Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Discomforting Facts About The Comfort Zone

    Leave a Comment

    December 9, 2019 – Sergio M. Fortes  Several months back, an edition of Monday Manna discussed something many of us have encountered: the comfort zone. It seemed fitting to revisit this topic, since it is a common issue of the everyday workplace, as well as people’s lives. It is where we like to be and feel least threatened; it is familiar and predictable. It seems comfortable because we are not being stretched and challenged beyond our normal practices.

    Our individual “comfort zone” can be identified through specific actions, thoughts, concepts and behaviors, which become a permanent habit. The comfort zone brings the benefits of harmony, without fear, anxiety, or risk. However, life in the comfort zone can prevent us from achieving more than we knew that we could. It keeps us from discovering we have greater capacities than we realized, because we refuse to extend ourselves beyond what we already know. The comfort zone prevents us from exploring new ideas, blocks questions, and inhibits decision-making.

    Enjoying the benefits of safety and the feeling that everything is under our control, we often find it difficult to change that status quo. However, rather than being an asset, the comfort zone can lead a company or a individual onto the path that fosters boredom, stagnation, dissatisfaction, envy towards others, and supplies excuses for everything.

    Choosing to remain in the comfort zone means giving up the development process, as well as opportunities for growth. It could be regarded as aborting one’s professional life. The years pass unchallenged, and the stagnant life becomes impoverished. Escaping from the comfort zone leads to discovering new opportunities and potential, the conquest of greater trust, increases in creativity, and even revival of the will to live.

    The Scriptures present numerous examples of people who seemed very comfortable where they were, doing what they had been doing. But God had bigger and better plans for them. To accomplish those, He needed to force them out of their comfort zones. Here are a few of them:

    The Challenge to Abram. God challenged Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home”, going to a land that he would show him (Genesis 12.1-3). Despite the fabulous promise that he would become “the father of a great nation,” it was quite an attack on Abram’s comfort zone. The word “leave” in Hebrew is “lech-lecha,” a nearly identical two-term word play. The first means, “Go,” and the second, “To yourself.” It meant Abram’s traumatic departure from his homeland, with the challenge to seek his most authentic identity.

    The Huge Project of the Promised Land. For Israel, a people used to the sameness of four centuries of routine, God’s instruction for them to leave in pursuit of the Promised Land must have been an overwhelming rattle to the nation’s comfort zone. Great leaders were raised by God who guided them precisely during the process we know as the “exodus.” It serves as a unique story for how to face and overcome the comfort zone.

    Exploring the Other Side. Jesus Christ challenged His disciples: “Let us go across to the other side” (Mark 4:35). They knew that sea very well. They knew how to navigate it comfortably. But getting to the other side was a great challenge: it was late, and going there could be risky. Then, soon after they left, a raging storm began! Their comfort zone was bombarded. Only trust in Jesus enabled them to survive the realm of discomfort.

    Jesus’ statement is comforting: “Let us go….” Do you know why? Because it means He goes along us. And knowing that He is there, crossing to the “other side” can become a safe, yet exhilirating adventure!

    Sergio Fortes is a mentor and consultant in logistics and corporate strategic business. As a member of CBMC in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, he coordinated “Monday’s Manna” review and translation in Portuguese for more than 20 years. He remains committed to the Lord Jesus in His mission to make disciples.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you have a “comfort zone”? How would you describe it?

     

    1. How easy do you find it to venture outside your comfort zone? Why do you think this is so – not only for yourself, but also for others? Even for businesses, corporations and other types of organizations?

     

    1. Think of an example when willingness to step outside your comfort zone proved to be beneficial. Did that result in your being able to step into the unfamiliar more often? Why or why not?

     

    1. What role does faith have in overcoming the temptation to remain within one’s comfort zone? What does Jesus’ challenge and promise, “Let us go to the other side,” mean for you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Genesis 6:9-7:5; Exodus 3:1-14; Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 28:19-20

  2. The Ever-Changing Tools Of The Trade

    Leave a Comment

    December 2, 2019 – Rick Boxx  The “tools” I was given for my first job in public accounting included an adding machine, pencils, and a pad of green columnar paper. The only computer I recall was a $1 million albatross located at a client’s office that no one could figure out how to use. How the times have changed since then!

    Today, my laptop computer is about the size of my former adding machine, capable of putting that $1 million dinosaur of a computer to shame. My laptop has eliminated the need for an adding machine, I rarely use a pencil for anything, and the green accounting paper has been replaced by software with a capacity for doing work we could not have imagined during the first years of my career.

    What is most interesting about this is how along with not being able to anticipate today’s advancements in decades past, we know that technology continues to present us with new tools and resources that we cannot envision right now. Just when we start thinking we have “arrived” in terms of technological breakthroughs, we learn about some new innovation.

    This is true not only for the workplace, but also for every aspect of our personal lives. If it has been a few years since purchasing a new car, we find ourselves amazed at new additions that make driving safer and more comfortable. Advances in communications move so quickly, it is almost impossible to keep pace with them.

    All of this newness continues to amaze us, but the Scriptures tell us we can eagerly look forward to discovering new things in the spiritual realm as well. In Isaiah 42:9, God said, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

    If we look at the “book of beginnings,” the Old Testament book of Genesis, we read about God’s work of creation, how He started with nothing and created an entire universe and proceeded to create the world we know, along with everything in it – foremost of all, humankind. Finally, Genesis 2:1-2 tells us, “Then the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

    However, this did not mean God forever ceased from His plan to create and oversee the wonders that we experience every day. As Jesus Christ told His followers, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). Best of all, this work is not limited to a broad, general sense. God’s work of “newness” takes place in the lives of each of His people every day. He can and desires to perform an act of recreation in us as well.

    As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” As the seasons change, we see a continual march of new replacing the old. And as the Spirit of God works in our hearts, we can experience new life – new desires, new motives, new values and new strength – moving in to replace our old lives that brought us so much failure and frustration.

    The future tools of our trades, the resources we utilize for performing our daily jobs, are usually announced in a very rudimentary form. However, if we pay attention and are receptive, we can be prepared for the new things God has declared that He will do in us and through us, for His glory, whether it is where we work or where we live.

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How have the tools you use at work changed since you began your career? What have been the greatest changes and innovations for enabling you to do what you do?

     

    1. Do you have any anxieties about forthcoming changes in your vocation or industry? How easily are you able to adapt to changes, especially those involving technological innovations?

     

    1. What are your thoughts about “newness” as it applies to spirituality – the spiritual dimension of our lives that includes our beliefs, values and motivations?

     

    1. Has God performed a new work in your life? Do you believe He is continuing to do so? Explain your answer. If so, how would you describe the new work that He has been doing in you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    John 3:3-8; Romans 6:1-11, 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:22-24

  3. Remembering To Be Thankful – At All Times

    Leave a Comment

    November 25, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  What are you thankful for – your career, your family, your health, financial prosperity? How often do you pause to ponder or reflect on the positives in your life – to be genuinely thankful? And when you do give thanks, to whom, or what, do you express your gratitude?

    For many people in the United States, this week marks two important events: The official start of the Christmas season (although for many retailers, that began around the middle of August), and the observance of Thanksgiving Day, a holiday in which men, women and children offer thanks for their blessings in life. For some, it is a time to direct attention to the God who bestows those blessings. Others focus their thankfulness elsewhere – perhaps to good fortune, their own efforts, or random circumstances.

    Personally, I offer thanks to God, whom the Bible describes as the Creator, provider and sustainer of all that is, ever has been and ever will be. I recognize that I possess certain gifts and abilities, but also understand I did nothing to earn them. I certainly could not purchase them anywhere. I believe the Lord gave them to me to develop and use in bringing glory to Him. And for that, and many other things, I thank Him.

    At the same time, I do not believe thanksgiving should be confined to a particular day or season. One of the earliest Bible verses I learned admonishes, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As I understand it, “in all circumstances” or “in everything” (as another translation terms it) means…in all circumstances. In everything.

    So, this means we are to give thanks not only for good things that happen in our lives, what we typically define as our “blessings,” but also for difficult, even painful circumstances. Another passage presents it this way: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

    It is east to feel gratitude at those times when everything seems to be going well. All the bills are paid; we have more than enough clothes to wear; we have a roof over our heads and food in the refrigerator; we have not had any health setbacks; we find our work enjoyable and rewarding. As some might say, “It’s all good!”

    However, we all have learned that in life, hardships and adversities do occur. Emergencies happen, upsetting our budgets. We or someone we love receive a concerning medical report. Our jobs become tedious, frustrating, even agonizing – yet we have no better options. How do we remain thankful at times like that? I think we find the answer in the Scriptures. Our focus should be on God, who promises to always be with us and to meet our needs, not on our circumstances, no matter how troubling they may be.

    In a well-known psalm, the writer describes numerous setbacks and admits, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord.” But then he adds, “and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6). Having this assurance, at both the beginning and the end of the psalm, he is able to exhort his readers, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1,29).

    When we trust that God is in control, we can give thanks to Him in good times and bad times. We can, as another Psalm tells us, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4).

    © 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. To revisit the opening question, what things in your life are you most thankful for?

     

    1. Are there things in your life – difficult realities or circumstances – for which you find difficult to feel any measure of thankfulness? If those, what are those, and how have you been dealing with them?

     

    1. What is your reaction to reading biblical passages that tell us to “give thanks in all circumstances” or “in every situation”? How can that even be possible?

     

    1. How could shifting our focus away from difficult or challenging circumstances and instead, directing it toward God, whom the Scriptures describe as “good, his love endures forever,” change our feelings of thankfulness – or the lack of it? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 95:1-2, 147:1,7; Daniel 6:10; Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:17

  4. Mission: ‘Marketplace Ambassadors’

    Leave a Comment

    November 18, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Way back in 1981, I heard about something called “CBMC” for the first time. I was seeking an employment change, and responded to an ad in a trade journal. The job was with an organization that at the time was called Christian Business Men’s Committee, although it is now known globally as Connecting Business and the Marketplace to Christ.

    The job description seemed perfect: I would become editor of the CBMC magazine and other publications, and also would be working with the ministry’s president – Ted DeMoss at the time – in writing a book about his life and experiences. Wow! Since I had been a newspaper editor for 10 years, two of my professional goals had been to one day write a magazine article and to write a book. These goals would no longer be mere aspirations – they were work assignments!

    What I did not realize at the time was this was more than a career move. It was an extremely unusual opportunity to grow spiritually. I served as editor for the CBMC magazine for 17 years, and the book I was assigned to write – The Gospel and the Briefcase – turned out to be just the first of more than 20 books I have been privileged to author, co-author and edit. But I am often reminded of Ephesians 3:20, which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine….” Another translation says God is able to do “exceeding abundantly,” and He certainly did that for me – not just in my career but even more important, in my life.

    Over the years, I have met countless individuals who were sold out to Jesus Christ, “satisfied customers” who embraced the truth of Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” They became role models and informal mentors for me, and through hundreds of workshops, conferences, retreats and training sessions, I learned much about what it means “work as for the Lord, rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).

    Fast-forward to the present: The latest book I have written has just been published. Titled Marketplace Ambassadors, it recounts the history and heritage of CBMC since its founding in 1930, giving stories about its pioneer founders and leaders, and telling how the ministry has changed and grown over the decades. In a sense, this book brings my career full-circle as it has allowed me to recapture incredible, inspiring stories of people who have devoted their lives to serving Jesus Christ and others in His name and strategies they have used.

    The title for the book is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:20, which declares, “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.” This says that every follower of Jesus is called to serve as His ambassador within their sphere of influence – and there is no sphere where the Good News of God’s love, grace and mercy is more greatly needed than the marketplace.

    CBMC was started in 1930 with the goal of offering hope and spiritual answers for people in great despair because of the Great Depression. Today, CBMC still brings the message of hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. However, the focus is exclusively on the business and professional world, serving as His ambassadors not only in the United States but in 96 countries around the world!

    We typically think of ambassadors as representing a nation or government entity. People in CBMC have a similar responsibility, except they represent something far greater – the eternal kingdom of God. In many ways, as Ted DeMoss used to say, the role is simple: “One beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.”

    © 2019. 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 edited other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What has God done in your life that could be described as “exceeding abundantly” or “Immeasurably more than all we think or imagine”?

     

    1. Has there been a time when you made a job change that proved to be much more than simply a career move? If so, what has that experience been like and how has it affected your life as a result?

     

    1. When you hear the term “marketplace ambassadors,” what images come to your mind? Can you envision yourself as a marketplace ambassador for Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

     

    1. How important is it to strive to effectively represent Christ in the business and professional world? How great is the need, in your view?

     

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

    Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 6:19-21,33; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23-24; 2 Timothy 2:2

  5. Bouncing Back – In Business And In Life

    Leave a Comment

    November 11, 2019 – Jim Langley  I have been playing the game of golf since I was 19 and still remember playing my first nine holes on the Texas A&M University golf course without any prior golf instruction. Even skilled athletes would be wise to get some instruction before playing a round of golf for the first time. As I discovered!

    Golf was by far the most difficult sport I had ever attempted and was determined to do it well. I do not remember my first birdie, but do recall my first eagle – at Breckenridge Park Golf Course, the long-time site of the Texas Open in San Antonio. I can remember every detail.

    One of the major challenges in golf is to “bounce back” from shooting over par on the previous hole. We often hear TV golf announcers talk about players bouncing back from a bogey (one over par) when they get a birdie (one under par) on the next hole. These days, bounce backs for me are more along the line of getting a par after several bogeys in a row, since my golf game has suffered with age. Because I still love the game, bouncing back still provides feelings of exhilaration.

    We might not all be golfers, but can all appreciate the need for bouncing back – even if we never pick up a golf club. I have experienced this in business over the past 30-plus years; it is likely we all have. We interview for a job with great anticipation, but someone else is hired. After years of hard work, we think a much desired promotion is deserved, but a colleague is chosen instead. We invest many hours in cultivating an important client, confident of making a major sale, but a competitor is selected instead.

    Personal life experiences also require a bounce-back mentality. Whether it is a health crisis or financial struggles, difficulties within the family or unexpected and costly emergencies, we all learn the importance of being able to bounce back from adversity. It has not always been easy, but occasions like these have proved to be both memorable and significant for me, important lessons in learning how to persevere. Especially if we have done nothing to deserve the negative position in which we may well find ourselves.

    As we read the Bible to apply its teachings to the everyday opportunities and struggles of the marketplace, we discover the early followers of Jesus Christ learned much about how to bounce back from adversity and hardship. Jesus’ disciples – those closest to Him during his earthly ministry – went through many trials. Most of them died as martyrs, and yet their faith enabled them to persevere for Christ until their last breath.

    We find a classic example in the words of Paul in his letter to the ancient church in Philippi. He wrote, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two; I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:20-24).

    This is what I believe God desires from us. He is not necessarily looking for martyrs, but for devoted followers willing to place Him and others ahead of their own needs. He wants us to bounce back from whatever negative developments our spiritual enemy throws at us and remain faithful to the very end.

    © 2019, 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 relate to this description of having to “bounce back” from a poor performance in golf, or another sport? How easy has it been for you to disregard the bad hole, the mistake on the tennis court, or even an ill-advised move on a board game, to bounce back for the next opportunity?

      

    1. How about your experiences at work? How do you typically respond when your hopes or expectations are not met, or goals you have worked hard to achieve are not attained?

     

    1. What is the role of perseverance in being able to bounce back, as Mr. Langley calls it, from various forms of adversity at work – or in the everyday realities of life?

     

    1. Do you think faith in God should play an important role in our trying to bounce back when times of hardship and disappointment come, especially in the workplace? Why or why not? If so, in what ways?

     

    NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages:
    John 16:32-33; Romans 8:28,35-39; 1 Corinthians 4:10-13; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; James 1:2-4

  6. The Perils Of Overblown Self-Importance

    Leave a Comment

    November 4, 2019 – Rick Boxx  My son-in-law, Brian, met with a mutual friend who previously had served as CFO for a well-known, publicly traded company. When I asked how his meeting went, Brian replied, “He shared an idea with me that I will never forget: ‘You are never as important as you think.’”

    An older, wiser businessman of this man’s stature sharing this insight with Brian was both profound and helpful. The executive knew well what it was like to hold a role of considerable power and prominence. However, he had also learned firsthand how fleeting influence and prestige can be. Without even a moment’s notice, it can all be stripped away.

    That day, Brian learned no matter how high or low on the corporate ladder it may be, every position is vulnerable and replaceable. This is true for top executives, baseball managers and football coaches, elected officials, restaurant managers and construction foremen. No one is indispensable. For this reason, it is crucial that we guard our hearts against pride, especially when we have experienced some successes in life.

    The executive wisely said, “You are never as important as you think.” In the Scriptures we find similar words of caution. For instance, the apostle Paul in Romans 12:3 offered this admonition: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” 

    In numerous passages, the Bible uses the term “puffed up” to describe people who have gotten caught up with pride and the delusion of self-importance. Colossians 2:18 warns of becoming deceived of people with wrong motives and beliefs: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility…disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.”

    How can we avoid these pitfalls – becoming “puffed up” or thinking more highly of ourselves than we should? Some other passages are helpful in this respect:

    Recognize the pitfalls of pride. We all have encountered people that seemed convinced that no one in the room was as important as they were. Often these same people experience humiliation when they fail, or someone proves their self-assessments were greatly exaggerated. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

    Make a conscious effort to show deference to others. Numerous studies have shown that the most effective leaders, the ones that succeed in motivating and inspire those they lead, are those who exhibit humility and genuine concern for other people. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

    Remember how fleeting praise can be. It can be gratifying to receive compliments and commendations, but they can also become stumbling blocks if we start taking those good words too seriously and start pounding ourselves on the back. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives” (Proverbs 27:21).

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. The executive stated, “You are never as important as you think you are.” Do you agree with this? Can you think of any exceptions? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Who can you think of that at one time or another has exhibited the “puffed up” attitude described in this Monday Manna? What was that individual like – and how did you respond to him or her?

     

    1. Have you ever struggled personally with an exaggerated sense of self-importance? If so, in what ways – and how have you dealt with it?

     

    1. What, in your opinion, is the best way to remember we are not as important as we might think we are? How would you communicate this to someone else?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 12:9, 16:5,18, 18:12, 21:4,24, 26:12; Romans 2:8, 12:10; Ephesians 5:21

  7. Giving Your Best For Your Worst Job

    Leave a Comment

    October 28, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  What is the worst job you ever had? I understand that “worst” can mean different things to different people, but all of us can probably think of one particular job – or two – that we absolutely hated. For me, it was commissioned sales jobs that I attempted briefly. Very briefly, like for about two or three days each. The first one was selling vacuum cleaners to people by appointment; the other was going door-to-door selling encyclopedias.

    You can tell both of these were many years ago, because I think door-to-door selling is virtually obsolete for security reasons, as well as the accessibility of being able to buy things via the Internet. And does anyone buy encyclopedias anymore? With Google and other online search engines, information we need is literally at our fingertips. Why clutter our homes with multiple volumes of costly, heavy reference books?

    The point is, I detested both jobs, primarily because I am not a salesperson. Being basically introverted, for me the idea of having to earn a living by trying to sell to strangers things they likely do not want or need had zero appeal. Outgoing, sales-oriented individuals, however, especially those who thrive on the opportunity to earn a substantial income if they can sell enough products, might have loved the jobs I hated.

    But what about having to do work without any beauty or excitement? I heard about a man whose full-time job was cleaning portable outdoor toilets. I guarantee, no one grows up or goes to college with the goal of attaining that job. But this man stated although he would not describe his work as “enjoyable,” he found joy in it because he started each day with the heartfelt desire to bring honor to God by how he approached his assignments.

    When I heard this story I thought about followers of Jesus Christ in the ancient city of Colossae. Many of them had jobs that were mundane at best. For some, this meant cleaning horse stables. Can you imagine spending all day, every day, shoveling manure and replacing soiled hay and straw? And yet, when the apostle Paul wrote a letter of exhortation to these believers, he said:

    “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:17,22-24).

    This is humbling to consider, especially if we have jobs that we do like, but grumble about them anyway. How can we do what Paul urged every Christ follower to do? The passage above gives some hints:

    We should strive to reflect Christ’s character.“In the name of the Lord Jesus” means to perform our work in ways that reflect godly character and qualities – as if Jesus Himself were doing the job. Years ago the saying, “What would Jesus do?” was often repeated, and as we approach our work, that is a good question to ask.

    Our hearts need to be right. It is one thing to put on good appearances when we know someone is watching what we are doing. But how do we conduct ourselves when we think no one is looking? Even when our human bosses are not present, we can trust the omniscient God is there, wanting us to bring honor to Him.

    We will be rewarded. We have no assurances that people will notice the excellence of our work, but we have God’s promise that He does notice and will reward our diligence and faithfulness.

    © 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 is the worst job you ever had? Why did it seem so bad for you?

     

    1. How can it be that some people find certain kinds of work enjoyable and rewarding, while others detest them and would choose to do almost anything but what their current jobs demand?

     

    1. What do you think of people who appear to be working wholeheartedly and with zeal when they know they are being watched, but lower their productivity or do virtually no work at all when they feel they are not being seen and evaluated?

     

    1. How would you explain what it means to “work as for the Lord rather than for men”? Does this mean we should not care what our earthly supervisors and “masters” think? Do you think that working for the Lord means we can lower our standards – or does that mean setting a standard even higher than what our job descriptions require? Explain your answer.

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:24, 18:9; 22:29;
    1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 6:5-9

  8. Refusing To Let Fear Get The Best Of Us

    Leave a Comment

    October 21, 2019 – Jim Mathis  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It is interesting that the Bible uses the phrases, “Do not fear” and “fear not,” more than any others. Fear can be a motivator, but often it becomes a de-motivator. It can cause us to get us moving or paralyze us into doing nothing. Rational action results when we put aside fear and act in a well-thought-out and pragmatic manner.

    Chapman University in Orange, California conducted an annual survey asking Americans what are their greatest fears. I always assumed it was fear of public speaking, financial insecurity, or maybe dying. So, the results were a little surprising. Only two of the top 10 fears concern financial issues; five of the top 10 things we fear most are environmental issues.

    Dying did not even make the top 10! I heard a speaker comment on this survey, suggesting environmental issues are not legitimate fears. As if only the fear of dying or fear of cancer or some other dreaded disease were real fears, dismissing pollution and the environment as not being worthy of concern.

    Personally, I was very encouraged by this survey because it tells me people are not as afraid of the things that some politicians and TV news tell us we ought to be afraid of, but see a bigger picture. According to this survey, the three biggest causative factors of fear are poor education; talk shows on both radio and TV, and crime TV programs. This apparently is why so many people fear things like crime, immigration, and natural disasters. If you want to be less fearful, turn off the TV and go to the library.

    It is easy to get trapped by the fear of the day. We could term it, “the tyranny of the urgent.” It takes discipline to stay focused on the big picture. My wife and I are always talking about five years from now: Where do we want to be and what do we want to be doing in five years? With these things in mind, what do we need to be doing today to get there? Here are a few things the Scriptures teach about why we should “fear not”:

    Remember we are not alone. When we start thinking we must face life’s challenges and problems alone, we can remind ourselves that God promises to be with us. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

    Remember how we are valued. God places value on everything He has created, but the highest value by far is humankind. Because of this, we can trust in His guidance and provision. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill to soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Ye not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father…. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:28-31).

    Remember God has a plan.When we feel fearful of what lies ahead, we have the assurance that God has His plans prepared for us and will see that they are fulfilled. “‘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’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    When Roosevelt talked about fearing fear, he meant do not panic. Do not let those fear-mongers who devote themselves to spreading fear get to you. We need to get back to work, focusing on things we can control and affect, rather than worrying about things we cannot control. Then trust in God who is in control.

    © 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. What are some of the things that cause fear and anxiety for you?

     

    1. How many of these things that cause you to feel afraid can you control? What is the purpose in worrying about things you cannot control?

     

    1. When you find yourself feeling fearful or anxious, do you ever find yourself turning to God and placing your concerns into His hands? Why or why not?

     

    1. Which of the promises cited – we are not alone; we are highly valued, and God has a plan for each of us – is most meaningful or helpful for you in overcoming the fears that threaten to overwhelm us? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Joshua 1:6-9; 1 Kings 2:3;
    1 Chronicles 22:12-13; Isaiah 43:1-7; Luke 12:32; 1 John 4:12,18

  9. Margin: Making Room For The Important

    Leave a Comment

    October 14, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Margin. It is critical for our lives in many ways, even though we often fail to appreciate it. For instance, the margins on a typewritten page help the eyes in focusing on the words. If the entire sheet of paper were covered with words, with no white space around them, the task of reading would be tedious at best, even impossible.

    Unfortunately, many of us fail to appreciate the importance of margin in our finances and our daily schedules. We attempt to cram in as much as possible, even if we know we cannot possibly handle everything we are trying to accomplish. As a result, we experience stress – lots and lots of stress.

    A communication from an organization called Gather Ministries offered this description: “Margin is the amount of time, money, or whatever, that we hold back – in order to maintain productivity, stability, integrity. ‘Calendar margin’ means reserving time for rest, for solitude, for other people. ‘Financial margin’ means living within our means, even changing our lifestyles, if necessary. ‘Work margin’ means focusing on what we’re made to do, and excluding the things we aren’t.”

    Many of us would respond, “Calendar margin? Financial margin? Work margin? What is that?!” Because our lifestyles are packed with commitments, obligations – and expenses. We work to excess to acquire an excess of things we think we need; in the process we sacrifice things that are far more important – like relationships, being able to set aside time for personal, physical and spiritual restoration, experiencing true joy rather than temporary happiness, and most of all, an abiding sense of peace in a world filled with unrest.

    Even though our social culture encourages us to pursue hectic lifestyles, the Bible admonishes us to do the opposite: to slow down, to rest, to pause long enough to enjoy the moment. In the book of Job, the central character uttered words most of us can identify with: “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil” (Job 3:26). But life does not have to be that way. Here are some things the Scriptures have to say:

    Take time to rest. So many times it seems the rallying cry of the business world is, “Do something, anything – just do it now!” Sometimes, even when the pressures of the day seem to be bearing down on us, the best thing we can do is hit the “pause” button and wait for what God wants us to do. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).

    Take time to seek God. We tend to get so caught up in our activities and schedules, we easily lose sight of God and where He fits into our lives at the moment. But when decisions are pending and crises seem looming, there are times when the best thing is to act counter-intuitively. Instead of working up a frenzy, we can, as Psalm 46:10 urges, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

    Focus on what will last. Much of our hard work and sleep-deprived days are devoted to achievements and acquisitions that lose value and meaning over time. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare(Isaiah 55:2).

    Make our priorities God’s priorities. When we put God first and strive to do as He directs, He has a way of ensuring that our daily needs are more than satisfied. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6:33-34).

    © 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. How would you define “margin” in our lives and our work? Do you have it in your life? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What are the factors that oppose being able to create margin in our daily lives?

     

    1. How can you go about seeking to build margin into your life? What changes would be necessary to have more of it?

     

    1. Which of the Bible passages cited seems most helpful for you in terms of finding more margin in life, more “space” for the unexpected and what is most important? In what ways?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: 1 Kings 3:7-15; Psalm 112:1-5; Proverbs 8:18-21; Isaiah 33:5-6; 1 Timothy 4:8

  10. The Five ‘P’s’ Of Work From God’s Perspective

    Leave a Comment

    October 7, 2019 – Rick Boxx  Many leaders have a very limited view of the plans and intentions God has for our work. So it helps to have an occasional reminder that when we go to work, we are there as His servants. Here are some of God’s reasons for establishing work, each of which in the English language begin with the letter “P”: purpose, provision, productivity, pleasing to the eyes, and providing order.

    Let’s begin with Purpose. Think of God as a military commander overseeing a war. Many of His people are soldiers, but some are cooks, mechanics, bookkeepers, or marketing people who recruit soldiers. Each person has an individual role to play toward the overarching purpose of winning the war. In Proverbs 19:21 we read, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”We need to understand that our work matters to God, whatever our role happens to be. Strive to discover and carry out your appointed vocational purpose in a way that contributes toward God’s ultimate, eternal purpose.

    The second of God’s reasons for work is ProvisionWhen God was creating the heavens and the earth, He performed His work in a way to assure that man and all animals had a means of provision and sustenance. In Genesis 1:29 we read, “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”Likewise, the work that God has ordained for us to do is partially designed for us to provide daily provisions for our needs. Unfortunately, many people believe provision is the only purpose for their work, leaving a void in life.

    A third of God’s reasons for work isProductivity. In the 19th century, it would have seemed impossible that the earth could ever produce enough food to feed seven billion people. However, God provided divine insight to a number of inventors that helped to usher in the Industrial Revolution. Their inventions took productivity to a level that allowed food production to skyrocket, exceeding all expectations.

    When God created man his first command was, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”(Genesis 1:28). He desires for us to be fruitful or productive in all that we do, including our work. Increased productivity better serves our customers, and is more fulfilling for us personally as we strive to improve.

    The fourth reason God ordained work can be termed, Pleasing to the Eyes. When I was a banker, I handled the financing for a new pristine golf course. When the course was completed, I played the second round of golf ever played on that course! As I stood on the impeccably manicured fairway, nestled in a stunningly beautiful setting, and surrounded by animal life, I found my heart instantly connected to God by the beauty I had experienced.

    In Genesis 2:9 we read, “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”God was concerned about creating something not only practical and functional, but also aesthetically pleasing to others. As we approach our work, we should strive to do likewise.

    The last of the “P’s” for the Lord’s reasons for creating work for humankind is Providing Order. We serve a God of order, not chaos. He took a dark, formless world and gave order to it, including days and seasons, allowing us to better manage our time. Genesis 1:14 tells us, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”Lawyers, accountants, and many other professionals help those of us who create chaos to put some structure and order to our lives. Our work sometimes best serves God by bringing order into a chaotic world.

    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. Before reading this “Monday Manna,” if someone had asked you to describe God’s purpose for work, how would you have responded?

     

    1. Does this discussion give you a different perspective about how God intends for us to approach and perform our work each day? Why or why not?

     

    1. Which of the five purposes cited for work makes the most sense for you – and why? Which do you find most difficult to understand or to apply? Explain your answer.

     

    1. If God truly does have specific reasons for us to pursue our work, what difference should that make as you prepare to go to work each day?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, 3:22;
    2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:5-9: Colossians 3:17,23-24; 4:1