Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. 10 Years From Now, Who Will Remember?

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    June 24, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  One of the most profound clichés I have ever heard is so simple it is easy to ignore: “Fame is fleeting.” Think about it: A musician records a hit tune that soars to the top of the sales charts, but hit song No. 2 never comes. Years later the “one-hit wonder” no longer appears in a “Who’s Who” listing of famous people; instead, you might find him relegated to “Who’s He?”

    Candidates run for a major political offices, even for President. When they lose the election, however, they are soon forgotten. Some of us will forget they ever sought public office.

    Patrick Morley, speaker and author of The Man in the Mirrorand other thoughtful books, referred to this some time back when he wrote, “This morning I was trying to remember the name of the enormously successful businessman and iconic philanthropist in Tampa (Florida, U.S.A.) who once owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (professional football team). His name was constantly in the news. He was far more well-known that you or I will ever be, yet 10 years after the last time I heard his name, I can’t remember it. And there are many more just like him.” The path from fame to obscurity can be very short.

    Morley then posed the question, “Who will remember your name 10 years after you die?” When we consider all of the people who once achieved fame and acclaim, whose names for a time were on everyone’s lips, only to fade into the forgotten, isn’t that an important question to ask ourselves?

    The fundamental issue is not how to achieve long-lasting notoriety. Rather, it is what our priorities should be so that when our time in this life has ended, the impact of our lives – the legacy we have established – will continue through the lives of other people. We can pursue wealth, set lofty business goals, strive for recognition and status, or pursue any number of lifetime dreams. But if we have not made a meaningful, positive impact in the lives of the people we encounter from day to day, ultimately nothing else will matter.

    Consider the life of Jesus Christ. His formal ministry on earth lasted only three years. During that span He touched thousands of lives, but most significantly Jesus invested many hours in teaching and discipling a handful of men from a variety of backgrounds. These were not the MBAs, top executives or elite citizens of their day. Yet 2,000 years later, His impact in their lives – which they passed along to many others – can be seen in countless millions of people around the world.

    The apostle Paul offered this perspective: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”(2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

    So we ask the question again: Who will remember your name 10 years after you die? None of us, of course, will approach the impact of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But we can be involved in His eternal, life-changing work during the fleeting years we have remaining.British missionary C.T. Studd said it well in a poem: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” What are you pursuing with your life that will last – for eternity?

    © 2019. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Every year magazines name “the most influential person of the year” and “newsmaker of the year”? Without checking, can you identify who was the person honored by your favorite publication 10 years ago?

     

    1. Why is it, do you think, that many people who command media attention experience brief moments of fame and popularity, and then are forgotten? What does that tell us about the enduring significance of their accomplishments?

     

    1. If you had to give an answer right now, who do you think will remember your name 10 years after you die? And why?

     

    1. What things are you presented engaged in that you think can make an impact for eternity? Do you think we should even evaluate our activities in light of eternity? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
    Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Corinthians 7:31; 2 Timothy 2:10,15; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 John 2:17

  2. Be The Best ‘You’ That You Can Be

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    June 17, 2019 – Jim Mathis  At the monthly meeting last week of a local writers’ group, one member said when she was a preschooler, her mother subscribed to a children’s book club. Those monthly books led her to a love of reading, a passion for books, and eventually a career as a writer. She believes that there really is life BEFORE death, in living it in such a way that God will hit His “Like” at the end of your life.

    As a self-declared wordsmith, she said she loves the engaging, cleverly worded books by children’s book author Dr. Seuss. In one of them he wrote, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” That reminds me of one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. In declaring his independence from the folk music scene called “Maggie’s Farm,” Dylan sang, “I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants me to be like them.”

    Do you sometimes find that even if you can succeed at being the best YOU there is, it seems everybody wants you to be somebody else, mainly like them? I recently heard somebody say that the two most important days of our lives are the day we were born – and the day we figure out why. Sadly, most of us spend so much time trying to be what everybody else wants us to be that we seldom figure out who we are – or why we are like that.

    The Bible speaks to our uniqueness, the way God has designed each one of us: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well…. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

    This suggests God has a special plan for every one individually, not only our physical makeup but also our talents, interests, abilities and spiritual gifts He provides for each of His children. Living in an environment – at work as well as in our homes and communities – where people try to force us to fit their expectations of us, the Scriptures admonish us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approved what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

    He wants us to be and to become what He intended for us to be, not what people and circumstances around us might try to influence us to be. Writing to his young protégé, the apostle Paul encouraged him, 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”(2 Timothy 2:15). While most of us are not called to vocational ministry, we are still instructed to know the Word of God and apply it in every area of our lives.

    We were put here to make a difference in our world; it is hard to make a difference when we are all the same, conforming to what others say we should be or what we should be doing. For this reason, I would suggest that you be you – be the person God has intended for you to be from the moment you were born. It might not be something that the world considers great. You may not receive recognition or praise. Few people do. But we all have a God-given purpose, whether it is large or small; the impact we can have should not be underestimated. At the very least, your purpose is be to become the best you that you can be!

    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. Thinking of the words quoted from acclaimed author Dr. Seuss, “Today you are you. That is truer than true.” If someone were to ask, “Who are you?” how would you respond?

     

    1. Now look at the other quote, from one of Bob Dylan’s songs. In it he said, “I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants me to be like them.”Have you ever felt that way, that instead of appreciating your uniqueness, other people are trying to make you conform into what they want you to be? If so, what has been your reaction? Is that still happening in your life?

     

    1. What are your thoughts about the Bible’s declaration that we each are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God? In your mind, what does that mean?

     

    1. When you read that we should each try to make a difference in the world around us, what comes to your mind? Is that something we should aim to accomplish intentionally, or do you think it is something that should occur naturally as we go about the process of everyday life? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    1 Corinthians 3:9, 16-17; Philippians 3:7-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 2 Peter 1:3-8

  3. Breaking The Shackles Of Isolation

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    June 10, 2019 – Ken Korkow  Years ago horse racing was very important in Nebraska at a track called AK-SAR-BEN (“Nebraska” spelled backwards). Prominent individuals emphasized the importance of these sporting events, creating “social elites” and a mythical “kingdom of royalty.” Today the track – and its mystique – are gone. Similarly, years ago service clubs and military veterans’ organizations were a big deal. In years past, church attendance was popular, almost mandatory for people that wanted to succeed in business. That is no longer the case.

    Today we have what we might term a “new normal,” a social environment that places diminishing value of genuine relationships. Instead, we have superficial relationships that have created a society of isolated and lonely people. We might know each other by name, and interact when necessary, but we spend little meaningful time with other people – to our mutual detriment.

    Recently I was reading a vivid description of the Bible of how relationships are intended to work, refusing to accept merely superficial contact. Here is that picture presented in Acts 2:42-47, describing how the early Church functioned:

    “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching  and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread  and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number  daily those who were being saved.”

    We might be tempted to respond, “Well, that only applies to religious gatherings.” But in reality, it talks about everyday living, the establishing of a community in which people share their lives and, whenever necessary, even material possessions. I do not see any reason these principles could not be applied in the business and professional world where many of us spend many hours each week.

    If you look around and observe this tendency toward isolation and superficiality, don’t wait for others to break this cycle. BREAK IT YOURSELF! Invite people into your home to share a meal. And be ready to ask questions; seek ways to understand their backgrounds, the influences that have molded them, how they think (and why), and what hopes and aspirations they have. Here are some questions I have found helpful in getting to know people, trying to go beneath the surface to build real friendships and relationships:

    Where were you born?

    What kind of work did your parents or family members do while you were growing up?

    Did you move often from one city to another?

    What high school did you graduate from? What was it like?

    After high school, then what did you do?

    How close (first geographically – then relationally) are you to your family?

    What do you enjoy about your job? What don’t you like about it?

    What are your future plans?

    Relationships are simple. To have friends – you have to be one. The apostle Paul wrote, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

    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 about the state of relationships in our world today? Do you have many genuine, deep relationships, or are most of them superficial, as described in this “Monday Manna”? What are some of the factors that have contributed to this?

     

    1. Do you find yourself sometimes feeling isolated and lonely? If so, describe how you feel?

     

    1. How can we strive to overcome this trend toward isolation and loneliness? Do you think there are any helpful ideas presented in the passage cited, Acts 2:42-47? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Think of at least one person who has willingly and generously given from their life and invested in yours? Have you found that beneficial? If so, in what ways? How can we try to be a person like that for someone else?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 10:23-25

  4. Tough Business In A Fallen World

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    June 3, 2019 – Rick Boxx  When Tom Phillips, the former CEO of Raytheon, passed away, his Wall Street Journal obituary included a story about a Harvard University undergraduate who posed an intriguing question. The student asked Mr. Phillips if he believed there was a contradiction between his Christian faith and running a huge corporation that manufactures missiles for warfare.

    Mr. Phillips’ response was both honest and carefully considered, observing the reality of the human condition. He said, “We would like it to be a world where armies and weapons were not necessary. But there is a basic greed in man. Man is flawed, I believe. And nations are flawed. We have to provide for a common defense.”

    Most of us do not work for companies that produce weapons for war. However, finding ourselves in a profession – or employed in industries – that necessarily must address the “flaws in man,” as Mr. Phillips termed it, can present challenges when uncomfortable decisions must be made.

    Persons working in law enforcement, for instance, every day deal with the darkest sides of humanity. Attorneys may be called upon to represent not only victims of criminal activity, but also the perpetrators of crimes. The pharmaceutical industry provides important medical treatment for many people, but in some cases the drugs produced prove extremely harmful when misused or abused. Sometimes physicians and nurses must make difficult choices when there are no simple solutions. Even educators can face major challenges.

    Perhaps your job at times presents circumstances that test your values and convictions. Does this mean when we arrive at an ethical crossroads, we must give up or take the path of least resistance? If we are followers of Jesus Christ, we might even be tempted to wonder, “God, why did you call me to this profession?”

    While the Bible does not promise easy answers to every ethical dilemma, the Lord does call us to serve Him – and others – in many difficult realms. For instance, 1 Corinthians 7:17 teaches, “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.”

    Just as in biblical times Christ’s disciples found themselves engaged in often challenging lines of work, we too must seek God’s wisdom, guidance and grace in carrying out difficult responsibilities. I believe that in His desire to redeem a fallen world – people who have strayed far from God’s design – He necessarily places some people in tough industries. If we can accept this as His will for us, what else can we do to perform our tasks and make hard decisions in ways that please Him? Here are some guidelines He provides in the Scriptures:

    Ask for wisdom. Hopefully it does not happen often, but when challenging circumstances require complex decisions, we should ask God to provide the wisdom we need to do what is best. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

    Seek wise counsel. We should find people with wisdom, individuals we can consult with when difficult situations confront us. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14).

    Pray for strength. When the culture around us says we should act contrary to our convictions, God can provide the needed resources to resist the temptation to yield. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

    Copyright 2019, 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 visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org.His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever worked in circumstances that seemed in opposition to your values and convictions? Perhaps you presently have a job that at times put you in potentially compromising situations? If so, what has this been like – and how do (or did) you handle them

     

    1. Do you believe we should always hold to our convictions, those principles that define our faith? Or are their times when we just have to live with seeming contractions? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How easy is it for you to pray and seek God’s wisdom when simple answers seem beyond your reach? What is it like to pray in such a way?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you didn’t feel as if you had the strength to take a difficult stand against something you were being asked to do? How did you deal with that? Did God supply the needed strength at this time – or another time when you confronted challenging circumstances?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 1:7, 2:6, 3:13-15, 15:22, 19:20, 20:18; Psalm 84:11-12, 118:14

  5. Taking Care Of Our ‘Handiwork’

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    May 27, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  From time to time we hear of someone described as a “self-made man” or “self-made woman.” The implication is that all they have become and all they have accomplished is the direct result of their own initiative and hard work. Perhaps you regard yourself as one of them.

    What is wrong with using that term? After all, many people have come from disadvantaged backgrounds, or overcome various obstacles to achieve their levels of success. They have “beaten the odds” to reach the heights they have attained. Even people who did not confront great adversity often consider themselves “self-made,” given the time and energy they invested in their careers.

    When I graduated from high school, although I was regarded as a good student, I doubt that anyone was envisioning me as “most likely to succeed.” But somewhere along the way I learned the value of hard work, discipline and determination. Work weeks that far exceeded the 40-hour standard were my norm; I worked as hard and as long as required to fulfill my responsibilities and succeed.

    However, I never regarded my accomplishments the result of being self-made. Although I had learned how to write and edit, and honed my skills through time and experience, I did not start from ground zero. I had loved reading and had an innate proficiency in writing. These abilities and talents were natural, not store-bought, or manufactured by me. I possessed them from the birth. Once I realized what I had and discovered I enjoyed using these gifts, I pursued an education and opportunities for using them.

    A truth from the Bible confirmed my conviction that any sense of being “self-made” would have been a great misconception. Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This says that we – not what we do – are God’s “workmanship.” Another translation uses the term “handiwork” instead of workmanship, and in some respects gives the passage even more profound meaning.

    In a recent meditation, writer Elisa Morgan explained the term handiwork“denotes a work of art or masterpiece.” Have you ever perceived yourself as a “work of art” or “masterpiece,” just as we regard artistic creations on display in some museum? That is how the Bible describes us.

    This brings to mind another passage that presents a similar idea. King David of ancient Israel wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14)

    Reading this makes me feel both humbled and amazed. And I believe it should evoke similar feelngs in each of us. Can you imagine the God of the universe, who created the wonders of nature as well as the universe, being so personal that He divinely conceived each one of us as works of art, masterpieces He is proud to display in His “exhibit hall”?

    What kind of “handiwork” are you? Perhaps your forte is leadership, or administration. Maybe you excel in sales, or possess entrepreneurial vision. Or have unique artistic abilities or capabilities as a craftsman. You may have invested countless hours, sweat and tears getting to where you are now. But you have been using what God gave you initially. You are his “masterpiece”!

    © 2019. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Who do you know that considers himself or herself “self-made”? What about yourself – to what (or who) do you attribute whatever success you have achieved to this point?

     

    1. Do you believe that, perhaps even in the womb and certainly from birth, God imparts to each of us certain abilities, talents and skills? Why or why not?

     

    1. When you think of the term “handiwork,” what comes to mind?

     

    1. How does it feel to be told that to God, you are a work of art, a masterpiece? Does it excite you? Humble you? Challenge your comprehension, leave you incredulous? If this is true, that we truly are His handiwork, what should be your response?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Isaiah 43:7; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 1:3-9;  and
    2 Timothy 2:20-21, 3:16-17

  6. The Power Of Improving Your Craft

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    May 20, 2019 — Jim Mathis  In our hyper-competitive business and professional world, we would all like to be the one to discover the latest and greatest innovation, the idea no one has thought of before, that would put us on the fast track to success. But here is a better suggestion: Simply work at becoming better at what you do best.

    It has been said that if you are self-employed, or working on your own in some freelance capacity, you need to spend at least half of your time honing your craft, learning new things, or improving your product. We often see products in stores labeled “New and Improved.” Would it not be good to be able to say the same about ourselves and the work we do?

    I have always spent a significant portion of my time reading, experimenting, watching tutorials, taking classes, or attending seminars, workshops, and trade shows.For 23 years my wife and I were in the photography business, developing and printing black-and-white film. Now, of course, that is an obsolete craft. They don’t even make black-and-white film any more. But it did not present a problem for me because I was an early adopter of digital imaging, which revolutionized photography. When I realized 20 years ago that I was not going to spend the rest of my life developing film, I embraced the change and began responding to the new world of digital imaging. I tried to learn everything I could about digital cameras and the use of computer technology for enhancing photos.

    However, this advice about spending half of your time learning should not be limited to self-employed people. Some employers offer ongoing training for their employees, but many do not – and when they do, it is often very limited and specific to the current job.For this reason, I often encounter people left behind by changes in the workplace or new technology. Some simply come to the shocking realization that their professions have become obsolete.

    This brings to mind a verse in the Bible’s Old Testament, describing a group of leaders in ancient Israel. These were the “men of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what [they] should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). The passage does not explain specifically what changes or factors these leaders needed to consider, but clearly it indicates they recognized the need to adapt to what was happening.

    One of the many benefits of faith in God is knowing that although we may not know what lies in the future, in His omniscience, He does. So as we strive to do “work as for the Lord, rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23), we can pray and seek wisdom from the Lord for understanding how we too can adapt, how we can improve our craft – honing our skills and adapting to the changing work environment.

    In 1 Corinthians 3:9 it says, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” As such, we should be eager to respond to the world around us that is changing at an ever-increasing pace. Rather than resisting change, we can embrace the fact that technology and better tools do not cost jobs; they allow us to do more and better work. They offer unique opportunities for improving our craft.

    How about setting a goal – for the remainder of this year – to spend more time learning, not only to advance your career, but also to become a more interesting, more highly skilled person?

    © 2019. 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. How do you typically respond to the changing work environment around you? Do you resist change, or do you try to find ways for effectively addressing those changes and become better at what you do?

     

    1. Have you consciously considered ways, as Mr. Mathis suggests, for improving your craft or making significant adjustments in your career in response to changes you see occurring or anticipate coming? If so, how have you been doing that? If not, what impact do you expect the changing environment might have for you vocationally?

     

    1. In what ways can we seek to be like the biblical “men of Issachar,” being able to understand the times in which we live and know what we should do in response?

     

    1. The Bible teaches that one of God’s many attributes is His omniscience – being all-knowing. Do you believe this? If you do, how can you draw on that truth for help in becoming a more productive, better adapting worker and leader in the future?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 14:1,8, 16:21; Isaiah 41:8-10; Jeremiah 29:11-13; and Ephesians 5:15-17

  7. The World Needs More Cowboys

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    May 13, 2019 — Robert J. Tamasy  Recently I watched a brief promotional video produced by the University of Wyoming called, “The World Needs More Cowboys.” I have never been a cowboy, but as I reviewed the video, its message seemed very much on point.

    The video asks, “Restless curiosity – whatever happened to that? When did we stop thinking up new questions and daring to chase down their answers? Should we blindly follow predetermined paths when they never take us anywhere new?…when there’s still so much to explore off the beaten trail? The world needs more wonder, more outside thinkers hungry for a challenge. The world needs more cowboys…. It’s the spirit of the underdog, the trailblazer, the kind of spirit that longs for something to prove….”

    I am not advocating for the university; I have never even been to Wyoming. But this video suggests something important, and not just for education. As we view our roles – our callings – as business and professional people, I think we would do well to embody this “cowboy spirit.” Because the cowboy image seems to fit regardless of culture, ethnicity, gender or tradition.

    Looking at the life of Jesus Christ and His followers, as presented in the Bible, we find that while they were fishermen, tradesmen, even tax collectors, they all shared a bit of this “cowboy” approach to life. Jesus was commanding them to go against the flow of culture and prevailing religion, staking claim to new, uncharted territory.

    Among the things Jesus did was declare freedom from legalistic behavior; simplified the guiding principles for everyday living; gave unprecedented dignity and appreciation for women; and showed a revolutionary new way for establishing a growing, practical relationship with God. In today’s marketplace, especially those of us who profess faith in Christ and strive to follow Him, we also can cultivate a cowboy mentality of curiosity, boldness, innovation and eagerness for a challenge. Here are some examples:

    Beware of the beaten path.The courses of culture and peer pressure often push us in the direction most others are taking, but Jesus urged choosing another way. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it(Matthew 7:14).

    Choose a determined allegiance. Today, virtues like loyalty and commitment are often dismissed. But just as cowboys understand who they are and what they do, avoiding anything that might distract, we too must focus on who we are and why God has us here: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”(Joshua 24:15).

    Dare to be different.Every day we are tempted to “conform to the pattern of this world” as Romans 12:2 states it, but as ambassadors for Jesus Christ we are called to be different, to the extent that our lives and approaches to work raise questions in the minds of others: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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).

    © 2019. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you hear the term “cowboy,” what comes to mind?

     

    1. How does the image of cowboys as curious, innovative, always ready for challenges, and eager to blaze new trails relate to the kind of work you do? Do these descriptions fit you in any ways?

     

    1. What are the difficulties in striving to think and live differently than the prevailing culture? To use a different metaphor – to be more like a salmon swimming upstream? What does it require, in your view, to accomplish this effectively and successfully?

     

    1. Does it frighten you or make you uneasy to consider being bold and different when the surrounding environment seems to be demanding that you conform to it? If so, how can you overcome this reluctance?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more this subject, consider the following passages:  Matthew 13:22, 28:19-20; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; and Colossians 3:2

  8. The Pitfall Of Having Too Much Good In One Place

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    May 6, 2019 — Rick Boxx  Have you heard about the warning against “putting all your eggs in one basket”? This applies for much of life, especially the business world. Whether it means one large customer at a for-profit company, or a single major donor for supporting a not-for-profit entity, when your revenue comes significantly from one source, your organization flirts with danger. Real trouble can arise if anything goes wrong with that relationship.

    Sometimes small businesses open with one primary account. Things go well – sales are high and cash is flowing steadily – until one day, for whatever reason, that single account is lost. Suddenly the stream of revenue that had seemed so dependable is lost and everyone is scrambling to survive.

    Another pitfall of having too much dependence upon one customer is the influence they might have. Whenever your revenue becomes overly reliant upon a single customer or donor, you can find yourself feeling pressured to make unhealthy business concessions. It can be flattering to have one source that invests so heavily into the work you are doing. However, that can present the temptation to make decisions focused on accommodating that source, rather than remaining faithful to your mission – especially if it could jeopardize that key relationship.

    What is the solution? The answer is fairly simple: Diversification. My experience, and experts would confirm this, is that it is best to seek to limit any one customer at 15 percent or less of your total revenue. It may be hard to say “no,” especially when the potential for a very significant revenue stream is presented. But making a determination to “spread the wealth” by cultivating a wider variety of resources may be better than adverse consequences that could result from losing a single customer that comprises a majority of your business.

    This is another example of the great, timeless wisdom we can find in the Bible. King Solomon addressed this particular issue when he advised, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth”(Ecclesiastes 11:2). Another translation states it this way: But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.” 

    There are other reasons for diversifying our work – as well as our finances. One is the desire, as God’s ambassadors, to have a broader impact in our communities, our cities, and even around the world. The psalmist writes about “the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands…. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever…” (Psalm 112:1,8-9).

    This passage talks specifically about seeking to meet the needs of people who are disadvantaged, but the principle holds true. We can serve more effectively – and be used by God in more fruitful ways – when we diversify the use of our time, energy and resources.

    Which brings to mind Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. It speaks of three individuals entrusted with their master’s resources while he was gone. Two of the servants wisely invested the money and gave their master a substantial return. The third simply hid what had been entrusted to him, and when the master returned home, he had no increase to offer. If we are to grow – as businesses, as well as in service to God – we need to diversify, and grow stronger in the process.

    Copyright 2019, 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 emails, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Does your company or organization has one customer or donor that dwarfs all others? If so, what would happen if that source of revenue were suddenly lost and could not be restored? What impact would that have on the work and services you provide?

     

    1. If, on the other hand, your company is not reliant on one single source of revenue, is that because of a deliberate decision to diversify business? Is it difficult to maintain such a commitment? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What about financial investments – have you developed a practice of seeking to diversify where you invest, rather than putting all of your resources in one place that seems to be most productive? Why or why not?

     

    1. Shifting to apply this principle to spiritual pursuits, what would you see as the benefits – and potential shortcomings – of diversifying our efforts to serve God and those who sends our way?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:25-26; Proverbs 10:4,12:24, 15:22; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9

  9. Is The Idea Of Serving Others ‘Below’ You?

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    April 29, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Once in a while I come across a quotation that causes me to stop to ponder, and then conclude, “You know, that is exactly right.” One of them, by some fellow who goes by the name “Anonymous,” declares, “If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.”

    I have read many books on leadership, but cannot think of any statement more profound than the one above. Too often we perceive leaders as individuals who issue orders, write memos that read more like mandates, and establish goals for everyone else to accomplish. But the most powerful, most influential leaders are those who understand the impact of serving others.

    The late business executive and author of several books on leadership, Max DePree, stated, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” According to Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Both seem to run counter to what we usually observe from many “leaders” in the workplace.

    Then there is the longer, but highly insightful observation by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve…. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” Robert K. Greenleaf, author of the aptly titled book, Servant Leadership, wrote, “The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one’s capacity to lead is severely limited.”

    Reviewing my own career, there is no question that the bosses who had the most positive impact on my life were those who maintained an attitude of being servants. Yes, they had responsibilities to fulfill, along with goals and objectives to meet every day. But I always felt they had my best interests at heart, that their desire was to help me succeed, or as one expressed it, “to enable you to flourish.”

    The ultimate example of the servant leader was Jesus Christ. In fact, speaking of Himself, Jesus made this striking, perhaps even shocking declaration: “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).

    During His time on earth, Jesus offered profound lessons to those who followed Him. He healed many that came to Him suffering from a variety of afflictions and diseases. But most of all, He served by surrendering His own life on a cross, becoming the atoning sacrifice – theologians call it the “propitiation” for the sins of mankind.

    On another occasion, Jesus made clear this principle of servanthood was not just for Himself, but for all who choose to follow Him. “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not to the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves”(Luke 22:27). The apostle Peter summed it up, writing about self-sacrifice, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps”(1 Peter 2:21).

    The leader who lives according to a mindset of serving others – that leader is the one worth following.

    © 2019. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What was your initial response to the statement, “If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you”?

     

    1. Why do you think the concept of serving others is rarely considered to be an important element of effective leadership?

     

    1. How would you describe your own leadership qualities, especially as they relate to this idea of being a servant to others? If someone were to call you a “servant,” how would you feel?

     

    1. Do you think holding up the example of Jesus Christ as a servant leader is relevant to the challenges and demands of the 21stcentury workplace? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this topic, consider the following passages:  Matthew 6:24, 11:29, 16:24, 20:20-28; Mark 10:44; John 13:1-17

  10. A Tale Of Two Funerals

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    April 22, 2019 – Dr. Stephen R. Graves  A few months back, two funerals occurred in the same week in our community. Both were for men I knew who had lived a long life and had great community reach. I assumed the funerals would be pretty similar. I could not have been more wrong.

    The first funeral was as impressive a celebration of life as I have seen in a long time. All of the man’s children and grandchildren were present. I realized all of his kids had become individuals of impact and character in their own right. They have good relationships (not perfect) with each other and their respective communities. Several of his grandchildren spoke about what they had learned from their grandfather and memories of him. “I remember when Grandpa …” was said countless times. He clearly had impacted multiple generations during his life.

    But it was not just family. Several executives representing the company of one of the sons flew in from the East Coast for the funeral. The room was filled with standing room-only with hundreds of friends and relatives. I was amazed at how many people his life had clearly touched.

    Major-league baseball player and sometimes humorist Yogi Berra joked, ”You should always go to other people’s funerals or they won’t come to yours.” That was not why I was glad I went, however. I was glad because it was the kind of funeral that makes you think, “Iwant my funeral to look like this.” Of course, his funeral looked like that because his life had looked like that.

    Later that week, I checked in on the other funeral. It turned out that fewer than 10 people came. They had to hire a preacher since no preacher was close enough to the man to offer up his services.

    It was not like the man had spent his past 30 years off the grid. He had a very full life, but it led to an empty funeral. Why? Because his life was full of the wrong things. His life was self-absorbed, full of mostly stuff and material things, not healthy relationships and positive influence.

    I thought the funerals would be the same, but they were complete opposites.

    New York Times columnist and news commentator David Brooks described this more succinctly, stating our culture honors “resume virtues,” but we need to seek “eulogy virtues” in our own lives. Maybe he had attended a funeral just before he wrote that.

    Funerals have a way of making us slow down and ponder the brevity of life – and our priorities for life. They make us think toward the eternal and the Divine. They cause us to cut through the routines and noise of life to contemplate whether life is going the way we want. They make us celebrate people above things and activities. They make us look back, which can often help us look forward.

    Perhaps that’s why the book of Ecclesiastes says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

    I certainly understand that death has a sad and even shocking side to it. But if you get a chance to watch a celebration of a life done well, take it in.

    Dr. Stephen R. Graves describes himself as an organizational strategist, pragmatic theologian, and social capitalist. He advises executives and business owners, as well as young entrepreneurs. He is author of numerous books and many articles, and a public speaker. His website is www.stephenrgraves.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When was the last time you attended a funeral? What were your impressions of what transpired during that service?

     

    1. Graves describes two funeral ceremonies conducted in the same community, but their impact seemed very different. How would you explain the differences between them?

     

    1. Have you ever contemplated what your own funeral or memorial service might be like one day? Is that how you would like it to be? If not, in light of the discussion in this “Monday Manna,” how could you go about changing that?

     

    1. What is the difference between “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues”? Do these occur naturally, or are they established through intentionality?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this topic, consider the following passages:  Psalm 90:12; Ecclesiastes 2:16,24, 5:10-15, 7:1-4; Romans 6:19-23