Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Finding Good People – And Not Meddling

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    March 26, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  There are different types of workers; some need close supervision while others do not. Some need very specific instructions on how to proceed with a task or project, others are content to receive general guidelines about what is expected and the latitude to determine how to proceed from there.

    The challenge for the effective leader is to understand what each employee requires to be able to perform most productively, provide what is needed, and understand how closely to supervise the work. Many years ago, then U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stated, “The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what needs to be done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

    This is because there are also different types of leaders. Some prefer rolling up their sleeves and getting directly involved; others like to offer close supervision; and still others delegate work assignments and trust their staff to get the job done, checking back only if they have questions or need further instruction.

    My own working style has always leaned toward minimum of structure and freedom to determine the best way to approach my work. I have had supervisors who demonstrated confidence, giving assignments and letting me do them my own way. Other bosses, however, chose to keep close tabs on what I was doing. Some even micromanaged my work, which I found annoying, even disconcerting. I observed that other people, however, needed closer management. Clearly, we cannot lead everyone exactly the same way.

    So, as Roosevelt said, good leaders understand how to choose the right people and then discern how much direction they need, without being meddlesome. The Scriptures address this important balance:

    Know the ones you lead. Leaders know what they want to accomplish. They also should strive to know and understand those through whom those goals will be accomplished. Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds…. the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family(Proverbs 27:23-27).

    Demonstrate concern and interest in those you lead. Jesus used the metaphor of the shepherd to explain His commitment to His followers. Good leaders are wise to observe His example. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away…. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep(John 10:11-15).

    Recognize the uniqueness of everyone you lead. Everyone on a team has different gifts, talents and experience. Recognizing their unique contributions enables the leader to entrust each of them with responsibility – and authority – commensurate with what they have to offer. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body…(1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What kind of worker are you? Do you prefer a lot of freedom in how you pursue your tasks, or do you like ongoing direction and support from those to whom you report?

     

    1. How does a good leader go about selecting the right people for what needs to be done, as Roosevelt suggested? Once those individuals are chosen and brought to the team, how can the leader avoid meddling in what they are doing?

     

    1. Do you think it is easy to discern what people need to perform their jobs most effectively, as the passage from Proverbs says we should do? Why or why not?

     

    1.  Why is it important for people to sense their leaders genuinely care for them and have their best interests at heart? Do you agree this is even necessary? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

     Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:10

  2. Being Ready Always To Give An Answer

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    March 19, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  “Why do you go to work?” There are many answers to this question. One reason, obviously, is to earn a living. Another, if you are fortunate enough, is to engage in a profession or craft that you enjoy and find rewarding. Our work can benefit others through the products and services we can provide. For some, work serves as an activity that fills the time between weekends.

    We could think of other reasons for going to work. But how often do we start a workday with the attitude that we are there to represent Jesus Christ – even if we are not employed by a church, a non-profit Christian organization, or even work for a company owned by followers of Jesus?

    This reason might not always be in the forefront of our minds, but it should be. Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, do your work as for the Lord….” We can demonstrate this by the diligence and quality with which we perform our jobs. But we also should recognize that through our work we can have opportunities to encounter people who might want to know more about Him. So, we need to be prepared.

    My friend, Tom, is a general manager for a manufacturing company. Not long ago an important client from another country came for a business visit. He saw Tom distributing some tickets to workers at the plant and asked, “What is that?” Upon learning the tickets were for an event at Tom’s church, where a speaker would be talking about his faith in Jesus Christ, the client was filled with questions.

    One by one, Tom responded to the guest’s questions with sensitivity and kindness. The client explained his wife was a follower of Christ, but in his home country most people embrace a different religion. As Tom provided answers, the visitor frequently expressed amazement, commenting, “No one ever told me anything like that!” or, “I never heard it explained that way.” That led to more conversations over the following days.

    When Tom told me this story, he admitted he had not been expecting this opportunity to talk about his faith in Jesus. But it was clear he understood his responsibility not only to serve his company and clients to the best of his ability, but also to serve and represent the Lord. He was following 2 Timothy 2:15, which instructs, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Tom also was applying two key principles for communicating one’s faith to others:

    Always be ready to respond. Opportunities to speak with others about Jesus Christ often come in surprising ways. So it helps to expect the unexpected. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect(1 Peter 3:15).

    Seek wisdom for responding properly. There is no “cookie-cutter” approach to personal evangelism. It requires wisdom – and trusting in God’s direction – in what to say, and how to say it appropriately – to fit the specific situation. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone(Colossians 4:5-6).

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Why do you to work?

     

    1. What do you think about the idea of consciously going to work with the recognition that one of our responsibilities is to serve and represent Jesus Christ?

     

    1. How can we best “be ready” or “always be prepared” to tell others about what we believe when the opportunity presents itself?

     

    1. One of the last things Jesus said to His followers was that they were to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). How has the expansion of global commerce served to enhance our ability to carry out this “commission”?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

    Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17, 24; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Peter 2:12

  3. Perilous Pitfalls Of Pride

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    March 12, 2018 – Jim Mathis  Like cancer or high blood pressure, pride can be a silent killer. A few year ago, a song by singer/songwriter Roger Miller lamented the high divorce rate with a line that said, “It’s my belief pride is the chief cause in the decline in the number of husbands and wives.”

    Pride is not only a principal cause of the breakup of relationships; it can also be the source of bad business deals, family conflicts, and wars. It can cause us to seek revenge and retaliation. “They shot first.” “That territory was ours before that happened.” “We want a better deal, a bigger piece of the pie.” “I was wronged.”

    A number of years ago, I was standing at the counter of the coffeehouse I owned when an old friend walked in. He surveyed the menu on the wall and asked if I knew how to make all those things. I quickly responded that I had developed all the recipes and trained the baristas. So yes, I knew how to make the drinks. The fact that I still remember that conversation more than 15 years later tells me I was very guilty of pride in that moment. My ego was challenged and I felt the need to defend myself.

    Perhaps I was feeling insecure, or just wanted to let him know that I was in control of the place – and that included the menu. I am confident that today I would have made a more lighthearted comment and would soon have forgotten about the incident. In fact, in a similar situation that came up recently, I just answered in the affirmative and smiled. It was a much better response. I like the advice of Proverbs 14:3, which says, “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.”

    Pride presents its ugly head when we least expect it. It causes us to try to defend ourselves at the slightest challenge. It causes us to belittle others to build ourselves up through insults and put-downs. Harassment is generally caused by trying to build up ourselves while we are tearing down somebody else. We have been hearing a lot about sexual harassment in the workplace. Without seeking to oversimplify the recurring problem, it is often caused by a man trying to build up his own distorted view of masculinity or hide his own insecurity. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

    However, there is another side to pride to consider. In Matthew 22:39, Jesus instructed us to love our neighbors as ourselves. In this command, Jesus was implying we need to love ourselves first to effectively love others. Pride causes us to take credit for our work; we take pride in our accomplishments and want to turn out quality work – work that we are proud for others to see. And pride encourages me to take care of my physical body.

    Business people, and especially entrepreneurs, need to be able to promote themselves, but we must do it in such a way that pride does not become sin – centered on ourselves and poisoning relationships. There is a fine line between pride and arrogance, and between self-confidence and excessive pride. To know where those lines are requires wisdom and discernment. Humility, with strength, can be an elusive thing without God’s wisdom.

    Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you hear the word “pride,” especially within the context of the workplace, what is your initial reaction – positive or negative? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What in your view is the difference between healthy, productive pride and the kind of pride that can cause conflict and damage relationships? Can you cite any examples you have observed?

     

    1. How can we feel pride in who we are and the work we do in a good sense of the word, without crossing into the realm of arrogance, self-centeredness, and the temptation to promote ourselves at the expense of others?

     

    1. Why do you think excessive pride is so commonly observed in the business and professional world, while genuine humility seems rare in comparison?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 12:9, 13:10, 15:33, 16:5,18-19, 18:12, 21:4, 22:4, 29:23

  4. Understanding The Times

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    March 5, 2018 – Rick Boxx  While I was partnering with a friend, Jerry, on a consulting job, he shared a profound insight with Tom, who was one of our clients. Jerry’s observation was simple, but profound: “Success is the greatest impediment to greatness.”

    Once success settles in, Jerry explained, it is not uncommon for leaders to believe achievements are due to their own professional brilliance. As a result they start to assume their success is perpetual. They think that whatever decisions they make will always prove to yield more success. As markets and conditions change, however, successful people can easily be left behind if they are not constantly looking to understand the times, recognizing when important changes occur and adapting accordingly.

    Sometimes in today’s world, it seems the only thing that is unchanging is the reality that things can – and often do – change, sometimes at incredible speed. Embracing the status quo is an excellent strategy if you intend to be left behind while your competitors surge ahead.

    Change, of course, is hardly a new concept, although technology and communications have certainly played a role in accelerating the rate and scope of change. The Bible offers some wise observations about change, and the importance of our willingness to respond to it effectively.

    For instance, in the book of 1 Chronicles we find an interesting recounting of the great men who joined David in his battle against Saul. We learn about the, “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). They were astute observers of what was occurring around them, seeking to discern how best to respond to changing circumstances.

    The ancient book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes, also addresses the inevitability of change. The first verse of the third chapter begins with, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” It addresses changing demands of work in several ways:

    “A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…. A time to break down, and a time to build up…. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones…. A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew…” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-7).

    As we approach our work – formulating plans, developing strategies, undertaking projects, and evaluating results – it would be extremely beneficial to take a cue from the biblical men of Issachar, constantly seeking to understand the times so we will know what we should do not only to succeed, but also to pursue greatness.

    At the same time, excellent leaders know that understanding the times and being willing to change their approach do not require changing or compromising their values. Those remain constant, serving as a lighthouse amid the ever-shifting seas of change.

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book and inspiration for their new ministry name, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you read, “Success is the greatest impediment to greatness,” what does that say to you?

     

    1. How can we overcome the temptation to become caught up in our successes and fail to recognize and respond to important changes when they occur?

     

    1. Have you ever heard of the “men of Issachar” before, who understood their times and knew what they should do? How can we try to be like them?

     

    1. The book of Ecclesiastes lists a series of things stating when it is “a time for this, and a time for that.” How does having this kind of awareness – knowing when it is time for pursuing one thing or another – affect how you approach your work, or responsibilities you hold within your organization?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 23:13-15, 11:14, 15:22, 14:8, 16:1,3,9, 19:20, 20:24; Luke 14:28-31

  5. Being ‘Here To Serve’

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    February 26, 2018 – Jim Langley   For nearly 20 years, I have been signing off on emails and letters with the phrase, “Here to Serve. This began as I anticipated presiding over a 70-plus member Kiwanis Club. I wanted to communicate to our membership what I believed about our role as a service organization.

    I felt the Here to Serve motto explained why we met as a body of community workers, addressing the well-being of young people in our community. I found this slogan also fit my business model, since I considered it to be built more on service than sales. Once a sale is made, there must be a long-term commitment to serve client needs. My business website even opens with the phrase, Here to Serve!

    Then I had an epiphany. Much of my email correspondence had nothing to do with business or Kiwanis, yet I found myself using the same signoff for personal emails as well. This prompted me to consider what I was conveying through this unique way to end all of my written communications.

    I realized I was communicating my desire to serve God in all my business and personal dealings. This phrase has become a constant reminder to me about what is truly important in what I do and who I am. The idea of “servant leadership” has been with us in the marketplace at least since 1977, when Robert K. Greenleaf, a retired AT&T executive, presented this concept in his book, Servant Leadership.

    However, serving as a leader goes back much further. Biblical accounts show us the wonderful example Jesus Christ gave His disciples and all who have followed Him since then.

    John 13 tells of Jesus removing His outer garment and wrapping a towel around His waist prior to the Passover feast. He proceeded to wash the feet of all His disciples, explaining, “I have set for you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:15-17).

    At another time, Jesus told His followers, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many(Mark 10:45). Even as God incarnate, He was willing to humbly serve others.

    The past two decades of striving to serve God and others have taught me a remarkable truth. The Lord is pleased with our servant attitude and will bless more than we could ever imagine. Certainly more than we deserve. However, I caution against considering this a strategy to gain success or become recognized for what we do. Much of what we do for others may go unnoticed. What matters is trusting our actions please God and provide timely help for others in their time of need.

    Our focus in business is often on our ability, but as we commit to serve others, God’s focus is on our availability. Are you willing to make yourself available to whatever and whomever God puts in your path?

    Be prepared: Some of the circumstances you face may not be ones you had in mind. We need to stay alert to any opportunities to serve, knowing that if we fail to do so, we will miss out on wonderful blessings. In serving others, we also are serving our Lord. We should cherish the fact we are providentially Here to Serve!

    Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God; his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Think of someone who has served you in a special way, perhaps recently. What was that experience like for you – and how did you respond?
    2. How easy is it for you to adopt the attitude of being a servant to others? What are some factors or obstacles that can make that difficult?

     

    1. What does the examples shown by Jesus Christ tell you about God’s attitude toward serving others?

     

    1. Do you think a servant attitude – even servant leadership – is common, or rare, in today’s workplace? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages: Proverbs 22:20-21; Matthew 20:25-28; Galatians 5:13-15; Ephesians 6:7-8; 1 Peter 4:7-10

  6. Setting Goals For More Than Rewards

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    February 19, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy   What factors do you include when establishing the goals you strive to achieve each day? Many business and professional people see goals and outcomes as permanently intertwined. For instance, goals may be expressed in terms of expected rewards. However, such thinking can become very short-sighted.

    Max DePree passed away last year, but his wisdom lives on. He led the Herman Miller office furniture company for several decades, striving to give everyone in the organization a voice that was heard. As a result, it became known for its inclusivity and caring atmosphere. A noted business executive and author of five books, including Leadership is an Art and Leadership Jazz, DePree observed, “Goals and rewards are only parts, different parts, of human activity. When rewards become our goals, we are only pursuing part of our work.”

    Perhaps the titles of two of his other books, Called to Serve, and Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community, offer a clue on what DePree meant about the pitfall of regarding goals and rewards as one and the same. Rewards can take many forms, but typically they are self-serving, focused on greater compensation, professional advancement, prestige and power. Or a company may set goals to increase profits or expand market share.

    While such goals are not intrinsically wrong, they can keep us from embracing goals with broader impact and meaning. Such as helping others to grow professionally so they can realize their potential, even if it means moving on to opportunities beyond their current employment. Or casting a vision for the company to become a valued neighbor in the surrounding community. Or developing programs for addressing specific needs both within and outside of the organization.

    Those can all result in a sense of gratification, but will not necessarily enhance the corporate bottom line or one’s annual income. As DePree suggested, establishing goals apart from desired rewards can ultimately prove to be, we might say, more rewarding. Here are some principles from Proverbs that address the importance of giving as well as getting:

    Giving can be very gratifying. Sometimes the act of generosity results in tangible returns at a later time. Or it may simply provide the satisfaction of being of aid to others. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24-25).

    Serving others is an act of service to God. Sometimes we find ourselves inclined to think, “Someone should help those people.” Some of those times, it may be us that God is expecting to provide the needed assistance. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17).

    Setting goals beyond tangible rewards tests the motives. Lines between right and wrong can easily blur for goals established solely on the basis of intended rewards. Goals set primarily for the interests of others help to clarify inner motivations. “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart” (Proverbs 21:2).

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What is the process you use for setting goals? Do you typically try to make your goals both measurable and attainable?

     

    1. Do you agree with DePree’s statement, “When rewards become our goals, we are only pursuing part of our work”? What is your understanding of what he meant in saying this?

     

    1. How can we set goals that are not rewards-centered? In an environment when sales and profits can mean the difference between success and failure, even survival, do you think it is realistic to establish goals without linking them to specific rewards?

     

    1. Which of the principles cited from the book of Proverbs seems most meaningful for you? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 16:2, 17:3, 28:27, 31:8-9; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23-24

  7. Finding Peace In The Midst Of Change

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    February 12, 2018 – Catherine Gates   For most people, change is unsettling – even the idea of it. We tend to find comfort in the known, even when the known is not working so well. Some of the top reasons people resist change include: a sense of loss of control; fear of unexpected surprises; breaking routine and having to learn all over again; fear of failure, or at least a fear of making mistakes and producing subpar work in the learning process. If it involves a complete change in job status, such as a layoff, fears can mount exponentially.

    Given this prevalent preference for the familiar, how is it possible to find peace in the midst of change, especially change that seems like a complete upheaval? I only know of one way: Faith.

    I have been through many changes in my career – some welcomed, some not so much. They have included organizational restructuring, layoffs, and a complete shift in career that took twists and turns for 16 years. One very dramatic change involved moving halfway across the country with no prospects of a job. I refer to that season as my “Abraham experience”: I moved to a place where I had no connections. I had no idea what the job market looked like. And had no idea how I would fit into the culture. But I sensed God was leading me there.

    The story of Abraham gives us encouragement and hope during times of change on many levels. God asked Abraham to leave everything he knew – his family, friends, home, and land – to go to a place God would “show him.” God didn’t say where, or what it would be like. God did tell Abraham – or Abram, as he started out – he would be blessed. Abram moved to foreign lands, went through famine, fought enemies, and dealt with many years of being childless. But God told him his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. Genesis 15:6 tells us, “Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    How can we get through such times without being overwhelmed with fear and anxiety? Abraham serves as a great example:

    Seek to abide in the Lord. Abraham remained close to God, seeking His will and following His direction. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit in us to guide and direct us. We abide in God by reading and studying the Bible, through prayer, and by giving thanks. When we abide in this way, we receive wisdom and guidance to take the best steps.

    Learn to submit to God. Although it often did not make sense, Abraham submitted to God’s will, setting the example for us of what it looks like to be obedient. When we take matters into our own hands, we are telling God, “I’ve got this. I don’t need You.” That is a frightening thought. We always need God because we don’t know what lies ahead. But He does. And His plan is always much better than ours.

    Never stop trusting God. Abraham did not have his promised son until he was 100 years old – 25 years after God first made the promise. But Abraham never stopped trusting God. When I look back on my life, I can see God has always come through. It may take time – sometimes years – but God uses the time to prepare us for the better things He has planned.

    Abraham’s story has inspired me to continually stay close to God and trust Him. As you increase your reliance on God, give thanks in all circumstances, and pray specific requests, God will give you His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), confident in His goodness and His wondrous works.

    © 2018, Workmatters. Catherine Gates is Director of Outreach & Engagement at Workmatters. Ms. Gates has more than 30 years of marketplace experience in a variety of industries, including technology, sales, and leadership development. She has overseen and contributed to the development of all Workmatters studies, designed to equip marketplace leaders with biblical principles for their work. She is passionate about helping others tap into more of their God-given potential. To learn more visit workmatters.org.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How do you typically respond to change – especially when it is not on your own terms?

     

    1. What are the aspects of change that you find most unsettling?

     

    1. Gates suggests learning to “abide in the Lord” It that something that comes easily for you? Do you think or act differently when you are abiding in Him? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Think of a time when trusting in God seemed most difficult? Describe that time, and how the circumstances turned out. What – if anything – did you learn about trusting in and relying on the Lord through that situation?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

     Psalm 23:1-6; Isaiah 26:3, 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; John 14:27

  8. The Benevolence Of Burden-Bearing

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    February 5, 2018 – Rick Boxx   One day during a period of some difficult changes at work, I asked an employee how she was doing. She responded that she was fine. I looked her in the eyes and said, “No. How are you really doing?” I could see from her demeanor that the upheaval at our business was taking a negative toll on her.

    The next morning, with tears in her eyes, this employee approached me to say my heartfelt question the previous day had touched her. It made her understand that I really cared. She then expressed important thoughts about how she perceived the changes and what was troubling her the most.

    A study by an employee benefits administration company discovered 33 percent of people would be willing to switch companies if they knew they would receive more empathy, and 40 percent said they would work longer hours as long as they felt assured that those they were working for genuinely cared about them and their well-being.

    This is interesting, since empathy is not a topic given much attention in business schools, if at all. Even in management training, the focus is typically on how to get things done most productively and efficiently, not on how to address the heartfelt needs of the people doing the work.

    Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In the business and professional world, we can easily ignore the feelings of others. Maximizing profits and satisfying stakeholders tend to take priority. But genuinely caring for others can make a tremendous difference in developing loyal employees that are more content and productive because they feel valued.

    In the Bible’s New Testament, Galatians 6:2 teaches, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Another way to express this is “sharing the load.” The weight of emotions, or the strain of dealing with problems that cannot be quickly resolved, can overwhelm. Sometimes we can help in specific, tangible ways. Other times all we can do is communicate to the other person that we care – and sometimes, that is enough. We might assure them we are praying for them. Helping to bear someone else’s burdens might be an act of benevolence they will never forget.

    The Scriptures affirm this principle in other ways:

    Willingness to put others first. Whether our role is that of executive, supervisor or coworker, showing empathy to others communicates we are concerned for their best interests. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.(Romans 15:1).

    Doing as we would want others to do for us. If you were in the middle of circumstances that seemed overwhelming, would you want to experience the concern and care of others to help you through the difficult time? “…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’(Galatians 5:13-14).

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network (formerly Integrity Resource Center, Inc). Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about their ministry or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book and inspiration for their new ministry name, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. In general, how often do you see empathy expressed and demonstrated in the workplace? In what ways have you seen this done?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you became the beneficiary of someone else’s sincere concern and caring? How did that make you feel?

     

    1. Some people are more naturally empathetic than others. How would you rate yourself on an “empathy scale” – very empathetic, somewhat empathetic, not very empathetic? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Even if empathy is not one of our natural assets, how can we strive to be more empathetic, more considerate of the concerns and needs of others going through difficult times?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

     Proverbs 12:14,18, 15:4, 16:24, 20:5,12; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20,26

  9. The Mission Field – Closer Than You Think

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    January 29, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy   Have you ever been to the mission field? Let me warn you: that’s a bit of a trick question. For most of us, when we hear “mission field,” we think of traveling to a distant land where an unfamiliar language is spoken in a culture dramatically different from our own. In the traditional sense, that is true. But have you ever considered that the mission field might be down the street – or just outside your work space?

    For more than 25 years, my friend Ken has led a ministry to business owners and CEOs, offering them a place to meet for sharing common challenges, needs and problems. Whenever a new member joined one of the groups, Ken gives them a sign, suggesting they post it at the top of their office door, on the inside, serving as a daily reminder. The sign reads, “You are now entering the mission field.”

    This is fitting because when Jesus made the command we commonly refer to as the Great Commission – “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) – He did not say we should not include the country, city, or community in which we live. In a practical sense, if we are unable to have an eternal impact where we presently are, how can we have an impact where we are not?

    For most of my 10 years as a newspaper editor, I was not a follower of Jesus. And even after committing my life to Him, I lacked the understanding of how to effectively talk with others about my faith and help other believers begin to grow spiritually. It was only after I became involved with CBMC – and started to interact with dedicated, mature Christ followers – that I realized that telling others about Him was not a job restricted to the clergy and professional missionaries.

    Here are some teachings from the Bible to confirm that whatever we do, wherever we go, we already are on the “mission field”:

    For some, we are the only “Jesus” they will see. In many parts of the world, we live in secularized, post-Christian cultures. Many people – especially business and professional people – will not consider entering a house of worship, even if they have spiritual questions. We might be the ones God wants to use to provide the answers they seek. Jesus told His followers, You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (John 5:14). He also said, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). 

    We can show the reality of Christ by how we conduct ourselves at work. A friend told me of the poor work ethic and low standards he observes within his industry. I suggested this offers a perfect opportunity to separate his company – and its values – from his competitors. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). The apostle Paul also exhorted believers in the city of Corinth, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

     So, the next time you think about going to the mission field, recognize you are already there! You do not even need to pack a suitcase.

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What comes to your mind when you hear the term “mission field”?

     

    1. Have you ever gone to what we typically consider the mission field – meaning traveling to another country or culture – even on a short-term basis? If so, what was that experience like for you?

     

    1. How does the distant mission field – across an ocean, or at least on the other side of a national border – differ from the “mission field” we are describing here, in your own city, on the next street, or even outside your own working space?

     

    1. If you consider that whatever you do, wherever you go throughout your work day, “you are now entering the mission field,” does your perspective change about how to approach your job – and the people you encounter along the way? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:

     Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:23-24, 4:5-6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15-16

  10. Painful, Yet Redemptive Relationships

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    January 22, 2018 – Ken Korkow   A couple weeks back I did something most people would consider unusual. I went to the Goodwill thrift store in our community and bought a small suitcase. After I took it home, then came the unusual part – I cut the handle off and threw the suitcase away. The handle I put into my pants pocket.

    You might wonder, who would do this? That is understandable. But for me it was important – a reminder that when I leave this earth, I am taking NOTHING with me. Everything tangible will remain behind. However, all the things I have had of eternal value will have been sent ahead: My prayers and intercession for others; my tears for their salvation (eternal destiny) and spiritual growth; and any spiritual influence I have had the privilege of having in the lives of others.

    Jesus spoke of this when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whether moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mathew 6:19-21).

    As you can see from what I listed above – praying for others, concern for their spiritual well-being, and desire to have an eternal difference in their lives – my focus these days is simple: Relationships. Sadly, the vast majority of relationships most of us have are superficial. There is little if any personal investment. We take from them what we need and then move on. You know what? This makes our spiritual enemy smile. He loves relationships, as long as they are superficial and meaningless. Because his strategy is simple: deceive, divide, and destroy.

    I regret how I operated in the past as a businessman. I used relationships to get business. I would pretend to be nice – and pretend to care – to get what I wanted. I used people to get things I loved. Thankfully, several decades ago God touched my life and taught me that instead, I should be using things to love people.

    This is why my years of experience working on our family’s cattle ranch has been so valuable. As you work with livestock you discover two truths: Fast is slow. Slow is fast. The same can be said about relationships. They take time and cannot be rushed.

    Recently I was on a several phone calls: one to buy a truckload of insulation for a building at the ranch; another to buy a 50-foot diameter pen for working with horses, and another to buy a couple horse shelters. In each instance, while talking about my intended purchase, I could hear “something” in the other person’s voice: Pain. Or tiredness. So, I “went there” and asked each person what was going on in their life.

    As I did so, the Lord opened doors. Each time, as the person shared their story, they also shared tears. This gave me the opportunity to share the truth and hope of Jesus Christ. In all three instances I prayed with them, then mailed them some discipleship material. Later I followed up on each with another phone call.

    In the past, I would not have taken the time, would not have noticed – or would not have cared. But God has taught me another important principle: Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied. Now at the start of each day I pray, “Lord, please give me divine appointments – and keep the time-wasters away.” Realizing the Lord provides for my personal and business needs, this frees me up to develop redemptive relationships. What a privilege it is to share in the pain of others, along with their joys.

    Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What do you think of the story about buying a suitcase and discarding it, retaining only its handle? Do you appreciate the symbolism?

     

    1. Have you been making it a practice to store up treasures in heaven – or are you still busy trying to accumulate treasures on earth? Explain what this means for you.

     

    1. How would you describe most of your relationships? How many deep, meaningful relationships do you have, compared to superficial ones without much value?

     

    1. Do you see the value of striving to establish and maintain redemptive relationships? How do you think the principle, “Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied,” relates to this?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

     Proverbs 12:25, 14:13, 15:13,30, 17:17, 18:24, 27:9,17; Matthew 6:33-34

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