Blog - Doing Earthwork
God as GuardWednesday, April 02, 2014
Imagine a world in which no one did the work of guarding. How well would we sleep at night if prisons were left unguarded? Suppose a military encampment lacked any sentries. What might happen if an elementary school on a busy street had no school crossing guards? Picture a U. S. President traveling abroad with no Secret Service agents.
Guarding is work God himself does. In the Psalms, David repeatedly speaks of God as his shield. Ps. 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Speaking of his people as his "vineyard,” God declares, "I, the Lord, watch over it. . . . I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it” (Is. 27:3). In John 17, Jesus asks his Father to protect his followers from the evil one.
Harm and evil had entered earth with sin. So God posted cherubim as the very first guard, blocking human access to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). Since then, in life outside Eden, danger and damage have spread and continue to multiply. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 12-percent increase in security-guard jobs over the next decade. The reason? Mounting concern over terrorism, vandalism, and crime.
Because God himself works as a guard, it makes perfect sense that he delegates such work to those made in his likeness. That explains why some of us are highly motivated to serve in these roles. In their book, Make Your Job a Calling, Bryan J. Dik and Ryan D. Duffy relate an incident that illustrates this kind of inner impulse.
While driving in Colorado, Bryce Eldridge encountered stalled traffic, because a road-repair crew had closed one of the lanes. A flagger turned his paddle-sign from slow to stop just in front of the car ahead of Bryce. He shut off his engine, opened his window, and overheard a conversation between the driver of that car and the flagger.
"I’m sorry,” the driver said, "but that has got to be the most boring job I can imagine. How can you stand it?”
To Bryce’s amazement, the flagger replied: "I love this job! Love it. You know why? Because it matters. I keep people safe. I care about these guys behind me, and I keep them safe. I also keep you safe, and everyone else in all those cars behind you. I get to make a real, tangible difference every day.” And then, after a pause, the flagger added: "I’m grateful that I was led here.”
How can we explain motivation like this for such a risky job? Not from the paycheck (flaggers average about $17,000 per year). Instead, what Bryce heard from that flagger was something of an echo from of the heart of God himself—the God who guards.