Article – Does God Get You Fired?

From left to right: Joel, Andy, Nate and Victor doing an interview on the roof of the Union Rescue Mission.

Written by Carter Theis

When we went to Skid Row, our team had a chance to interview Andy Bales, the CEO of the Union Rescue Mission. The Union Rescue Mission is a big multi-million dollar operation located in the center of Skid Row, Los Angeles. Just outside its walls, homeless and mentally ill people flood the streets as crack cocaine and open drug use is seen in abundance. As we walked inside, I felt as if we had quite literally entered an Embassy surrounded by a war zone.

As we followed the head of public relations into the elevator, we found ourselves ascending to the top of their seven story building, overlooking the skyline of downtown LA. If this was not weird enough, as we approached the CEO, Andy, we noticed he was just standing up there waiting for us! Usually when you meet or interview the head of some organization or business, you have to wait for them, right? But not this time. There stood Andy, his collar shirt bearing the Rescue Mission’s logo, with his hands held together as if he was a groomsmen in a wedding.

Andy turned out to be an amazing guy; proof that God rewards the humble. But when Nate asked him how he got started working with the homeless, Andy touched on two major experiences in his life, which are worth sharing. The first was his own hypocrisy. Andy said that while he was in school, he preached a sermon 6 times in a row, urging people to serve the poor. Yet after he preached this message for the 6th time, a homeless man asked him for his sandwich one day and Andy promptly denied him. Instantly, he realized his own hypocrisy.

Turns out- God gave Andy a second chance to serve that homeless man. But not only did he start serving the poor and homeless directly, Andy also sought job opportunities in organizations such as churches and city council to leverage a stronger hand in helping the poor. However, as he worked for these organizations, he found that they had no interest in his passion. He was eventually shunned by the City Council and later put on paid leave from his church.

As I listened to Andy share his experiences with us, I realized I’ve experienced similar issues with my quest to do a decent magazine. Before I committed my whole life to enoch magazine, I too was fired. I worked for a big Christian TV company. I thought I would be able to do great things with all the money and connections they had. But the more I tried to do what I thought was right, I, just like Andy, was shunned… demoted and finally let go.

We both experienced the so-called “good guys” turn their backs on us, which caused me to ponder this thought: “Good guys” like the church or city council are not necessarily the ones you’ll end up working with if you want to serve the poor. When we went to Skid Row late at night, the only other people we came across that were out there helping the poor were two Armenian gentlemen who claimed to have no religious affiliation. Experiencing that, made me realize that serving others has nothing to do with what church you go to or what religion you claim to be a part of. You either feed and clothe the homeless, or you don’t, and fire the guys who want to.

I think for some of us, God will remove us from a church or job position, cause he knows our heart’s true desire to serve people through him. When that is spotted…some of us find ourselves being escorted out of a comfortable religious setting or a job, thereby eliminating the middle man and putting us in direct connection with the man upstairs!

Andy said he was sitting at home after being let go from the church and city council, when he received a call from the Union Rescue Mission. Not only did they want to give him a job…they wanted him to lead them as CEO. It’s almost like God was saying, “Ok Andy, you want to serve the poor? Then stop fooling around with the Church and the City… I’m putting you in charge of the biggest homeless mission in America.”

When I was demoted and then later fired, I had a similar heart like Andy’s. But the “good guys” I thought I needed to be connected to were not the “good guys” God had in mind. Luke Chapter 10 says: (1) After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. (2) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (3) Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (4) Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. I’m just glad I got to meet Andy up on that roof and know that there are others out there who are willing to admit past rejections and struggles. That was cool.

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to “Article – Does God Get You Fired?”
  1. Don Garza says:

    This is true. There are many false people out there who will do everything in their power to make you believe that you are the hypocrite or the bad person . We are called to serve each other in different capacities. But it will always be a battle for your mind when you are doing right and you are doing what is right and you are truly the servant that is serving and doing good..

    Andy proves that when we tell the truth and, we truly want to help by telling the truth, that it is a struggle, it will make others uncomfortable , but in the end , when one has gone through the emotional hell others will throw at you then and only then can the truth set you free and bring freedom to the captives. The patient dumping issue was a case in point. No non profit wants to ever admit they can’t help everyone, yet only one non-profit led the way to address that issue and it was ANDY , then the other Missions followed suit. And it was interesting to see how God blessed ANdy and the Union Rescue Mission with avenues to address that problem and bring to light that issue of hospitals dumping people in skid row, the sick and the weak to die. And instead of losing funding because they publicly admitted they were not a hospital , they got more exposure and probably more people to use their resources to help. Come one Andy came out in a movie.

    It is because of Andy I am about to head back to church. I can see that there are CEOS of these Missions that truly do outreach instead of staying behind the big fortress like walls at those missions. It is tough to have a mental illness living in skid row because many times we are abused spiritually and we are told that we don’t need our medication by these preachers and we only need God. I can attest that God provides many ways to help all of us through medicine. We are told we have chronic illnesses because God is punishing us, that we have diabetes, medical problems , mental illness, I have an autoimmune illness destroying the myelin sheath around my nerves , ever so slowly , and I am a veteran of the first gulf war and deal wit PTSD. But these preachers here accuse us and tell us we are weak and that we don”t need medicine we need God. I need both. SO it is difficult to even want to step into a church for me.

    When I think of Andy Bales these are the words from Isaiah I think about.

    He shall feed His flock like a shepherd,
    and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, with His arm,
    He shall feed His flock like a shepherd,
    and He shall gather the lambs with his arm, with His arm;

    and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young,
    and gently lead, and gently those that are with young.

    Come unto Him all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden,
    and He will give you rest,

    come unto Him all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden,
    and He will give you rest.

    Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him,
    for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest,
    and ye shall find rest unto your souls,

    take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him,
    for He is meek and lowly of heart, and He shall find rest,
    and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

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