What if I work in tech?
There are quite a few of you. You work at Meta, Apple, Valve, Alphabet, and Microsoft. You work in engineering and design and retail and administration. You design user interfaces and cloud computing systems and Tool Tech and Drool Tech.
Today I want to address what it means to be someone who is gifted with the time, talent and opportunity to work in the tech world. What does it mean to be a Christian in the tech space?
You’re in this space, and you’re there to be salt and light.
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Nathan [00:00:08] Heavenly Father, thank You for this opportunity to talk about technology. Give me the words and the wisdom with which to address this conversation will give us open eyes, open ears and open hearts to hear Your Word, to do Your will, and to follow You. Even in these tech spaces as You are working and calling people to love You and to become new creations. We ask this in Jesus name, amen.
Nathan [00:00:31] Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Today, our conversation is about what if I work in the tech field? Or what if my children want to work in the tech field? Specifically talking to big tech. Meta, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft? What do we do with those desires and how do we use that? Well, is that something that can be used? Well, this conversation specifically is inspired from an experience I had this past week where I came into a talk. I came in focused and driven and I drove through my points. It was the first of the parent workshop. We talked about smartphones, video games, pornography, and I shared a lot of truth, and yet some of that truth was not buffered well for my audience, I live in the Northwest with a lot of tech workers on the retail side and on the design side and on the the admin side. And I came off as just harsh and unloving on a guy who clearly felt conviction from the Lord to do his job well. And so I’m making this one so I can get the practice saying it because I need to kind of work that into my attitude. I read a lot of research and have a lot of cautionary tales, and yet it’s not Nathan cautioning people that’s going to make a difference. So this is coming out of that. It’s also I’m doing this so that people in tech and people with young people who are interested in joining tech jobs can think through this process. All right. How did we get equipped for this? Where is God calling us and how do we discern what that looks like? So that’s our conversation today. If you have someone who is working in big technology, we’re going to talk about that and where the gospel has a place there. We’re going to talk with you young people who are passionate about technology and the future and their gifts and talents that God’s given them and really the things on their heart that tug their strings, that they want to see the world change and that technology can be an avenue to do that. That’s great. We’re going to talk about how that applies and there’s going to be some caution involved of like, all right, let’s make sure that we don’t put the cart before the horse or that we don’t just run off on our own, that God’s called. This is something and now we’re trying to do it in our strength. So that’s our conversation for today. I’m excited for it. Thanks for being here. With no further ado, let’s get this conversation started.
Nathan [00:02:51] Welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. A resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources and confidence they need to raise kids who love God and use tech.
Nathan [00:03:15] Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this conversation and this podcast possible. Thank you for listening. For liking, for sharing. Thank you for subscribing so you don’t miss new content and new folks. Thanks for joining us on YouTube. This conversation specifically is on YouTube. I’m just recording myself having this podcast conversation so you can certainly find it wherever podcasts are available. But the YouTube space is a digital space where a lot of people are looking for hope and specifically using technology to try to find that hope. And I have been heavily convicted that I need to be in there too. So we’re doing this not to try to raise more funds or to get famous, but because I believe the Lord will use that space to reach more people. And man, the amount of work I’m willing to go in a normal day to reach 15 extra people is a lot. And if I can reach reach 15 extra on YouTube like awesome, let’s do it. So that’s why we’re there. You can find us. Just look up Gospel Tech or at Love God, Use Tech on YouTube and the full podcast episodes will be there as well as shorter snippets and reels and other things. I’ve got lists of them, but it’s a matter of time and doing it well and prioritizing. So thank you for being a part of this journey with us. We’d also love your feedback if you watch this. How can I improve when I’m doing well?
Nathan [00:04:31] With that in mind, this conversation about what if I work in the tech field? So I guess I just want to say, first of all, if you are in the tech field and you have man, you’re gifted in there somehow and you are producing technology, designing technology, augmenting it, or even just using it, know that that is an area that the Lord is actively working. So I want to make sure again that I am coming off of recognizing that you have talents and abilities that I don’t have. Many of you are problem solvers, and that’s a gift God’s given you, and many of you are passionate about a certain outcome. Even if it’s just I work with people and I want people to reach their highest potential in a joy filled, you know, successful environment. That’s awesome. I support that. And for some of you, that means managing in the business side of a tech company. Super cool. Thanks for doing that. We’re going to have three encouragements. We’re not three cautions, I think you call them. And then three biblical reminders. Yes, the Bible even speaks to this as we go through this conversation.
Nathan [00:05:31] So to start us off, I just want to encourage you first tech people working in it. You come to my talks and that’s amazing. Again, working in the Northwest, I’ve had people from Microsoft and people from Google, people from Amazon, people from Valve, a game design company, people from smaller, more indie game design companies. People from Meta. I get it. I actually had someone from Valve who was working on their VR sets, which that’s like a really niche part of the video game design community. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who work for international companies and in the tech piece that maybe aren’t names we’d heard of. But the point isn’t the pay that we’re making or the influence we have internationally or the cachet that this gives us on our resume. Instead, it is are we in the Lord’s will? I can tell you, absolutely. If you’re being prayerful and you’re doing what the Lord’s asked you to like, those are amazing spots to be. So I want to say that first encouragement is I want you to remember to keep your imagination.
Nathan [00:06:30] This comes from Mrs. Johnson, an elementary school teacher. She was my computer teacher, also typing and my librarian. And I was a rather rambunctious young person, had lots of words that might surprise you. And she pulled me aside one day. Right? The class had run out and she said, “Nathan, come here.” She got down on her knees. She said, “I don’t ever want you to lose your imagination or your energy. Just like one of the major problems with adults is they forget how to have fun. They forget just the wonder and the are of creation and who God’s made you to be. But self-discipline. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, and you need to figure out the time and the place. You need to figure out when is the right time to have that energy, When is the right time to have that fun and save it for those times.” So you designers and programmers and user interface consultants and all of the business admin people remember that your gifts and skills are glorified to God, however you use them well wherever you’re using them, to the best of your ability to bring glory to God, bring other people to see His hope and joy and really to do what God said. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself and make disciples. So that’s just an encouragement for you. I want a couple examples are simple I think. One…Teacher’s right? If you’re a teacher and you’re teaching young people that want to join the tech field, that’s amazing. Point them to what that is. It’s got to be more than a paycheck. You’ve got to do more than just make good money in that field. Let’s talk about what makes you passionate. What are you excited about? Why do you want to be in that field? Maybe you’re an artist, maybe you’re an organized person. Maybe you’re someone that sees a problem and knows it. Tech could fix it. Those are all incredible reasons to join.
[00:08:11] Another example would be someone like my bookkeeper is amazing and that might sound odd. Know like how? Well I’ve never met her in real life. We got connected through one of my board members and she is not only a go getter of bookkeeping, which is I’m passionate about running a nonprofit. When we take donations, I have to make sure I know where that money is and be able to show other people where that money is. And that’s a huge deal for me and that’s not my skill set. Like I went to college to become an orthodontist and it was basically statistics and biochem that washed me out when I was like, “Oh no, I’m bad at this and working really hard, I get a C.” So if I run a nonprofit, I have a gifted person in that. But not only a gifted person, but someone who has the imagination to recognize my passion. And it suggests things like, “Hey, did you?” And by the way, I know imagination and accounting is not a con, but we want to hear but hear me out like, “Hey, have you thought about and now I’ve got QuickBooks Online and I’ve got this new CRM to keep track of my contacts and make it seamless with my board members. And now I’ve got a digital assistant who can support me in certain specific things that like they understand the vision. I don’t need to be the person doing this. I can pay somebody else, but I didn’t know how to get that.” Like that was all done from someone who’s accounting, passionate and capable coming to me and saying, “Hey, like, I know I’m keeping your books and have you ever thought about this?” Like, I love that. That is something as someone who understands technology and can use that, oh, there’s a client portal now, that’s all amazing stuff that I had to have explained to me, and I have some trainings coming up to help explain it a little or explain it to me a little more. But just understand imagination is key and it’s powerful and it’s beautiful and that’s what’s driving you to technology. Use it, right? Game designers, I’m looking at you.
Nathan [00:09:54] Trueplay. We talked with Brent Dusing of Trueplay, a guy who started a game design studio because he wants to see games reflect biblical truths. He wants to be the marvel of video games. I kind of argued he might be becoming the VeggieTales video games in a really good way, and the idea of being game designers. You can make games that glorify God. It is possible. You don’t have to just go with what’s currently making money because at the end of the day it shouldn’t be a bottom line drive. It should be our passion to see need to see God’s kingdom come.
Nathan [00:10:24] All right. So that’s our first. Second is just a reminder to keep our priorities. When we talk about priorities, we remember that there is a kind of a stratification of importance. The first thing is that we’re a child of God, first and foremost, no matter what we’re doing, we’re child of God. So I’m a you actually all of us are sons of God specifically, and we use that language because one Jesus uses it, but two, because it’s that image of everyone becomes someone in the inheritance. We don’t have children of God. And then like some get some things, some get others. Everyone’s a son of God because sons are the ones who got the inheritance. And in this context, Jesus speaking into. So we’re all sons of God. We all get the Holy Spirit, we all get eternal salvation, We all get called into good works we’re to do that God’s prepared beforehand for us to do Ephesians 2:10 tells us.
Nathan [00:11:14] So in light of this. All right, we have our priority as a child of God. First and foremost, I’m doing the three things Jesus told me to do. I am one loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Two, loving my neighbor as myself. And Jesus extends that to our enemies. Even our enemies are our neighbors. And in fact, by loving our enemies, we’re showing them that we’re neighbors and we’re showing them Christ. As Jesus teaches us with the story of the Good Samaritan. And three, we’re making disciples. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 28, we’re going to go and we’re going to make disciples. What does that mean? We’re going to help other people trust and follow Jesus. We’re not just teaching them a bunch of Bible verses. We’re not forcing conversions on people. We are showing them the hope that exists in God and their purpose that can only be found in the freedom of Christ where we’re not living, to try to make our own identity. And out of that we are then freeing them to do the same. Right now they can go and make more disciples. So I guess remember that first priority. Then it’s if we’re married, our spouses are second priority. We are co serving with our spouse, we to become one in this scenario. So a husband marries a wife, they become one flesh before God. And this is two things. One, it’s a it’s a representation of this trinity. We have a husband, a wife, and the Holy Spirit in this court of three strands, right? That is so often used in church. That’s beautiful and that’s great. You always have a buddy. You always have that prayer partner where two or more can gather in Jesus name. That’s amazing. It’s also a space for us to become holy because that person is going to draw out of us all the things that we were able to hide when we don’t have to live with somebody. So there’s that peace, this constant trying to out serve, this little bit of an echo of the Trinity where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are constantly in submission to one another with a Father calls the Son to serve. And yet Jesus says, “I choose to lay down my own life. The Father gave me this directive and I do it on purpose, right? No one takes it from me.” And then we’re told later that the Father will submit all of creation to the Son who’s earned the name above all names. Right? We have this loving, ongoing, co-equal relationship in the Trinity that is, I mean, echoed. Don’t go too far with it. But it’s there to Holy Spirit and dwelled Christians were to becoming one flesh that’s beautiful. And not only that it’s a representation of the whole point of history. At this point, we’re going to be reunited as the Bride of Christ to God. And that’s amazing. That’s going to be what eternity looks like is the beauty and oneness of marriage. But with a perfect God and with flesh that isn’t broken anymore. That’s incredible.
Nathan [00:13:51] So when we think about our priorities, we are, I’m a son of God first. I’m a married person second. If I’m married, if I’m not married, then single is my purpose in this season, right? Whether it’s divorced, single or single, yet married or pre married, yet to be married, this idea is like that. That’s my calling in this season. This is where God has put me and that becomes my priority. Lord, how do I use this season, this time, this effort you’ve given me well? There are benefits of both. Look to Paul for some of that. But this conversation does need to kind of filter down through that. The third is into our kids if we have them. There are children to disciple. They’re a mission field for us and we are loving them and intentionally investing our time, our focus, our money. We’re investing our humility because it takes a lot of humility to raise a kid well. We are going to be working out what God’s doing in us with them. There are our first mission field. And then the last one is the actual workforce mission field out there. This is the spot where God has cast you. Jesus talks about that mustard seed, right? That the Kingdom of God is like mustard seed. It’s cast into a garden and it grows and it becomes a tree that the birds land in. Keep in mind that you are a mustard seed being tossed into some garden that God has planted you in. And we do need to be intentional about that. We need to be thoughtful about where God has put us. But at the end of the day, that’s part of being the kingdom of God. It’s part of the salt and the light that you’re called to be. Tim Keller points out that being salt and light means that God’s going to throw you into places where you want to preserve a little bit of God’s goodness in that space, not because you are doing anything special, but because God lives in you and you are going to produce fruit in accordance with it.
Nathan [00:15:31] So I just remember in these encouragements that the first is going to be that our imagination is God given and we’re going to use it to his core. The second is that we’re going to have our priorities, and the third is that we’re going to keep our eyes on Christ, that Jesus is the author and the perfector of our faith, that He is the great example of what we’re doing, and that when He set aside his godhood to put on flesh and to step into our situation, to save us from what we rightfully deserve, because He loved us, that then He calls and tells us to do the same, that He says that you’re going to love others because you were first loved, as John says in first John. And just that picture that all right, Like I’m loving my kids with that attitude. Like I’m a child of God. I can look at Jesus as my example and I can remember that the kingdom of God grows in me, not because I’m good enough, but because God is good enough. So when we keep our eyes on Christ, we will see what how to act. And we can then see more quickly when we start to pivot, which brings us to our conscience. So when we keep our eyes on Christ, by the way, we’re going to do that by reading Scripture, by attending a Bible preaching church, and by having a healthy praise and prayer life that we’re going to come before the Lord in relationship, not just seeking to take, but seeking to learn, seeking to submit our wills so that God’s will will be done, His kingdom come and it’ll be on Earth as it is in Heaven. Because it’s not the default right now. It will be, God’s already won his sovereign in that, and yet we are invited into the space in between. That’s what we want to make sure we’re faithful with, even in these tech spaces, which can be so distracting and often such a spot where humans leverage their will, whether God wants it or not. And I think that’s where we come into our cautions is the first is when we are called into a mission specifically. So, you know, you’ve been called into this workplace. You know, you’ve been called to this good work, you’ve been equipped for it. There’s been open doors or closed doors that God just miraculously opened and now you’re in that space.
Nathan [00:17:30] The first would be a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way. Please don’t yell at the seeds. There’s this picture of us working in the field and we’ve been given a faithful. I guess we’ve been we’ve been stewarded an opportunity and we want to be faithful with that opportunity. So we’re like, all right, like for my work example, “Lord, you’ve called me to this ministry. I was a teacher. I’m now running a nonprofit. I do this ministry to help families love God and use tech. And I’m 100% sure that’s where I’m supposed to be right now.” Because one, how God gifted me. Two, The convictions he laid in my heart. Three, the people he set into my life to nudge and encourage and challenge me on kind of my processes, on why I was different places and it comes out to where I know I’m here. Therefore, well then I should work seven days a week, 6 hours a day, right? Like that’s I should do that because this is what I’m called to. But remember the priorities. I need to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And not only love God by working hard. Like I love God by, well, loving my wife well and serving the love of my kids and serving and loving. I didn’t even include that in the previous one. I went right to work, but I meant serving in the greater community. And we can do that with our job. That’s also part of how I love God. So then if I’m not working seven days a week, sixteen hours a day, how much time do I give this mission? Like, how do I and my brain, we’re six years into this. There’s been so many days, weeks, months where I’ve been like, “I just I can’t take a day off. I can’t take an evening off. I understand the kids are sick, but like, I have to get this done because God called me to it.” Pastors, this is a thing. I’ve seen it with my friends who have become pastors and a few of them who’ve burnt out of being pastors. This is a thing. It’s really, really hard to step down when you know you’re called to it. And yet the caution in this one is don’t yell at the seed. So we’re told scripturally that God calls us to field, to plant and sow seed. Cool. So you might till the soil and break it up. And that’s hard work. And you might even cast seeds out there or, you know, intentionally embed them in the soil, right? And raise your chances of it growing. That’s really good. And yet, at the end of the day, God has to make it rain and He has to make the sunshine and He’s got to make the seed grow. And it’s not going to be a matter of you yelling at the seeds that’s going to make that process. And we can get so frustrated, right? Like if I just worked a little harder, if I put in a little more time, if I just had a good enough idea, then this would finally click and God would be glorified and I would prove that He didn’t mess up by calling me to this mission. And that might sound silly to you, but like I thought those exact same thoughts and this is what I was trying to express to my board one day when I was like, “I don’t know if this job is hard because I’m doing it wrong or hard because I’m like in the wrong spot. Like I’m not faithfully fall in and are just because it’s hard and like, I don’t know what it is. Where is the spot where I’m telling the so and being faithful and where is the spot where I’m starting to yell at the seed?” I mean, like, why don’t you grow faster? And at the end of the day, I just want to encourage you in this challenge that we just need to submit our work, submit our passions and our purpose. The Lord, it might be that He’s calling you to do it a new way. It might be that it’s just a really hard season. In that case, it was just a really hard season, like a couple of years and it’s still hard. It’s similar difficulty, but it’s much more clear now. Like there was two plus years where I wasn’t even sure gospel tech was a thing. I was like, “Am I just kind of making something up and like hoping people join it? Like, am I actually called that this Lord?” So I want to challenge you to just pray it out. And if it is the Lord giving you what I would call and this isn’t my phrase, I just couldn’t remember where I heard it. A holy discontent, that idea that like, Man, there’s something wrong and you feel just the pressure to see a solution found the Lord’s giving that to you. That’s amazing. Submit it to Him and then see where he takes you on it. And he’s going to give you all sorts of clearance, but it’s going to fall in that same priority. It’s not going to call you away from being a son of God, a faithful spouse or single person, where He’s placed you a servant to those that He’s put you around, kids, community, that kind of thing. I enjoy your work in job, your vocation, in your space. So that’s the first.
Nathan [00:21:40] Second is just remember that quantity isn’t a quality. Yeah. Quantity isn’t a replacement for quality. Wow. I struggle. Quality is not. Quantity. All right. I’m going to erase that. Just remember that quality and quantity are different. The quantity is not a replacement for quality, but that I mean, when I was actively a teacher, I was part time teaching. I was running a nonprofit and my wife was pregnant with our fourth child. All right. You know what? This is a lot. I don’t think I can do this long term. Maybe I should just give up the nonprofit. And it was we prayed into it. We were convinced. And then myself and a board of five amazing humans were like, “Hey, this is something God’s equipped you for it. You have a passion for it. No one else is doing it. And this is a season. We need to do it pre-COVID.” So I was like, “Well, can’t I can’t like and I’m teaching.” And my argument was in teaching, I have office hours, kids know where I’m at and I can point to names and times where God has moved and worked. Kids have been set free, opportunities have been given to share the gospel and to share hope with young people who are dealing with addiction, dealing with abuse, dealing with gender identity, dealing with all sorts of mental health issues. And I’m the first person that come to before they go to a parent, before they go to a counselor, like I get to be the one to bridge that gap because they can’t tell anybody else. Right? They feel like they can tell me, That’s amazing. I don’t want to leave it. And an amazing mentor, Dr. Scott Rudin, came in and said, “Hey, I hear that. But two things. One doesn’t sound like you trust God, that God’s still going to provide for these kids even if you’re not there. Nathan. Two, it sounds like you don’t believe what God says, which is that the quantity of the harvest doesn’t prove the quality.” And I was like, “Well, I mean, like Fruit of the Spirit and all this, which is your go to right? And you can tell a tree by its fruit.” He’s like, “No, no, I know what I’m talking about. I’m saying that sometimes God’s going to call you for one.” Which, it’s a heavy thought. He used the example of Philip in Macedonia and the account of Acts. The church is dispersed and Philip goes to Macedonia and has an amazing minister. People are coming to believe in Christ and they’re seeing themselves set free. And it’s absolute remarkable, changes the culture of the area. And then God goes, “Hey, you need to go to this road.” And he goes there and there’s a guy, an Ethiopian eunuch on a chariot, and he shares the gospel and the man’s baptized and Philip is gone, never sees him again, apparently never goes back to Macedonia. Even though it was incredible and he was leading the charge and God was moving, you get sent somewhere else because one guy needed to hear the gospel. And as historical accounts go, that guy apparently started the church in North Africa. It was a huge movement for the Church of Jesus Christ to recognize that the Holy Spirit is moving, and it’s worth leaving an amazing ministry to get the people that God is calling to put it in the place of. So we want to recognize that first and foremost.
Nathan [00:24:43] The second piece, which comes from another amazing pastor who’s been in my life is Dr. Steve Schell, who used the image of you can count the seeds in an apple, but not the apples in a seed. And the idea there simply being it’s absolutely reasonable that God’s going to call you to get that one apple right? Sure, you can be like, “Oh, like this apple has seven seeds in it, right?” You did that one thing and you were able to share the gospel with a small group of people. But when one of those seeds gets planted and it grows into a tree, you have no idea the impact that’s going to have. The exact example that Schell would use is the the example of Paul going to Lystra and Derbe. He goes, he preaches the gospel in one location. He’s stoned to death. And the same day he shares the gospel and is raised to life and leaves. And yet we find out later that that was Timothy’s family who was saved in that process. Apparently Mom and Grandma came to know the Lord. He was raised up by these women who love Jesus and who trained him up in that way. And he goes on to powerfully lead churches and see amazing change happen. Because of this one day where Paul was called to what appeared to be a horrible outcome at the time, like we see later reference to apparently he either has…Anyway, I won’t get too distracted, but it impacts his future ministry to the point where God has to come and say like, “You can be in this other city, Paul, because I have people here and no one’s going to harm you.” And he gets the season to like kind of unravel some of the anxiety and stress and probably PTSD of his repeated run ins prior to that. What does that mean, that Jesus was willing to spend that one situation to get that one seed in that city.
Nathan [00:26:21] So just keep in mind, as we’re thinking through wherever you’re working, you don’t simply work a tech job because, well, look at the influence I have. Look at how I could change culture, look at the way I could embed myself in this company and make a difference for Jesus. That’s awesome. Please do it. But sometimes God’s going to call you away from that because He has something better. And that’s where our faithfulness needs to be. Another example that as I was reading Scripture, the Lord laid on my heart was Isaiah. You read the the properties of Isaiah, you get 30 plus years of work from a guy. And at the very beginning when he says, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” And God goes, “Great, here’s where you’re going to preach to the nations.” And he’s like, “Awesome, How long?” And God’s response is, “Until no one has listened and they’re taken away into slavery, until the buildings are empty and the sheep graze where people used to live. That’s how long.” Like just told up front, your ministry is not going to matter. No one’s going to listen. But when we look 600 plus 700 years later to Jesus’s ministry, who does He cite the most? Isaiah. That’s the proof text for Jesus. He comes back to that text over and over and over again going, “And that was about me and that was about me.” Isaiah laid down what would seem to be a fruitless ministry for decades because he was called to it, not because he saw any specific fruit. In fact, he saw the opposite of fruit. He saw everyone get dragged away and he was like, “Okay, okay, All right. That’s cool. I guess.” I mean, I guess Jeremiah would be on par with that. But we’re talking about just the number of references. People were not repentant under Isaiah, and yet Jesus uses that as the proof text of, “I’m the Messiah. Here’s a guy who knew about it.”. So when we think about it just being intentional, second caution is let’s not mistake the fruit as God’s sanction in why we’re there. God’s going to work whether or not you’re being faithful. And we’ll return to that later.
Nathan [00:28:13] The third is just the reminder to not gain the world, but lose our souls. And I think in my heart this comes out twofold. One, when we use ministry as an excuse to overlook our priorities, when we don’t take care of our marriage, we don’t take care of our hearts, when we don’t take care of our kids. But we say, “Lord, look at how many people I’ve reached.” I won’t use any specific examples, but we’ve seen that with ministers in the last five years. We’ve seen that with individuals. I’m sure that, you know, there is this temptation of, man, this job is so demanding, but if I can just do it, well, then God can get glory in the space. That’s amazing. But first things first. Don’t get in the world and lose your soul. Don’t start that company. Don’t gain that job. Don’t make that money. I know all the good you could do with it. But if God’s not at the core of it, if He’s not at the root foundation that you’re springing from, it’s going to get distorted. Best case scenario, it burnt to the ground and you’re still saved. Worst case scenario, you give up stuff God called you to and you get hard and bitter and jaded and start to blame God for really what was your fault. So in these cases, we need to remember that we’re going to be faithful. We know we’re called to it. We just don’t know the season, right? Sometimes it’s now, sometimes it’s five years from now. Sometimes it’s just something. We’re going to lay the groundwork for that someone else is going to go build. Like David with the temple, right? He was like, “I’m passionate about this.” He goes, “No, you’re a man of blood. Your son’s going to do it.” By the way, God never asked for this. But I see your heart. I love that. And I’m I’m going to allow your child to build this, but not you. Okay? Like we recognize it was still a God given passion that he had.
Nathan [00:29:49] So that to end this conversation, I promise some biblical example. So there’s three and really it comes this idea of calling the first would be Esther and Esther 4:14. We see Esther called to such a time as this and we hear that used a lot. What I want to recognize is that God put Esther in a spot to risk her life, to share truths about God and God’s people to come against evil that few were equipped to do right? She was in a unique space and a unique, unique time. It had a very finite window with which to step in to a situation that should have cost her her life if she had died in that situation. And yet the same outcome came. She was still called to such a time as this. Keep in mind, the time is this was she was called to be queen. No, no. She was called to lay down her life for her people. That was the time she was called to. It just happened that the king thought fondly of her and the Lord had equipped her with apparently unsurpassable beauty. Good for her. But it was her life that was she was called to lay down.
Nathan [00:30:51] The second example would be Joseph In Genesis, we see Genesis 45, and again in Genesis 50, we see Joseph say, “Hey, listen, brothers of mine, I know that you sold me into slavery because you were bitter and jealous and angry at me and what yet what you meant for bad God used for good.” And he repeats it again in 50 when his brothers come back and they’re like, “Ahh so our dad died. Are you going to murder us now?” And it’s like, “No, no, no. Like, guys, seriously, God used that on purpose, okay? You had plans for evil. God was good enough to turn that for good. And He saved lots of people’s lives from doing that. So don’t be afraid. I’m not bitter at you, right? I see that God was able to use this for good. It wasn’t wasted. It wasn’t actually even your plans that were being done. God used that for his plan.” So when we think about Joseph and we think about this idea of calling recognize we might be called to hard seasons, we might have even made mistakes that the Lord can still use just because you got in for the wrong reason. Maybe the Lord’s going to ask you to stay and to serve it out and to be a light to others. But keep in mind, at the end of the day, it’s not us impressing others for God. It’s not us making enough money to somehow make the Kingdom of God go forward. And it’s not us being powerful enough that now we can matter for God. We matter at all levels. I didn’t get a chance in this conversation. I will one day. I talk about some of my my grandparents, some prayer warrior, Jesus loving couple of them very Norwegian grandparents who wouldn’t be the dynamic leaders you might expect those who were powerful in their places of work and their families generationally. For me as a grandson, those are the conversations we need to be having when we’re thinking about this.
Nathan [00:32:33] The third and final is a caution with a caution. Don’t forget that Pharaoh was also called to such a time as this. Pharaoh’s heart saw God’s goodness and hated it. That’s what Judas did, right? We see Jesus saying, “This woman loves me. She understands that I need to die so that everyone can have life.” And Judas goes, “Yeah, I see that and I hate you. I do not want that kind of a king. I want a king that’s going to kick butt and take names now with these Romans and I’m going to go get a new one.” It was that. It was God’s goodness that hardened him. Same thing with Pharaoh. God could absolutely still work sovereignly and repentant people, but He’s not scared of unrepentant people. And as we work through this, keep in mind that Pharaoh was unrepentant, still use for God. We see it in Isaiah eight, where Assyria is unrepentant and still used by God. Two ways, actually. They get it on the one side with being a source of judgment and on the other side of being judged for being the source of judgment. And that idea that God is not intimidated by our will, by our power, by our direction, He will use us. The question is, are we going to be repentant and following His will or is He going to exert His well on us? And to recognize that in these places of work, in these giant tech companies, in some of these industries that can feel a little bit cultish sometimes with their mentality of, “Well, we’re going to go out in the world and we’re going to make the world a better place by our willpower.” It feels a little Tower of Babel-ish at times. That doesn’t mean don’t be in those spaces. It means don’t let your heart buy into that concept. I will speak as a teacher. I multiple times bought into that concept. Yeah, I’m an educator and as an educator I am making the world a better place because I bring information and I bring, you know, education. I bring and you get this idea that, like now the world’s better because people have been educated. In this process of starting a nonprofit, I was forced to recognize, man, Hitler’s problem wasn’t that he needed more education. He was actually crazy smart. That was part of the problem. He was very well-educated and an incredible orator, and he used his power to exert his evil heart on the world. What we don’t need is just simply more education for education sake. What we need is changed hearts to be able to see that education for what it is an amazing opportunity to reach others and to see the world around us in greater depth and ask great questions. Because at the end of those questions, there’s a great God with amazing answers about our identity, about our purpose, and about the world He’s put us in and what we’re called to do in it.
Nathan [00:34:55] So in closing, my encouragement is please remember to keep your imagination. Please recall your priorities and your purpose, and please turn your eyes to Jesus, the author and protector of your faith. Let’s remember with caution that we can give up our souls to gain the world. And that’s not a worthwhile tradeoff. The God’s got this world in His hands. He’s got it covered. And He loves you enough to say, “Don’t, don’t slip into that.” And let’s remember at the end of the day that our hearts, our priorities is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, loving our neighbors and our enemies is ourselves to serve and love others, to make disciples, and then to work the God excuse me, work the work God’s given us. The vocations, as we call it sometimes, that God’s given us to do well at it. To show how good He is in whatever our work is. It can be in the big tech, it can be in the games, it can be in the VR and the social media. But at the end of the day, we have to make sure it’s clearing what God is asking us to clear. There are certainly some games that would be hard to work on. There are some internet products that it’d be hard to produce because they might just be immoral or just flat out lies about something God has said is otherwise. And so in those spaces we come humbly and we work as hard as we can in the words we’re supposed to. We repent and we turn away. We cut off and gouge out the stuff that’s leading us away from them. We make sure that we are doing this with hearts that are celebrating what God has given us, using the talents and gifts and helping others do the same.
Nathan [00:36:22] So I hope this is encouraging and challenging for you. I hope it made sense as we talk about the cautions, the encouragements and the biblical reminders of where God calls people into spaces and what that can look like. I hope you’ll join me next time as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.