That’s not to say I am bad, though.

“Good” is a relative term, and so without some specific context, I am not inclined to use it with regard to myself.  At least, not with the kind of contextless context I have come to expect – like a one page resume.

Let’s get into this.

I am honest.  I have high standards of excellence.  I value loyalty.  I am sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.

How am I doing so far?  Am I a standout applicant yet?

Am I the best and most qualified applicant for the position?

Probably not.  I really just don’t compete.  If there are ten other qualified applicants, I am sure half or more are younger, faster, maybe even smarter.  Half of them are more dedicated.

I am a rather needy person.

I need time – let me say that again.  I need t – i – m – e to learn the ropes.  I need your patience.  I need it explained again.  And if the job is fast-paced, I will likely take even longer to learn it.

How am I doing now?

I got my education in Bible, not rocket-surgery.  How many jobs are there where that is required or desired?  I have an AA degree in … in … well, technically, it’s “manufacturing,” but really, it’s electronics – sorta, and was my local school’s answer to windmill maintenance.  I graduated top of both programs, but the electronics degree… well… that’s just not me.  I couldn’t set the clock on your VCR (don’t tell the young’uns what a VCR is).

But if you put the patience into the investment with me, eventually, you will find me to be a star on your team.  It’s happened before, and I am sure it can again.  I am especially strong as a partner, a teammate with one or two others.  I can be the team leader, but solitude is like Kryptonite to me.

I need enough money to pay the mortgage and keep my kids fed, but honestly… I hate money.  I really don’t want any.  IF I could find a gig where I got my needs met and a few simple comforts too, I could probably be so much more happy without a paycheck.  But where do you get that deal?

I mean, think of working in a family business 100 years ago in most any city or village.  You have two or three brothers and sisters working along with your parents, possibly aunts and uncles and cousins too (if it’s a really big operation).  You live in the same house or neighboring houses, likely on the same plot of land.  You eat meals together – nearly all of them.  You order a few needful things out of the Sears catalog (don’t explain that to the young’uns either), and so what do you need a paycheck for?

I could be happy like that.  But the world practically won’t allow it now.

I mean, who writes a resume in that gig?  You get promoted, if that is even a thing, when your grandpa dies, your dad dies, and/or your oldest brother dies.

But look at the stability of that life!  Where are all the homeless encampments?

I don’t want to overstate it, but when you contrast it with modern life, there’s little or no divorce, you share the bath water with the siblings in good times and bad, and everyone shares the burdens and blessings together.  No one thinks of you as an “employee” at all.  You are brother or uncle and to a few maybe Dad, but you are in practically no danger of being fired or laid off EVER.  You learn a set of skills, and over time you become very good at them.  The whole community comes to rely on you and your family for the service you provide.  And your reputation is not merely yours earned, but yours both earned and received as a gift.

I like to think I could fit in that gig very well, if given the chance.

But they don’t offer that deal at McDonalds or Walmart.

So, I am a street minister giving away my services to those who cannot pay or hold down a job or at least a living instead.  And I am not a very good employee.


  1. Tim McGee · December 5

    Seems you’re in good company, X. Peter (yup, the rock on which the Church was built) was a failed fisherman (“we fished all night and caught nothing”), lacked full understanding in Jesus’ words and mission (“Get behind me Satan” is about as much of a rebuke that anyone could ever get–especially from the Messiah), and denied and ran away when the job got tough. So go on being the “bad employee” that you are, sharing the Gospel to those to whom nothing is ever shared. Blessings to you and may your employer offer you His peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · December 8

      Oh… man…

      So, I am watching the morning news with a cup of coffee (in between assembly-line diaper changes), and the local station runs their little “feel-good” segment called “Pay It Forward.”

      I bet one of your local stations has a version of this. I haven’t watched it in a couple of years, but the last time I paid attention to it, they changed the process up a little. Point being, I don’t know how it regularly works NOW, but back when it started, they put a reporter out on the street flagging down motorists and asking anyone who would stop if they knew someone who could really use a sudden, windfall gift of $300. The reporter would then follow the flagged down “giver” to the door of a friend in need and would slowly count out three one-hundred-dollar bills.

      It was all so dramatic and kind and surprising and charitable, and just felt so good to see. Usually the needy person burst into tears of gratitude! And soon people around town began watching for the reporter!!!

      But, if you read here often, you know that this blog has a HUGE bone to pick with Corbett and Fikkert’s book When Helping Hurts and with Lupton’s Toxic Charity. The general thesis of both of these books is that if and when you GIVE money (like they do in this TV segment), you damage the needy! Personally, I think that thesis is bogus; not that I deny a phenom we might call “enabling” but that Jesus shows no concern for it on the one hand AND on the other, these books and the accompanying charitable industrial complex that has developed around it, has influenced many, many, many churches of this thesis too. I think these books do the harm they claim they try to avoid.

      NOW… with all that in the background, let me tell you, several years ago, I applied for a job! A job working with one of these charity organizations who was looking for a “chaplain.” The work was important but put a person in regular contact with the homeless and needy, the pay embarrassingly low, and the pool of applicants was … was… well, they were scratching, digging, and looking under rocks for someone qualified.

      What do ya know, but I was recommended for it! This never happens, and I was excited to think I might get a legit position AND be wanted by others on the team. So, when the lead guy on the hiring committee contacted me for an interview, he came to it already excited about me. When he reviewed my background and qualifications, he was blown away that a guy like me would consider such a lowly position! He wanted me.

      But, that was just an initial interview. I needed to meet with others on the committee too. So, a second interview was scheduled.

      Sadly, at the appointed hour, the other committee members were not available.


      Yup. But still, the lead guy assured me this was just going to be a formality. He just knew, I was the right guy for the gig. He still interviewed me a second time, and again, he made me think this was a done deal. And scheduled me a third time.

      Since these other committee people were just so busy, I was scheduled to meet at the office in the back of a local popular restaurant, the owner of which was one of the main committee members, and so she could feed me a nice breakfast and then step away from duties for a quick interview as time allowed.

      It made sense, AND it really smoothed over the hesitance to meet on the part of the committee. IF I smelled a rat before (which I really didn’t since I had been recommended AND since the position was so undesirable by most ministers). The lead guy had me convinced that this was going to be a formality.

      But finally, the moment came. I found myself in the back office across the desk from the restaurant owner lady, flanked by the lead guy and one other committee member too, and very quickly we talked about qualifications, expectations, and a few such matters. I was dressed nice, I brought my fancy ministry portfolio to show off, the conversation was pleasant and all of that. AND this was long before I published THIS blog or any revolutionary rags or before I was kicked out of church either. But not before my first time to raise questions about When Helping Hurts with church leaders.

      And so, suddenly, the lady behind the desk closed her little folder with my application and resume and any other notes she had in it, and asked me a deadly question. she asked, “Would you ever give money to a beggar?”

      Hmmm… It was almost as if she had been tipped off to ask that question. It obviously was unveiled at this central moment in the process.

      Well, I knew immediately that my integrity was on the line. I knew this question was loaded. I could FEEL it in the air, even though it was a surprise ambush.

      I answered this woman the same way Jesus answered the devil with temptation. I quoted Scripture. I lead with Scripture in my answer so I could be VERY CLEAR that my answer appeals to Jesus. I quoted Luke 1:53 and 6:30, I John 3:17-18, Matt. 25:31-46 and said as clearly as I can that if and when I have money to give, I give to those who ask.

      I watched her eyes glaze over as I spoke.

      We continued the formality as she asked two or three other questions too, but suddenly she was called back to her very busy duties running a restaurant, and so the lead guy and the other guy finished off the interview with niceties and told me they would call me next Monday.

      I will let you guess what the answer was.

      The guy actually told me they were going to search for more qualified applicant.

      I don’t think that was actually honest.

      But, here’s the kicker – the irony.

      So, this morning I turn on the TV headlines, and they are doing this Pay It Forward segment, and sure enough they have changed things up a bit. Today’s version features a reporter outside a fancy local restaurant, meeting with the owner lady, and their gig this time involves going from table to table and offering to pay the tab for people’s meal!

      Of course, these are paying customers. People who come in with money to pay – not needy people who would find $300 a sudden windfall, but people whose lives will be decorated with a bit of serendipity. And they do it by giving money to people who don’t need it, didn’t ask for it, and do so as a way to honor Jesus.


      Jesus would be proud!

      But it goes to show how I am not really a good employee.

      Liked by 1 person

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