monday was an odd day for me.

as you saw from my last post, i spent all last week with a band of friends from Christian Church Buckhead driving to Juarez, Mexico, building a house, and driving back to Atlanta. we had some great times, the greatest of which was handing over a set of keys to a nice, safe house to a deserving family.

monday i went back to work.

i work in the commercial construction industry. my entire professional career has been in this field, and it’s everything the stereotypes say it is. rough, angry, racist, sexist foul-mouthed men permeate the business and i deal with them every day. it gets old and after a while i need to reset my soul.

i sat at a table yesterday afternoon with a bunch of grown men acting like the world is coming to an end because of some engineering issues we’re experiencing on my current project. i felt like an outsider. i felt like they would find me out. i felt like i was about to break out in uncontrollable laughter at any second.

do they not know what’s truly important? do they really discount and forsake healthy relationships in the name of business and progress? really? tell that to the poor kid playing soccer in Juarez with a ball older than i am. go tell that kid that some silly construction project in Atlanta, GA, thousands of miles away, is more important than putting a smile on someone’s face and caring about how they are doing. tell him it’s more important than saving a life.

my friend and pastor Derek, who was present on our trip, told me that this feeling is what he calls “living above the system” and that it’s the best place to be. Jesus lived above the system. he understood what deserves priority. i want to understand as well.

my biggest problem with all this is that i feel like i have one foot in and one foot out. i am part of the system. i need to have a job, to make money to support my family. i need to care about my job and have passion for success and excellence. how am i to balance the two sides?

i think of Paul and his tentmaking. i’m not a missionary trying to support myself with secular work, but i think there is wisdom in Paul’s mindset. Christ is first. all belongs to him, and all i do should be to glorify him. i need to look at my job this way – it gives me opportunity to serve Christ in many ways. sometimes it’s just so hard to remember that.