 1 - New is really based on the perspective of the one receiving the item. Old is equally based on the same perspective. Sort of like, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."
Lesson 2 - Just because something is new, doesn't mean it is necessary or even worth the purchase.
Lesson 3 - The most important lesson is to remember the past and learn from it so that you may apply that learned knowledge to your future.
Growing in Christ works in a similar way. I remember when Jesus answered my prayers quickly over and over again and I could count on my prayers being answered quickly, constantly and faithfully (1 Peter 2:2-3). Over time, my prayers were no longer being answered so quickly because I was maturing in my faith (Hebrews 11:1). This fact has never stopped me from praying or working to glorify God in my attitude and in the gifts, He has given me. In fact, it caused me to work all the harder. I can look back at His faithfulness sort of like looking back over my industry. I see His hand guiding my life much as I have seen the trends in my industry being guided by technological innovations and needs. I have seen the value of items much sought after become downright cheap; and, I have seen the price of salvation, although being absolutely free, it is also absolutely priceless. The point is that because of this maturing process, I understand the necessity to be productive in everything I do and that productivity is definitely not the same as what the world would dictate.
The lessons I have learned from something as simple as this are:
Lesson 1 - Our culture says work is for self-fulfillment. The Bible says that work is about glorifying God (Colossians 3:17)
Lesson 2 - Our culture says we should store up as much wealth as we can–the Bible says that we are to pursue eternal treasures rather than earthly ones (Matthew 6:19-20)
Lesson 3 - Our culture thinks that worship is what Christians do for an hour each Sunday. The Bible says that we can do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:17)
Lesson 4 - Just because something is free, doesn’t make it less valuable.
Lesson 5 - Be ever so mindful of the value of whatever you may have been given. Someone may have paid a very high price for it so that one day you may be given it at no charge to you at all.
What does applying this to our lives look like?
Our work and productivity matter to God and are profoundly important in His eyes. This goes for every single job you may have. If you’re sweeping floors for a living, then you are sweeping floors to glorify God. Working productively allows you to honor God by maximizing the use of your time and to do more good works, not for your salvation, but for His glory. This is what being a productive Christian is all about.
Martin Luther King Jr. put it this way:
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”