01 Apr 2016

Travel: For Business, For Pleasure, For God.

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Joel is a member of CTPC and is currently serving as deacon of spiritual growth.

As I write this, I’m on the tenth floor of a Hilton, overlooking Memphis scenery and rows of strip malls and BBQ joints. This is my first business trip since quitting my stable job more than a year ago and choosing to support my family as a full-time musician, a field that almost always requires frequent travel for work. I was struck almost immediately by the temptations that can befall Christians in this situation. Peter Scholl writes about the twin dangers of greed and discontent, and that being on a business trip can seem to magnify these sinful attitudes in our hearts. I would add to that list three more:

  • Secrecy. We can be tempted to think that what we do on a work trip is secret, as if God isn’t in this new area, or that we can have a different identity when we are away from home.
  • Pride. Experiencing the luxury of a hotel room or the perks of travel can make us feel that we are worthy of these good things, and that we deserve them for being so good at our jobs.
  • Wastefulness. Feeling that the usual constraints of not wasting money, food, or creating trash do not apply because I’m on a trip.

Meditating on God’s universality and sovereignty divests us of the false belief that God is somehow absent from our lives when we’re away from our “home base”. Psalm 93 has been helping me in this area lately (and is oddly appropriate given the flooding we’ve had in Tennessee recently):

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

Beyond that, I’m reminded of excellent advice given to me by a friend, that in all new situations we must be asking ourselves, “Why did God bring me here?” When we understand God’s sovereignty, we can know that we are where we are, and who we are, so that we may do God’s will.

Ultimately, it’s God that brought me here. What is He doing in this place? How can I be a part of that? 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ” To that end, I offer two ways our work trips can be for the glory of God:

  1. We can be salt and light in the world. In Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us that being salt and light to the world is not necessarily doing mission work or proselytizing. “The Christian is to function as the salt of the earth…by his individual life and character, by just being the man that he is in every sphere in which he finds himself.” He notes that just by our very presence, God is working against evil around us. We can also provide fellowship and encouragement to other Christians in these new areas.
  2. Getting out of our daily routine can be a good thing. Often when we step out of our daily grind, we can reflect on how we are spending our time and structuring our day, and realize certain thought patterns we may have fallen into. Attending another church also gives us a chance to enjoy the diversity of God’s believers and appreciate different styles of worship.

Praise God that he is over all, through all, and in all, and can use every situation for our good if we only let him.

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