Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. The 3 P’s Of Business Authority

    Leave a Comment

    July 6, 2020 – Rick Boxx  A former executive of the General Mills food company, Marc Belton, talked in an interview about what he called the “three P’s” of business status: Perks, Privilege, and Power. His observations were very insightful, and I could relate with much of what he said. I would like to summarize his points, beginning with Perks – extra benefits received due to position and achievements.

    As a young banker, I once presented a loan request from a country club to our loan committee. The CEO of the bank was so excited that I was bringing in this new business, he announced to everyone in the room that the bank should buy me a membership to this country club! Envy spread throughout the bank, however. Soon afterward, some of my superiors had negotiated country club memberships for themselves, and my original “perk” was significantly modified to make it less attractive. I decided to forgo this “opportunity.”

    A passage in the Bible, Galatians 5:26, warns, “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” As employers, we should be cautious about what perks we offer to certain employees. Whether we intend it or not, these can bring envy and conflict within the team.

    Another point Belton made was that as leaders rise through the ranks of an organization, their positions often afford them with more Privilege. Maybe this takes the form of additional freedom in how they spend their time, the availability of company cars, or exclusive invitations to meet with influential leaders.

    These privileges can allow pride to surface in the individuals who receive them, which can set the stage for moral and ethical failure. For instance, they could determine to do whatever is necessary to retain and add to those privileges. In addition, what becomes “normal” to someone of privilege, might be viewed by others as wasteful, unnecessary extravagance.

    The Bible teaches, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). Gaining added privilege as a reward for hard work can be admirable, but we would be advised to be careful that pride in our privilege does not lead us into dishonor.

    Belton’s third point regarded Power. The uses and abuses of power are manifested in many ways, but he cited as an example the fact that labor unions have been in decline for many years. Many believe that one contributing factor has been the power some union leaders and officials have abused and misused.

    Years ago, a friend of mine attended a union meeting, expecting to listen to and perhaps participate in a discussion of a potential work stoppage. One union member stood up to protest the strike. However, before he could voice more than a few words, two large men immediately escorted this dissenter from the room. This action made it clear there would be no more “discussion.”

    Another passage from the Scriptures addresses this type of business behavior: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). Success in business usually brings with it the opportunity for increased power. This power can be used in many beneficial ways, but it also can be misdirected. We should be aware of this temptation and not to allow power to lead to pride and arrogance.

    © 2020, 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, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What “perks” – extra benefits – have been offered to you, or to others in positions of influence within your organization? Do you think they are appropriate? Have you seen negative effects that they have generated? How do you think those can be avoided?

     

    1. How have you seen “privilege” being demonstrated, either at your own workplace or in other environments? What are the positive benefits of extending those to certain individuals? Again, what are some of the potential pitfalls of providing privileges to some, and not to others? How should this be properly managed, in your opinion?

     

    1. What are some ways that you have seen “power” utilized in the marketplace? In what ways have you seen it used well – properly, in your view? How have you seen it abused?

     

    1. How do you think the realities of perks, privilege and power can help to advance not only specific individuals within a company, but also to challenge and encourage those who do not necessarily qualify for such benefits?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:25, 22:29; Mark 10:45, 12:30-31; Luke 6:31; John 15:13; Philippians 2:3-4

  2. A Time To ‘Reboot’ How We Approach Our Work

    Leave a Comment

    June 29, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  Being a confirmed “non-techie,” someone who does not understand the what’s and why’s of computer technology, I have a very simple strategy when my computer is not working right. I shut it down and restart it to “reboot” the system and software. Most of the time it works, resetting things so they work properly – even though I do not understand why.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began to spread around the world, virtually all of us were affected in a variety of ways. Our workplace schedules and routines were disrupted. Many found themselves either out of work temporarily or learning how to work from home. Lots of people suffered financial hardships because of reduced pay, or no income at all.

    Such global adversity was unprecedented and unexpected, but like my computer, when things are not functioning as usual, perhaps that was a signal for time to “reboot” – to shut down and make a fresh start. It occurred to me that for those who follow Jesus Christ in the marketplace, it might have become a time to reconsider our approach to our vocations. What are our motives, our purpose and objectives?

    Ephesians 2:10 declares, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” And 1 Corinthians 3:9 states, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” If that is true, what does it look like in a practical sense? I think portions from another passage, 2 Corinthians 5:14-20, give us clarification:

    “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

    There is much we can learn from this passage, but a central theme is that since Jesus Christ died on our behalf and reconciled us to God, we are called to represent Him to others – including those we encounter in the marketplace every day – as His ambassadors. Here are some key points we might consider as we have this time to “reboot”:

    We are God’s workmanship. We each are unique persons, with a combination of gifts, talents, experience and passions unlike anyone else. We are to use them all for His glory.

    We are “His field, His building.” Countless people all around us, in offices and stores and manufacturing plants, need to hear the reconciling message of Jesus Christ. The fact that God has seen fit to place us where we are is evidence He wants us to represent Him there.

    We are the Lord’s ambassadors. An ambassador does not pursue his or her own agenda, but the goals and purposes of those being represented. In a similar way, in the marketplace we are to serve and represent our Lord, through our actions and our words.

    © 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How has the COVID-19 virus pandemic affected you personally? What has been its impact on your company? At this point, how far along the path to recovery are you?

     

    1. Since all of our normal work routines have been disrupted in some way during this time, have you ever thought about taking this opportunity for a “reset,” to re-evaluate what you have been doing, why you have been doing it, and how things could be different once things return to “normal”?

     

    1. What do you think of the idea that we are “God’s workmanship”? What does that mean to you? If you were to make that understanding an intentional, conscious part of how you approach each workday, would it make a difference in your conduct on the job, your goals and motivations? Explain your answer.

     

    1. It has been said that for those who follow Jesus Christ, whenever we step out of our offices, or our cubicles, the buildings where we work, or even travel somewhere for business, we are entering the mission field. Do you believe this? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 13:6, 14:23, 22:29, 28:2; Matthew 6:19-21,33-34. 25:14-30

  3. Must It Be ‘Every Man For Himself’?

    Leave a Comment

    June 22, 2020 – Jim Mathis  As we pursue our livelihoods in the contemporary marketplace, should we take the approach of “Every man for himself,” or should our attitude be, “We are all on the same team?” This might be one of the fundamental questions of a society. A basic principle of capitalism is that everyone should run their own race. Even in the Bible, the apostle Paul uses running as a metaphor for life. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

    Reading this, it seems as if he is saying we should all run our own race, without bothering to be concerned about other people. But is that what he means? In most industrialized countries for the past 200 years or so, people have been encouraged to look out for themselves. We talk in terms of individual responsibility, and if someone is falling behind, that is their problem, not ours.

    Sadly, this attitude has resulted in all kinds of meanness. Everything from racism and slavery to predatory lending have taken place in the name of capitalism and the general understanding of laissez-faire – a matter of looking out only for your own self. Even Christians often use the term, “Personal relationship with Christ,” which would suggest this is just between us and Jesus.

    But the overall understanding of Jesus’ teaching is quite the opposite. And we are probably taking Paul’s race metaphor too far. For instance, in Hebrews 10:24-25 we see the admonition for coming together in a spirit of unity and cooperation: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

    Living in community and helping one another is foundational for all who wish to follow Christ. We know from Acts 2 that the early church took this seriously, seeing many examples of believers helping one other, including materially, so that there would be no one in need within their group.

    In other words, rather than “Every man for himself,” their conviction was, “We are all on the same team.” In team sports, if one player insists on scoring all of the points, will not share the ball with others, or refuses to help the team, the team is eventually going to lose. When a team loses, everyone on the team loses. If the team wins, all the players share in the glory.

    Much has been written about the benefits of strong relationships. People are healthier, live longer, and are generally happier if they have strong friendships beneficial for helping and encouraging each other.

    Personally, one big change that took place when I decided to follow Christ was shifting from a self-centered existence to community-centered living. My life changed dramatically for the better when I stopped looking out only for myself and started finding ways to help others with a sense of community. Life went from an individual sport like a race to a team sport, working toward our mutual benefit.

    There is no such thing as a “lone wolf,” because even wolves live and work in a pack – a community – to help the entire pack to thrive. As human beings following Christ, we are called to be on the same team, striving to make the world a better place. That is one way we bring glory to God.

    © 2020. Jim Mathis is a writer, photographer and small business owner in Overland Park, Kansas. His latest book is The Camel and the Needle, A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you heard the term “every man for himself” (or every woman for herself)? When you think about such a philosophy, what does it mean to you?

     

    1. What do you think are some of the fundamental differences between the “every man for himself” and “we are all on the same team” approaches to our work and ways we interact with others – our coworkers, our employers or employees, customers and suppliers?

     

    1. In terms of faith, how do you see these distinctives being worked out in a real sense? Is there a danger of putting too much emphasis on an individualized, “personal relationship with Jesus Christ”? If so, in what ways?

     

    1.       How can we all benefit from taking a more team-oriented approach in how we live out our faith, not only in religious and worship settings, but also in the workplace where we are called to be “ambassadors for Christ”?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 6:19, 12:12-27; 2 Timothy 2:2

  4. Combating Fear Of The Unknown, Focusing On The Known

    Leave a Comment

    June 15, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  Years ago, discussing the challenges of making decisions during a war in the Middle East, described the variable factors involved as “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” Most of us will never have to handle such wartime responsibilities but given the uncertainties of the marketplace – even when we are not in the middle of a global pandemic, the unknowns can weigh heavily on us.

    As we entered 2020, one of the “known knowns” was that the economy in many parts of the world was flourishing. Based on what we had been experiencing, there was great anticipation that prosperous times would continue throughout the marketplace. Among the “known unknowns” was that some major event could arise to cause a sudden shift in the economic climate. Everyone knew that was a possibility, but no one knew for certain what that might be. The greatest “unknown unknown” as we started the new year, of course, was the emergence of COVID-19, an incredibly aggressive virus that would spread from China and bring about a global pandemic.

    Our tendency is to let the unknowns – ones we know about, and those we do not – to overwhelm us, filling us with fear and worry. However, there is an alternative. We can choose instead to focus on the “knowns,” those things we can trust in and depend upon. The problem is, in turbulent times such as we have experienced recently, there are few knowns we can concentrate on with confidence.

    This where faith – the confident assurance and earnest expectation we have in the God of the Bible – can sustain us. Corrie ten Boom, who with her family in The Netherlands helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II, wrote about this. She said, “Never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God.”

    In the Word of God, we find hundreds of promises and precepts, assurances we have from God as followers of Jesus Christ that apply as directly to the marketplace as they do to any area of life. Here are some of them, and I would encourage you to search the Scriptures for many more:

    We can know God has a specific purpose for our lives. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    We can know God uses adversities we face for our benefit. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

    We can know God is not distant, that He is approachable. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). “In [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).

    We can know God hears and responds to our prayers. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked on him” (1 John 5:14-15).

    © 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What are some of your “known knowns,” things you believe you can count on every day with confidence and assurance as you pursue your vocation and everyday life?

     

    1. What are some of the “known unknowns” that cause you concern? What about the “unknown unknowns” that could cause you to have sleepless nights?

     

    1. Why are the unknowns of life so problematic for many of us? How can they cause stress – at times unnecessary – when we focus on things beyond our control?

     

    1. Do the “known knowns” that we find the Bible bring you peace and comfort in times of adversity? Why or why not? If you do find sources of reassurance in the Scriptures, what are some that seem most important to you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Isaiah 40:31, 41:10; Jeremiah 33:3; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 4:6-9

  5. A Life-Changing Encounter Like No Other

    Leave a Comment

    June 8, 2020 – Ray Kerwood  [Editor’s Note: The following is an adapted excerpt from Cross Currents: A World War II Survivor’s Voyage through Life’s Storms to God’s Safe Port, an autobiography by Ray Kerwood]. A longtime member of CBMC, Ray served with distinction as an officer with the Merchant Marines during World War II. He served 28 years in various management roles with Gulf Oil, before launching his own company, Alpine Petroleum. His book in its entirety is available FREE on CBMC International’s website]

    One of the turning points in my spiritual life was attending an adult Sunday school class at a church just blocks from where my wife, Donna, and I lived in Charleston, West Virginia. A man named C.W. Lee was teaching the class. He wasn’t a clergyman, but a laboratory technician with Union Carbide. I was very impressed with his teaching and made a point of talking with him before class the following Sunday.

    At the time, Donna and I were experiencing some difficulties in our marriage, and C.W. and his wife, Ruth, agreed to meet with us. By the time we had all exchanged greetings, it was clear to both Donna and me that this couple was different from anyone we had ever known. It was obvious that Jesus Christ was the center of their life.

    Within a short time, C.W. had his Bible open and was explaining what it meant to know God personally and to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. First he read John 3:16 to us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I had heard those words before, but somehow on this evening it sank into my heart as never before that God, my Creator, the Ruler of this Universe, actually loved me personally, enough to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born on this earth.

    I could see on Donna’s face that she was responding to this message as intensely as I was. C.W. then took us through a series of verses from the New Testament book of Romans. When he was done, he did not need to explain it was now our turn. Donna and I both prayed aloud, asking forgiveness for our sins and asking Jesus into our hearts. C.W. and Ruth then spent time explaining what it meant to live our lives in following Jesus Christ. Maybe we didn’t know then the complete significance of what had happened to us, but we both knew this was the most important event in either of our lives.

    After leading Donna and me to Christ, C.W. and Ruth did not just walk away, but poured themselves into helping us grow as Christians. This is even more significant because we were complete strangers to them before that night, and both of them were so busy. I don’t know how they found the time to do all they did, much less add on becoming our spiritual mentors. They made sure we got into a good, Bible-teaching church, but their main “mentoring program” consisted of taking us with them anywhere they went.

    Through C.W., I got involved in CBMC and began meeting with other God-fearing Christian men who had a major impact on my life and Christian growth in a variety of ways. C.W. and Ruth remained our closest friends and spiritual mentors until we moved from West Virginia. Even then, we would talk on the phone. By the time he passed into God’s presence at the age of 92, he had impacted thousands of lives through his godly life and faithful testimony.

    C.W. always told people that when he died, he did not want to leave anything behind. That he wanted to give everything he had to the Lord’s work. That’s how I remember him. That’s how I want people to remember me.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How do you relate to this brief account of Ray’s spiritual journey?

     

    1. Have you had a spiritual mentor – or perhaps more than one? If so, what has that experience been like for you?

     

    1. What is the importance of having someone not only point the way to a relationship with Jesus Christ, but also having them stay with you teaching and modeling what it means to be a faithful, consistent follower of Christ? Have you ever done that with someone else?

     

    1. Ray’s mentor, C.W. Lee, said he did not want to leave anything behind when he died. That during his lifetime he wanted to expend everything he had to help in advancing God’s work on earth. What is your reaction to this type of commitment?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Matthew 6:19-21,33; Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 8:1, 10:9-10; Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:2

  6. Unconventional Hiring Strategies

    Leave a Comment

    June 1, 2020 – Rick Boxx  The respected business periodical, Wall Street Journal, featured a story about Nehemiah Manufacturing, a company in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. that has some interesting – and unusual – hiring practices. Approximately 80 percent of its employees have criminal records!

    In reading the article, I discovered that as I expected, the founders of this business are followers of Jesus Christ who had more in mind than to grow a profitable company. Their vision was much greater than that. They wanted to help in rebuilding a city, more than a building a company. And they are succeeding at both.

    With the company situated within the inner city of Cincinnati, the owners are engaged in rebuilding the lives of people living there who rarely have an opportunity to succeed. For many people convicted of felonies, their recidivism rate – likelihood of committing other crimes and returning to prison – is very high. One reason for this is their inability to find gainful employment. The owners of Nehemiah Manufacturing resolved to address this problem by offering jobs for people desiring to get a second chance in life, to make a fresh start.

    Interestingly, the idea of taking a calculated risk to rebuild a city is one firmly rooted in the Bible. In fact, the entire book of Nehemiah is the story of one visionary man who obeyed the Lord’s leading and pursued the seemingly impossible mission of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. He knew the circumstances were not good, and the task would not be an easy one, but he was determined – with God’s help – to restore the ruined city.

    Nehemiah had a rallying cry probably similar to the founders of the Cincinnati company when he declared, “You see the bad situation we are in: Jerusalem is in ruins, and its gates have been burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace” (Nehemiah 2:17).

    Reading further, we find that Nehemiah’s motivation behind this massive endeavor was not for profit or for fame, but simply to rebuild “the city of David” that had been ravaged during a series of attacks while the Israelites were taken into captivity. Despite opposition and many detractors, Nehemiah and those working with him succeeded in the work.

    We should be inspired by the vision and enterprise of Nehemiah Manufacturing and its namesake. This does not necessarily mean we must hire convicted criminals who have completed their prison sentences. That is not always possible. But we can prayerfully seek to be involved in other “reclamation projects.” For instance, we might know of someone in our organization whom others have given up on. He or she may be a “diamond in the rough” who, if given an opportunity and some direction, could prove to become a valued member of the team.

    God’s call for us, like Nehemiah Manufacturing, is usually more important than just making money. Being what the Bible calls “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are to participate in a mission of reconciliation, as described in the following verse: “as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

    Whether it is striving to rebuild a portion of a city, or investing in the lives of individual people, we have the joy and privilege of being part of God’s work of restoration and renewal: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

    © 2020, 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, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What are your thoughts about employing people with previous criminal records? What are some of the potential problems with that practice? What are some of the possible opportunities?

     

    1. Are you familiar with the story of Nehemiah being called to oversee the rebuilding of the ancient city of Jerusalem? What were some of the obstacles he faced?

     

    1. Why do you think many companies – and individual business and professional people – fail to recognize or act upon opportunities to make positive contributions to their communities, the people living in them, or the people working within the organization?

     

    1. How might you go about seeking ways for serving as a “Nehemiah” in your own sphere of influence? What – or who – is in need of rebuilding or restoration?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-20; Isaiah 43:18-19; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 3:11-13, 21:1-2

  7. The Power – And Impact – Of Persistence

    Leave a Comment

    May 25, 2020 – Ray Kerwood  [Editor’s Note: The following is an adapted excerpt from Cross Currents: A World War II Survivor’s Voyage through Life’s Storms to God’s Safe Port, an autobiography by Ray Kerwood]. A longtime member of CBMC, Ray served with distinction as an officer with the Merchant Marines during World War II. He served 28 years in various management roles with Gulf Oil, before launching his own company, Alpine Petroleum. His book in its entirety is available FREE on CBMC International’s website]

    Business is risky, and if you are unwilling to take controlled risks, you should not go into business for yourself. I have certainly made plenty of mistakes. But the good choices have outnumbered the bad. I think of one time a risk paid off, but only because I was aggressive, refusing to give up too soon. In other words, I would not take “no” for an answer.

    I had learned through my younger brother, Jim, who lived in Charleston, West Virginia, that a number of companies in his area were selling a particular product used by coal companies in their sludge ponds that my company, Alpine Petroleum, could make available for sale there. Seeing these sale opportunities in my own home state gave me the idea to call up one of West Virginia’s most prominent multi-millionaires, John Heater. He owned 38 Go-Marts – combination service station, restaurant and grocery store – across the state.

    To supply these locations, Mr. Heater had established a large barge terminal in St. Albans, West Virginia. He also was a majority owner and president of the Bank of Gassaway. So, I called him with a request. Would he be willing to enter into a contract with my company for storage and transport of gasoline and diesel fuel?

    Mr. Heater abruptly replied, “Mr. Kerwood, while I have met you once and know of your good reputation, why on earth would you think I would have any interest in your offer when I have already turned down that same request from Exxon, Pure Oil, Ashland Oil and Elk Refining Company?”

    Instead of taking the hint, I chose to act like he was my good friend. “John, your office is on my way to Charleston. I only need five minutes of your time.” “No,” he said. I refused to give up. “John, I have an approach that I promise you will find beneficial.” “I told you no.” In a courteous tone, I persisted. “John, five minutes is all I ask.” “Okay,” he finally agreed with reluctance. “Bur remember one thing, Ray. Five minutes, and you better be gone.”

    Five minutes was all it took to sign a deal that led to a four-year, lucrative partnership. Without being persistent, maybe even a little pushy, in asking John Heater to consider my offer, none of that would have happened.

    (In my book) I mention this and various other events to emphasize that during my life there have been a number of decisions that have worked out favorably, not through any particular business acumen of my own, nor happenstance, nor pure luck, but by divine intervention and God’s blessing.

    There is a well-known TV financial expert, Dave Thomas, who whenever he is asked, “How are you doing?” always responds, “Better than I deserve!” I would say the same. My life and my business career have both been better than I deserve, and I give praise to my Father, to whom belongs all the credit and glory.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How good of a salesperson are you? What do you find the most difficult part of selling something, whether it is a product, a service, or yourself?

     

    1. Have you ever been confronted by a persistent, refuse-to-give-up salesperson? What was your response? Did you find it bothersome, or did you admire the person’s determination?

     

    1. Do you find persistence to be one of your personal strengths, or do you find yourself easily discouraged to the point of giving up? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Rather than crediting his own abilities, or good fortune, Ray attributes his business success to “divine intervention and God’s blessing.” How do you relate to such a conclusion? Can you give an example of how and why you feel that way?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:  Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 2:10; James 1:2-7

  8. But What About The 16th Second?

    Leave a Comment

    May 18, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  Recently I watched a video of a high school valedictorian’s graduation speech to his class. He talked about the elation he felt when, after years of hard work and personal sacrifice, he had achieved his goal of being named valedictorian, the number one-ranked student in his class.

    But then he made a sobering observation: That feeling of euphoria lasted “about 15 seconds.” He said he had expected to feel much more – fireworks maybe, or much more excitement. But no. When the reality of receiving the academic honor had settled in, he felt “nothing.” As quickly as the surge of emotion came, the feelings subsided. Within about 15 seconds.

    So he cautioned his fellow students to set goals and dreams, but keep them in perspective. He warned, “Have no regrets in the 16th second.” What the scholar said was reminiscent of the haunting Peggy Lee song of years ago, “It That All There Is?” We can pour our time, talent and energy into accomplishing a certain objective, only to find that after it has been achieved, it is not as fulfilling as we had imagined.

    For most, if not all, of us, high school is a distant memory. As is college, if we attended. Instead, you are probably in the midst of a career and you set goals, both professional and personal – some for that day, others for the week, this year, for your entire career. “When I achieve that (whatever it is), then I will be happy,” we reason. We forgo other priorities in our lives – relationships, health and fitness, the ability to enjoy and appreciate the moment. Because our goals and objectives are all that matter.

    Then, as the valedictorian noted, we hit the target. We reach our goal. And for about 15 seconds, we revel in euphoria, the overwhelming satisfaction of accomplishment. But then comes the 16th second, and we find ourselves wondering, “That’s it? Is that all there is?”

    So we would be wise to heed the advice of the stellar student: “Have no regrets in the 16th second.” This is not a 21st century problem. It is one that existed thousands of years ago, as we learn in studying the Bible. We find different words, but the same message – do not focus on the wrong things.

    Why strive for the temporary when we can gain the eternal? What do you have today, what are you working for, that you can take with you when you die? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where 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” (Matthew 6:19-21).

    Concentrate on those things that will endure. A wise person once said, “When all is said and done, only two things will last: the Word of God, and people.” If that is true, it is unwise to devote ourselves to other things, at the expense of a growing relationship with God, as well as relationships with people we love. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

    Realize this temporal life will soon be over. The Scriptures talk about our earthly lives as “a vapor” (James 4:14). All too quickly, they are gone. But then we confront eternity – what will happen then? “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

    © 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever dedicated huge amounts of time and energy toward achieving a specific goal, only to discover the happiness of accomplishing it fades quickly – as the high school valedictorian discovered? What was that experience like for you?

     

    1. Why do you think “the thrill of victory” can be so fleeting, often being replaced with feelings of discouragement or emptiness?

     

    1. What are some of the consequences – negative results – of becoming totally immersed in a challenging goal or objective, beyond discovering that the sense of satisfaction can fade surprisingly quickly?

     

    1. What in your view, does it mean to maintain an eternal perspective in all we do, both professionally and personally, rather than an earthly or temporal perspective? How would you evaluate yourself in this regard?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Job 7:7; Psalm 39:4-6, 144:4; Proverbs 27:1; Ecclesiastes 1:2-4, 2:1-11,21

  9. What Is Your Reference Point?

    Leave a Comment

    May 11, 2020 – Jim Langley  The North Star, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, is the star most visible to the naked eye. It has been used for centuries to show travelers on land and sea astronomical true north for navigating whatever path they choose for a journey. It works for everyone: If we use the North Star as a reference point by night, we can easily remain on course as we travel. In a similar manner, a compass can help in staying on course during the daytime. This might be new information to some, because these days we typically utilize electronic navigational devices for determining the shortest and fastest distance from Point A to Point B.

    We would be wise to start with a reference point in all aspects of life. Virtually everything we do in our personal and business lives draws upon a reference point. It serves as the basis for how we conduct our daily affairs. It helps us determine what direction we choose for the many life decisions we make. But how do we select our reference point? Basically, is it worldly or eternal? Whether we realize it or not, we all address life from a secular or a spiritual platform. So let me ask: What is your reference point?

    For directions in our everyday life journey, we cannot rely on any electronic device to show the way. We need a moral compass we can trust implicitly. For me, for many years that moral compass has been the Bible, the inerrant Word of God. I have found answers to all of life’s questions within the 66 books contained in its Old and New Testaments. I go to God’s Word daily, since it helps me navigate my personal journey.

    Earlier in my life, I trusted in my own judgment, based on what I saw going on around me. I watched the world and did my best to follow others whom I considered successful in their fields of expertise. But when I received Christ as my Savior and Lord, I realized trusting in the patterns and values of this world would be unprofitable in most aspects of life. Since then, my journey has been filled with joy and peace. Things I once strived for have become far less important. My focus now is close relationships and pleasing God in all I do.

    In 1988, Harvey B. MacKay published his classic sales management treatise, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. This book, updated in 2005, remains a valuable resource to small and large businesses alike, for succeeding in one’s chosen business endeavor. For the most part, the useful principles he presents are not new; many of them can be found in the Bible. Frankly, I would much rather go directly to the book of Proverbs for advice in how to live my business and personal life. Since it has 31 chapters, there is a chapter set aside for each day of the month!

    I prefer reading the words of King Solomon, the author of Proverbs, who is considered the wisest man in history. He uttered more than 3,000 proverbs, according to historical accounts. In Proverbs 1 alone, we find 33 verses presenting valuable truths that can certainly benefit all who read them. In verse 7 we are told, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” There are no shortcuts to gaining wisdom. God’s Word needs to be applied one day at a time. As we read it, we discover that success is not what really matters, that the people around us are as important as we are.

    I suggest that God’s Word and His Holy Spirit be your reference point, your “North Star” for maximizing your life here on earth. Do not be fooled by the world’s reference point, which only leads to eventual destruction. We need an eternal perspective for all we do – and for all we can become in Jesus Christ!

    © 2020, all rights reserved. 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 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. Can you locate the North Star on a clear, cloudless night? Have you – or someone you know – ever used it as a reference point for travel? How is it helpful?

     

    1. Have you noticed that over the years, what is considered right and what is considered wrong in every area of life – including the business and professional world – seems to change? Why do you think that is? Do you think the idea of having a single, consistent reference point for how we live our lives, both professionally and personally, is realistic? Why or why not?

     

    1. What do you think of the idea that we should use the Bible as the reference point for how we approach our lives, including our work? How does this apply to you personally?

     

    1. Who do you know that does use the Scriptures, the Word of God, as their “North Star” for how they approach every area of life? What about them, if anything, stands out to you?

     

    NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages:
    Psalms 25:1-5; Proverbs 2:1-5; Ecclesiastes 12:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31; James 1:5-8

  10. Choosing Calm And Quiet In A World Of Angry And Loud

    Leave a Comment

    May 4, 2020 – Rick Boxx  Three guests were invited to debate an emotional topic on a talk show program. The discussion among the two guests and the host became so heated that they began shouting at each other. (I know, this has become almost standard behavior on broadcast media these days, but I wanted to point out what happened next.)

    Finally, after the shouting had gone on for several minutes, the host stopped the bickering by asking the third guest, who had been silent, for her opinion. Her quiet and thoughtful words suddenly brought order to the chaos. Not only that, but her demeanor also made her seem more credible than the others with their shrill shouting.

    In our world today, with noise coming at us from all directions, some have decided that the one who shouts the loudest wins. It is another take on the adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” But in reality, a calm and collected approach to communicating is still the most effective and most of the time, carries the most impact.

    This is hardly a new revelation. The Bible, which some have considered as the greatest book on business and professional practices, has much to say about the strengths, weaknesses and pitfalls of the spoken word. For instance, Proverbs 15:1 states, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Another passage says, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction” (Proverbs 16:23).

    Such admonitions are not limited to TV and radio talk show programs. Years ago, civic leaders gathered in a major city to discuss the possibility of making a proposal to host the Summer Olympics. Discussion turned negative, with most participants focusing on the potential problems hosting such a massive event could cause.

    After interaction had gone on for more than two hours, the meeting’s leader turned to one of the newest members of the group. This individual had yet to offer any comments, so the moderator pointed asked, “Ted, you have not said anything. What do you think?” With everyone else in the room sitting quietly and expectantly, he calmly and quietly responded, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean.”

    Only two or three minutes passed, but it seemed like hours as everyone else in the room pondered what Ted had just said. Suddenly, someone excited said, “You know, he’s right!” And from that point, the whole course of the meeting changed. Ted did not tell them his reply was a direct quote from the Bible, Proverbs 14:4, but his meaning was clear: No manure, no milk. Or to put it into better workplace terms, to accomplish anything of importance, you have to be willing to confront inevitable challenges.

    The Scriptures tell us God’s preferred way of communicating with His people is to do so softly, not by shouting or giving dramatic messages. In 1 Kings 19, we read about Elijah, who had been used by God in a series of miracles. Afterward, physically and emotionally depleted, the prophet had fled upon learning the vicious queen Jezebel sought to kill him. After resting and being refreshed, Elijah had waited for God’s next instructions. There came a powerful wind, then an earthquake. Verse 12 tells us, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”

    God had chosen to communicate with Elijah through quiet words only the attentive prophet could hear. For all of us in the marketplace, the application is simple: To sell our product or idea, sometimes a gentle whisper is better than a shout. And if you pray about a major decision, maybe God wants to wait for His whisper.

    © 2020, 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, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How do you react when you observe two or more people in a loud, angry exchange – whether it is in listening to a talk show, or watching this kind of interaction during a business meeting?

     

    1. Why do you think some people seem to believe the louder they yell, the more likely they are to persuade or influence those who disagree? Do you agree with this? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you observed someone communicate a point effectively in a very calm, quiet manner? Has this type of approach ever been effective for you?

     

    1. Has there ever been a time when God has communicated with you about something important in a quiet way, even a whisper? If so, what was that experience like – and how did you respond?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 16:24, 17:14,28, 18:13,21, 21:23, 22:11, 25:11,15; Matthew 5:3-8