by Rich Maffeo
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ ....
And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord (Deuteronomy 12:12-13).
My friend Jim knows about serving two masters. He's a middle-manager in a large defense-related industry. When his company experienced a series of consolidations and mergers, loosely associated departments absorbed entire divisions. Lines of authority were cut and rearranged. Jim now works directly for one boss, but indirectly for another. Both have sizeable influence in Jim's semi-annual and annual evaluations.
The convoluted organizational chart usually works well, but every so often Jim gets caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place when his direct line supervisor assigns him a deadline conflicting with one from his indirect supervisor.
Fortunately, Jim has always been able to persuade both supervisors to compromise. But not many people would want the 65-hour workweek those compromises usually require.
Compromise is often a useful business strategy. But for the Christian, when the issue is living a holy lifestyle, the Lord Jesus warned us a long time ago: "No one can serve two masters."
Twenty-year-old Nathan faced that difficult dilemma. He'd just hired on at an Internet-related communications business. Making better than fifty thousand dollars, with a full benefits package, the barely-out-of-high-school computer-programmer thought he'd won the lottery. But after he received his first two paychecks, his supervisor assigned him an unexpected task: debug one of their online pornography web pages.
It caught him off guard. He had no idea his company trafficked in smut. He struggled with the decision he knew he needed to make: compromise his walk with Christ and keep his salary - or walk away.
He walked away.
"We believe in one Lord - Jesus Christ." When Christ's commandments conflict with our desires, there's no room for compromise. When Christ directs us in one direction, and our employer in another, there's no room for compromise.
The prophet Elijah challenged Israel many years ago: If the Lord is God, then follow Him. If Baal, then follow him (1 Kings 18). Elijah's challenge rings through the centuries. When we repeat the Creed, we remind ourselves we have decided to follow Jesus. We will not turn back. We will not compromise.
Prayer: Lord, I want to love You, strengthen my love. I want to obey You. Strengthen my resolve. And where I am unwilling to follow You, make me willing to be willing, to go where You want me to go. Amen.
These meditations are compiled in Richard Maffeo's book, "We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and his website
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