Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Immediate Gratification Or Long-Term Gain?

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    April 27, 2020 – Ken Korkow  Looking back over my life, I see many times when I wanted it all. And most of those times, I wanted “it” – whatever that was – NOW! So, I stayed focused, concentrating and dedicating all of my time and energy toward achieving what I wanted. I pushed – and pushed hard. Much of the time I got what I wanted. But what I did not get were peace, satisfaction, or contentment. I found that instant gratification came – and left – quickly, leaving me to decide which “want” I should pursue next.

    How about you? Do you find yourself happy, content with where you are and what you have? Or are you always striving for the next thing, determined to gratify whatever objective occupies your mind at the moment?

    There is an alternative, you know. We do have an option – a personal choice. Instead of seeking to find instant gratification for our desires, whether they are personal or professional, we can invest our time, talent, and treasure in achieving things that really matter for the long-run.

    For example, I spent a couple years and many thousands of dollars to get a post-graduate college degree in business, because at the time I thought that was important, even essential, for professional success. But many years later I realized I would have been further ahead to have invested the same amount of time and effort in searching the Bible to gain God’s wisdom about money, business and relationships, the things I falsely believed could be obtained with a university business degree.

    I also spent too much time on materialism: buying things I did not need, with money I did not have, to impress people I did not care about. If only I had learned earlier what Jesus Christ said about the futile pursuit of money and the tangible things it can buy. In what has been called His “sermon on the mount,” Jesus said:

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, whether moth and rust can destroy, and where thieves 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 6:21-21).

    Yes, I now find myself sorry for and regretful for my wasted efforts, wasted time, and wasted money. However, as they say, that is “water under the bridge.” The time and resources have passed. What I can do is redirect my time and energy and redefine my priorities. So now I seek to invest my “prime time” – the best hours of each day – in seeking to know Christ intimately, building my relationship with Him by reading the Scriptures and praying, and to live for Him more intentionally.

    Money, even if you have a lot of it, can disappear very quickly. Even the richest people I have known, and I have known a lot of them, have discovered the value of money can be very overrated. It cannot buy happiness, peace, contentment or fulfillment. It can bring enjoyment, but that is only temporary – things we acquire, even if brand new when we get them, will eventually become old, damaged or worn out.

    On the other hand, TIME can bring us any and all of these things – it just depends on how we use it. Time is our most essential asset, and your clock (and mine) is clicking away fast. When we consider how short our lives are on earth, it becomes important to realize that how we live NOW prepares us for ETERNITY.

    Every day we are faced with choices – instant gratification, or long-term gains. Which will you choose? How will the decisions you make today affect the quality of your eternity?

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you define instant gratification? How do you typically see this demonstrated, whether in your own life or in the lives of others?

     

    1. What, in your opinion, are the pitfalls of the impulse for instant gratification? What are the benefits, if any, of the “I want it – and I want it NOW!” attitude?

     

    1. By comparison, what would you consider to be the benefits of focusing on long-term gains? What could be the pitfalls of this approach?

     

    1. At the end of this “Monday Manna,” we are asked how the decisions we make today will affect the quality of our eternity. What comes to your mind when you read that? Do you think daily decisions can have an eternal impact? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33, 16:24; Luke 14:28, 16:11; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9

  2. Setting The Bar At Exceeding Expectations

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    April 20, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  When was the last time you did business with someone and were overwhelmed in a positive way? An experience that could only be described in words like “Wow!” or “Unbelievable”?

    Perhaps it was a manufacturer’s representative that went far beyond what you requested to make certain that your needs were met. Or a retail store that went the extra mile to ensure that you were totally satisfied with your purchase? Maybe a restaurant where the food was exceptional, the atmosphere was outstanding, and the service you received – from the time you arrived until the moment you left – exceeded any expectations you might have had.

    In today’s world, such experiences seem to be more the exception than the rule. Increasingly, it seems, in the name of making a profit, attempting to reduce costs, or in some cases, pure laziness, service beyond the norm is rare. Instead of  being recipients of “the best,” we find ourselves forced to accept for what is deemed to be only “good enough.”

    Over the years, however, I have encountered a few enterprises that made exceptional service a part of their mission statements. I recall a transportation company that followed the motto, “Our goal is to exceed your expectations.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were the common practice, rather than the rarity?

    There are a number of passages in the Bible that speak to this virtue, underscoring how valuable an attitude of exceeding expectations can be. It all starts with God, our Creator, who desires to serve as our model for excellence in all we do. Here are some principles about exceeding expectations that we find in the Scriptures:

    Doing immeasurably more. How would you like to expect service providers to do everything abundantly for you – in abundance? This is what the Bible promises God wants to do for us – and in us and through us: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly (immeasurably) beyond all that we ask of think, according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20).

    Remembering whom we are serving. Typically, how we approach our work depends on how we view those we are serving. Sometimes we are tempted to do just enough to get by, but if we keep in mind who ultimately will evaluate our efforts, that will make a tremendous difference in the quality of our work and the attitudes that define our labors. “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 3:23-24).

    Exceeding expectations even with those we dislike. In most cases, we are willing to do a little extra, beyond what is expected, for people we like, as well as individuals we hope will show us their favor. But what about people we do not like, those who seem to have made it their personal mission to make us miserable? Jesus gave us these radical commands: “You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles…” (Matthew 5:38-41).

    © 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 others. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Can you think of an example of a time when someone you were doing business with – an individual or a company – exceeded any and all expectations you might have had? What was that like? What was its effect on you? How common, or rare, have you found experiences like that to be?

     

    1. What about your own attitude toward your customers, employees, even your peers: Has the idea of “exceeding their expectations” been a part of your thinking? How often is that the case for you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Why is it so easy – and so common – to settle for less than the very best, to take the approach of producing what is “just good enough” and nothing beyond that?

     

    1. In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, we are told to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18 is one such passage, Matthew 12:31 and James 2:8 are others. In what ways should this principle inform one’s commitment to exceed expectations?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 7:12;
    John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Peter 1:22

  3. Leaving Comfort, Overcoming Fear – We Start Learning

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    April 13, 2020 – Sergio Fortes  In past Monday Manna’s, I have written about difficulties we face leaving “the comfort zone,” along with how to overcome what I termed “the fear zone.” Now we can enter a true oasis for people in the workplace, one we can call “the learning zone”! This learning zone offers many challenges, but also great opportunities for discovering new skills, many of them we would not find inside the comfort zone.

    The Learning Zone features engaging in a process by which new skills, abilities, knowledge, behaviors and/or values ​​can be acquired or modified through study, experience, training, reflection and observation. This aligns with each person’s individual characteristics and learning style. The best methodology includes appropriate tools, consistent with the intended objectives.

    Learning typically helps the person acquiring knowledge to become a happier, more fulfilled person. In discovering new opportunities and unraveling new worlds, the learner develops a new habit, a continuous practice of learning. There are many approaches for learning, but none is more effective than the process of one person teaching another.

    In the corporate environment, this is commonly known as mentoring. The mentor and the one who is mentored, often called the protégé or mentee, embark on a mutual learning journey, sharing experiences through a special relationship in which they both learn. I personally regret that it was not until I was 30 years old that I experienced the privilege of having a mentor. Had I been the beneficiary of mentoring earlier in my career, I would have been a better professional – and could have avoided a lot of the mistakes and wrong decisions that I made.

    Since then I have discovered successful learning involves strong commitment on the part of both the teacher (mentor) and the learner. The teacher should do so with the humility of a student, giving one’s best to those that are learning. And those being taught should display the eagerness of someone receiving a priceless treasure.

    Such teaching traces back thousands of years, even being a foundational part of the Bible. In a Christian environment, mentoring is better known as “discipleship.” This unique learning process involves at least two characters: one who becomes a follower of Jesus while learning, and the other who learns to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth while teaching.

    This concept was so important, it dominated the last words of Jesus Christ as He was preparing to leave His earthly ministry. He said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28.18-20).Known as His “Great Commission,” it represents what we could call today the “core business,” the true mission of an organization. He was defining the true mission for each of His followers: to make disciples. He established the scope of their action – all nations, and made clear of how the process was to be done – teaching.

    Obviously, teaching and learning are not confined to spiritual purposes. Every organization that invests in learning and training activities, developing its staff to their fullest capabilities, will reap permanent rewards. In the same way, the person who self-invests in the “learning zone” will find windows to unimaginable opportunities. Learning is a task to be shared. To withhold knowledge just for ourselves would be selfish. As the apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, “the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2: 2).

    Armed with expertise from our time in the learning zone, we can move to the last stage in our professional development journey: “the growing zone.” We will consider this in a future edition of “Monday Manna.”

    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 has coordinated the translation of Monday Manna into Portuguese for more than 20 years. He is committed to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to make disciples.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. By way of review, what are your understandings of “the comfort zone” and the “fear zone”? Why is it important to progress beyond these two areas if we are to grow professionally?

     

    1. What is your perception of “the learning zone”? Do you find yourself there right now, or is that an area you need to explore? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Do you agree that one of the very best approaches for learning is one person teaching another in a mentoring relationship, which ideally results in a mutual learning experience? Why or why not?

     

    1. Have you been mentored – or have you mentored someone else? What are the strengths and challenges of mentoring, drawing from your own experience?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1;
    2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Philippians 3:17, 4:8-9; Hebrews 5:12

  4. Lessons From A Fellow Named Bezalel

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    April 6, 2020 – Rick Boxx  Over the years, I have spoken to many businesspeople who mistakenly believe they must leave the marketplace and become missionaries or pastors to do work that would please God. The Bible, however, tells a different story. In an interesting individual named Bezalel, we find an excellent illustration of how God views the intersection of vocation and faith.

    He is introduced in Exodus 35:30, where we read, “Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel …, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.’” Bezalel was the first person in the Scriptures to be described as being filled with the Spirit of God. Interestingly, he was not a priest or a prophet. He held no official “religious” role. Instead, he was a craftsman.

    But God was not calling Bezalel to serve on his own. The Lord knew the work He was calling him to accomplish inside the tabernacle, furnishings that would be dedicated to the worship of God, was going to require more people. Someone able to teach others was needed – Bezalel was appointed to lead the way. “And He has given both Bezalel and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others” (Exodus 35:34).

    As we read more about Bezalel, we discover he was not only a craftsman and a teacher, but also a generalist. He was skilled in many different crafts, while others were called to specific tasks, such as being engravers or designers. “God has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers” (Exodus 35:35). Being a generalist gave Bezalel the capability for being a good teacher for the specialists.

    God had given Moses, the leader of the Israelites, intricate designs for how He wanted His tabernacle created. As Bezalel co-labored with God, he and others working with him produced excellent results. The outcome was a tabernacle that not only met God’s specifications, but also displayed His vision. The excellence of Bezalel’s craftsmanship moved the people’s hearts to extreme generosity.

    We read in Exodus 36:6 that Moses said, “’No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so, the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” Imagine leading an important initiative that inspires such enthusiastic support that you have to say, “Stop! We do not need any more. We have more than enough!”

    This example of Bezalel is from thousands of years ago, but it clearly shows how God desires for us to partner with Him in His work, whether in constructing a building, growing a business, pioneering a new product or service, or any other project you could conceive. We don’t have to become missionaries or pastors to do so.

    Consider: God called Bezalel to be a craftsman, giving him the ability to do it very well. God has a vocational calling for you – as is true for every one of His followers. If God has blessed you with excellent skills, He might also give you the ability to teach those skills to others. I would encourage you to pray and ask God if He is calling you to teach as well as to do. Considering your past experiences and skills, are you a generalist or a specialist? To best allocate your time, it helps to know. By combining God’s design and your excellent work, you might be amazed at the generous response from others!

    © 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. Have you been told – or have you believed – that to engage in work that pleases God, you would have to become a “professional Christian,” being paid to perform some overtly religious role such as a missionary, a pastor, or another vocation directly affiliated with a church or Christian organization? Where do you think this idea came from?

     

    1. Do you believe a follower of Jesus Christ working in a so-called “secular job,” such as being a banker, a physician, schoolteacher, entrepreneur or engineer, can be just as important to God as jobs that have specifically spiritual objectives? Why or why not?

     

    1. Try to imagine how Bezalel, a man with wonderfully diverse skills in craftsmanship, must have felt when he was singled out to lead the very complex task of constructing the tabernacle for the Israelites to worship God. What do you think his initial thoughts might have been? Do you think he regarded this as a “holy calling”?

     

    1. How do you perceive your current job in terms of God’s calling on your life? Do you believe this is what He has called you to do – at least for now? Or do you believe He might be wanting you to make a vocational change, even if it means a very different career? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 14:23, 18:9; 22:29;
    1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23-24

  5. All Too Easy Pitfalls Of Communication

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    March 30, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  Communication, as I often defined it when I taught college classes in business communications, is “the successful exchange of meaning.” With all the “advances” in modern communication technology, it seems the challenge of accomplishing that – communicating clearly and effectively – is more difficult than ever.

    Some weeks ago, one of my neighbors, “Henry,” sent me a social media message telling me that he and his family were going out of town for the weekend, and asked if I would check occasionally to make certain no unfamiliar cars stopped at his home. I told him I would do so.

    A week or so later, I sent Henry a text, kiddingly stating, “I kept an eye on your house while you were gone. No one bothered it. Hope you had a good trip.” I did not hear back from him, but a few days later texted again: “Sorry we have not had a chance to connect lately. I see you getting into your car to go to work, or when you come home. Hope we can get together to chat soon.” Still no reply.

    Not long afterward, I decided to call Henry to let him know that my wife and I were going out of town and ask if he would return the favor of keeping an eye on our house in our absence. When a female voice answered, I asked if it was my neighbor’s wife, “Cathy.” “No,” she replied. “Who is this?” I explained I was trying to call my neighbor.

    “Well, this isn’t his phone any longer,” the female voice responded. “When Henry changed jobs, I took over his old job and inherited his work phone.” I later got my neighbor’s correct phone number, but reflecting on the earlier texts I had sent, wondered what the woman receiving them must have been thinking: “I kept an eye on your house…hope you had a good trip.” “I see you getting into your car…when you come home….” Wow! Did the woman, whom I did not know, think I was some kind of stalker?

    I would like to think such confused communications are rare, but suspect they are becoming all too common in this digital age when we hastily send out texts, emails and messages almost without thinking. This brings to mind some of the perils of careless communications that date back even to biblical times:

    Too many words, not enough careful consideration. We hear it on talk shows, in news reporting, and everywhere on social media – people being too eager to speak and not as eager to consider the impact of what they are about to say. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

    Too much speaking, not enough listening. It has been said that many people no longer listen to what others have to say; they only wait until the other person becomes quiet so they can start talking again. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19).

    Too much hurt, not enough healing. With the mass of communication bombarding us in every possible way, there is bound to be injury inflicted whether intended or not. Most of us must learn to become as eager to apologize, even admit, “I’m sorry,” when communication errors occur, as we are to express what we are thinking. “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).

    © 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 experienced – either as sender or recipient – an awkward, even embarrassing error in the course of trying to communicate with someone else? If so, were there any repercussions?

     

    1. What are some of the new problems in communicating with others that have been born as a result of so-called advancements in communication technology and strategies? How have they affect you or others in your workplace?

     

    1. How – in an age when words seem to have become more abundant than ever – can we learn to exercise more control and restraint over what we communicate – and how?

     

    1. For many people, among the most difficult words to say are, “I’m sorry.” How difficult is it for you to admit when you have been wrong, even when the offense was not intentional? Why do you think it is so hard for people to apologize and admit their wrongs in what they have said?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 10:20-21, 11:13, 12:13, 13:3, 15:1,4, 16:21, 18:21, 21:23

  6. Bouncing Back In Business And In Life

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    March 23, 2020 – Jim Langley  I have been playing golf since I was 19, and can still recall joining some college friends in playing my first nine holes without any prior golf instruction. Even though my first attempt was a poor one, I was hooked and took up the game seriously that summer.

    One of the major challenges in golf is being able to “bounce back” from exceeding par on the previous hole. This is critical for shooting par or even under par over an entire round. These days, bounce-backs for me come more along the lines of managing a par after several bogeys in a row, since my golf skills have diminished as I have gotten older. But I still love the game, and bouncing back remains exhilarating.

    Of course, the importance of bouncing back is not limited to the golf course. We have all discovered this in the workplace, as well as other areas of our lives. Over the past 30-plus years I have faced my share of personal experiences that required me to bounce back from adversity. I have always found, sometimes by way of hindsight, that these memorable occasions can prove significant for learning how to persevere.

    Often we have done nothing to deserve the adverse circumstances in which we find ourselves. In golf, sometimes the golf ball just takes an unfortunate bounce into a water hazard, a sand trap or some other difficult lie. The same holds true for the workplace. We may have done everything we thought we should, and yet we fail to close a much-needed deal. A long-anticipated promotion goes to someone else. Or the proposal we devoted many hours to preparing is not received with the enthusiasm we had expected. So how do we respond? We can quit. We can wallow in self-pity. Or, we can choose to bounce back, determined not to let the setback overcome us.

    Jesus’ disciples went through many trials and most of them died as martyrs, yet they persevered for Christ until their last breath. They knew how to bounce back from adversity. In fact, Jesus assured them this would be so. A short time before His crucifixion, He told His followers, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18-20).

    This is one reason two Scripture passages focus on how we should handle the trials and adversities that come our way. In Romans 5:3-5, the apostle Paul wrote, “,,we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us….” He might well have said, “When difficult times come, be prepared to bounce back.”

    Another apostle, James, offered a similar admonition: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

    God is not necessarily looking for martyrs, but is seeking devoted followers who will place Him and others before their own needs. He wants us to bounce back from whatever our spiritual enemy throws at us and remain faithful to the very end. He wants us to have true victory as we deal with adversity in this world. Bouncing back, whether in the marketplace or the golf course, can be one of our greatest joys!

    © 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 relate to the idea of “bouncing back” on the golf course? Even if you do not play golf, perhaps you can understand because of another form of competition, or even in terms of some professional setbacks you have faced. What has it been like for you to bounce back from difficult circumstances?

     

    1. What are some factors that might interfere with our ability or capacity to bounce back when trials and adversities inevitably come our way?

     

    1. Do you think that those who are followers of Jesus Christ in particular should expect challenging circumstances, both at work and in their personal lives, from which they will need to bounce back? Why or why not?

     

    1. Even though he did not use the term “bounce back,” one of the biblical writers cited in this “Monday Manna” said we should “consider it pure joy…whenever we face trials of many kinds.” Does this seem like strange advice? How can we find “pure joy” as we encounter and deal with such difficulties?

     

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

  7. Overcoming Fear Outside The Comfort Zone

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    March 16, 2020 – Sergio M. Fortes  Some time ago I wrote about the benefits – and limitations – of living and working in the “comfort zone,” areas we find comfortable and familiar. We find security there, but staying there may inhibit our personal and professional development. Why do we remain there? I believe it is because of what we might call “the Fear Zone.”

    When we make the important decision to abandon the comfort zone, we find ourselves entering an unfamiliar, untested realm characterized by an absence of self-confidence. Fearful of challenges we have never faced before, we might feel overpowered and influenced by the opinions of others. Rather than boldly venturing into the unknown, we take refuge in excuses.

    Fear is not necessarily bad. It puts us on alert, adrenaline surging within us to prepare us for threats that surround us. But fear can also paralyze and disable us from taking any action, even positive steps for growth and professional advancement. Over the years I have learned this is the strategy of the enemy of our souls – Satan – as the Scriptures warn us. We are told he “roars like a lion looking for a victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Immobilizing fear can turn us into easy prey.

    There are many kinds of fear: Fear of going wrong. Fear of not making the right decision. Fear of what others might think. Fear of the unknown. This brings to mind the people of Israel after they had been freed from slavery in Egypt. Despite the adversity they had left behind, it still represented a “comfort zone” for them – the known and familiar. Discomfort with the unknown turned into dread. They began to rationalize: “It wasn’t so bad back there.” They wanted to give up and turn back, to return to the “onions and garlic” from Egypt. Amazingly, they concluded that dying in Egypt would be better than surviving in the desert.

    Anxiety has been called “one of the evils of the century,” something that afflicts all ages, from children to the elderly. We fear in advance things that have not yet happened and may never happen. How should we deal with fear? The Bible provides us with precious guidance:

    A divine command. Addressing the Israelites, God instructed, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whether leaving our comfort zone or facing a big challenge, confronting fear is a divine directive. We might regard this as the 11th commandment: “You shall not be afraid…” (Psalm 91:5).

    Spirit of a winner. Paul the apostle was mentor to his young protégé, Timothy, who found himself surrounded by obstacles imposed by Jewish leaders who did not want to leave their own comfort zones. Paul challenged him to persevere, to win: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, pf love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

    Confidence despite uncertainty. Fear is often inevitable. Circumstances, problems and obstacles attack our faith. However, drawing from personal experience, the psalmist David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you…in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).

    No fear, not even of death. Life can put us into situations that appear hopeless, when it seems our end has been decreed. But God’s Word comes to us with unbeatable power: “Even though I walk through a dark valley like death, I will not be afraid of anything. For you, O Lord God, are with me; you protect me and direct me” (Psalm 23 4).

    Do you find yourself outside your comfort zone and into the zone of fear? We can stare it down, because of the certainty that Almighty God is with us. The Fear Zone is worth facing and overcoming, because as I will write in a future edition of “Monday Manna,” the next stage is the Learning Zone!

    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 has coordinated the translation of Monday Manna into Portuguese for more than 20 years. He is committed to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to make disciples.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. By way of review, how would you define the “comfort zone”? What makes up the comfort zone for you? How difficult do you find it to venture outside this comfort zone?

     

    1. Fortes suggests a “Fear Zone” confronts us if and when we determine to step beyond our comfort zones? What kind of role do you think fear plays in encouraging us to remain with the familiar and comfortable?

     

    1. What kinds of fear do you find yourself dealing with most commonly? In what ways have you been able to overcome them?

     

    1. A number of biblical promises are presented for enabling us to overcoming the fear of venturing outside our comfort zones. Do you find them helpful? If so, in what ways? If not, why?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
    Isaiah 26:3-4, 41:10-14; Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians 3:20

  8. Is Leadership Somewhat Overrated?

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    March 9, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  If you have been in the business and professional world for any length of time – even for just a few months – chances are you have asked, encouraged or even ordered to attend some form of leadership training. It might have been an hour-long meeting, a workshop, a seminar or even a conference. In any case, the intention was to prepare you for becoming a more effective leader.

    But does it ever occur to you that leadership – leading – is a big overrated? The reason I ask is because, unlike leadership, when was the last time you participated in training on how to follow?

    American business consultant Brian Kight pointed this out recently when he stated on social media, “You do not have to lead. It is not for everyone. That does not mean you cannot be an amazing contributor. Teams need every role. Leadership is just one. Fall in love with the role you have.”

    What Kight said might sound strange, but it is true. We cannot all be leaders. What would you think of an army in which everyone was a general, but no one was a soldier engaged in actual battle?

    Years ago I was with an organization and enjoying tremendously my job as writer and editor. My title was “director of publications,” but since I had a very small staff, much of the actual day-to-day work fell on my shoulders. And I had no problem with that.

    One day a top executive with the organization called me into his office and asked me, “Where do you see yourself in the future – maybe five years from now?” My answer was simple: I saw myself doing much of what I had been doing, since I was greatly enjoying my work, felt I was doing it was and found it very fulfilling. Many people had complimented my work, and I saw no need for making any changes.

    It was not that I lacked ambition or aspirations for achieving new goals. It was simply that I felt no need to be directing others. Rather than delegating work to others, I much preferred rolling up my sleeves and being directly involved myself in whatever publications we had to produce at the time.

    As Kight said, the responsibility to lead “is not for everyone.” Many people are well-content with carrying out their respective tasks, understanding they are contributing to a greater goal. In the Scriptures, we see this modeled perfectly by Jesus Christ. He was the unquestioned leader; what He wanted was faithful, devoted followers. Here are some examples of what the Bible says about “followship”:

    Let the leader set the pace. In assembling His team, Jesus sought people with vision – but also the willingness to follow. “”’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19).

    There is a cost to following. Following even a powerful leader is not always easy. It sometimes means sacrifice, being willing to set aside one’s own ambitions for a higher goal. “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” Luke 9:23).

    The best leaders are also good followers. One of the foremost leaders of the early Church was the apostle Paul. He wielded much influence, but even at that, Paul never forgot whom he was following, who was determining the course. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” 1 Corinthians 11:1).

    © 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 types of leadership training have you participated in? What were some of the things you learned through this training, whether it took place at workshops, seminars or conferences?

     

    1. When – if ever – have you attended a training session about effective following? Why do you think so much effort is invested in teaching people to lead, but not in instructing how they should follow?

     

    1. If you are a leader in some official capacity, have you ever tried to communicate your appreciation not only for what people do but also for how they follow your direction? If not, how might you go about doing this?

     

    1. What about people – perhaps including yourself – who have not been given formal leadership responsibilities: Do you think this makes their – or your – role any less important to what the team is striving to accomplish overall? How could you, even as a leader, learn how to become a better follower?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 25:6-7, 29:23; Matthew 4:18:22, 8:18-22, 16:21-26; John 10:1-18; 1 Peter 2:18-21

  9. Teachability: An Invaluable Virtue

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    March 2, 2020 – Rick Boxx  Tom, a CEO friend of mine, had a promising executive on his leadership team that was struggling at work. It had become obvious this individual would need additional oversight until he could mature into fulfilling the potential everyone knew he possessed. One of the problems involved the junior executive’s reluctance to release any control. He lacked of a quality Tom considered critical for personal and professional growth: Teachability.

    Despite having the intelligence and raw talent for one day becoming a valued member of the team, this fellow’s resistance to instruction and correction would remain obstacles for advancement. Tom knew if the leader did not become more open to recommendations for change or improvement, most likely he would undermine any assistance and support sent his way.

    Unwilling to give up on the young executive, Tom scheduled a face-to-face meeting with him to discuss the reality of the problem. He needed to prove that he was teachable, Tom explained, or it would be necessary to consider other options.

    Fortunately, this leader humbled himself and accepted Tom’s offer of additional direction. This resulted in rapid growth for the leader and more profitability for the organization. It proved to be a win-win for him and the company, but if he had resisted change, everyone would have lost.

    Repeatedly in the Scriptures we find emphasis on the importance of teachability. Here are some examples:

    Teachability leads to prosperity. There is an old saying that “not one of us is as smart as all of us.” We might believe we can succeed independently, without help, but doing so almost always leads to failure. Relying on the wisdom and insights of others, however, usually leads to success. “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

    Teachability paves the way to wisdom. A young man seeking a mentor, when asked why he wanted to be mentored, responded, “I want to learn from your mistakes.” Showing discernment beyond his years, this individual had realized he did not need to make all of his own errors; he could also learn from the mistakes others had made. Wisdom is usually a product of experience, and experience is often gained through making mistakes and then making necessary corrections and changes. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20).

    Teachability pursues the best resources. The world is filled with knowledge. There are hundreds, even thousands of books on virtually any topic. There is an endless supply of information through the media – TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. The Internet can serve as a library at your fingertips, a cornucopia of content about practically everything. But we only have limited time, so which resources we use can affect not only our teachability but also what we learn. Why not consult the Bible? Writing to his young disciple, the apostle Paul declared, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    Teachability is a quality we should all look for in those we select for leading areas of our business.

    © 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. Do you consider yourself teachable? Explain your answer.

     

    1. From your observations, what are the consequences of not being teachable? Have you ever found yourself reporting to someone who seemed to lack teachability? What was that experience like?

     

    1. What steps do you think a person can take to become more teachable? What role, if any, does personal humility play in being able to develop and maintain teachability?

     

    1. A final suggestion in this “Monday Manna” is to turn to the Bible as an important teaching resource. Do you agree – especially when thinking in terms of today’s marketplace? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 12:15, 19:27, 20:18, 24:5-6, 27:17; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:28

  10. The Incomparable Power Of Vision

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    February 24, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  My first experience of driving an automobile by myself, without someone in the passenger seat beside me, was one I will never forget. I was working on the evening shift as a stock clerk at a grocery store about four miles from our house, and my parents had agreed for me to drive one of the family cars solo.

    I had received excellent driver training, through my high school and from my father and an uncle in Texas with whom I had spent about six weeks the preceding summer. So I felt well-prepared, and my drive to the grocery store was uneventful. The drive back home, however, was a different story.

    About 10 p.m., I clocked out for the evening and emerged from the store to walk to my car. An extremely dense fog had settled in and I could not see more than 10 feet ahead of me. “Well,” I thought to myself, “let’s see how this works out.” Fortunately, I had traveled the route to and from the grocery store many times, both as driver and passenger, so I could almost visualize the path I would follow, even though the fog obscured most of the way. The headlight beams seemed to bounce back toward me, which did not help the situation.

    This was in the days before anyone had even conceived of cell phones, so I could not check in with my parents to advise them of my progress. My mother was a nervous wreck, and my father had decided to become a one-man search party for me, if needed. Thankfully, I arrived home intact, without a scratch on the car, although the short drive took nearly an hour longer than it ever had before.

    I share this story because sometimes life is like this. We encounter a crisis, whether in the workplace or in our personal lives, and we cannot see more than an arm’s length ahead. “Where should I go? Is the path clear? Are there any unexpected obstacles lying hidden in the ‘fog,’ threatening to bring me harm?”

    It all comes down to vision – or the lack of it. In a business context, many successful entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders have experienced great accomplishments in part because of one key factor: They had vision for what they wanted to do and how they could get there. And they clung to that vision, even when the way seemed obscured or “fogged over.”

    Similarly, a business team typically thrives when everyone shares a common vision – not only for the present, but also for the future. You might be familiar with the story of a brick mason centuries ago who was asked what he was doing. While some of his coworkers had commented things like, “mixing cement,” or “raising up a wall,” this mason’s response was classic: “I am building a cathedral.” That is vision!

    The Bible speaks a lot about vision. One particular translation of Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Another translation expresses it, “Where there is no [prophetic] revelation, the people cast off restraint….”  

    An effective leader is one who understands the importance of casting vision for the corporate team, being able to answer questions such as, “Where are we going?” “Why are we going there?” “How are we going to get there?” “What will we be doing when we arrive?” Are they just building a wall – or a cathedral?

    © 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 had an experience in attempting to travel in dense fog, or a severe storm, when the way ahead was nearly impossible to see? What was that like for you?

     

    1. What about in a business or professional context? Have there been times in your working career when, whether as a leader or an employee, you lacked vision for where you were headed and why you were heading that way? If so, what was that experience like for you?

     

    1. How would you describe or define the value and importance of vision in a workplace context? How can vision best be communicated and put into action?

     

    1. Vision also is an important part of growth and progress in a spiritual sense. How can a Christ-centered vision for your work make a difference in how you approach what you do, or for how you interact with others over the course of a workday?

     

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

    1 Samuel 3:1; Lamentations 2:9; Daniel 10:2-12; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 3:9