Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Whose Business Is It, Anyway?

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    March 11, 2019 – Jim Langley  As business and professional people, we are all involved in business dealings every day. I have been overseeing my financial services practice for more than 35 years. One question we should always ask: “Whose business is this, anyway?”

    Most would proudly respond, “It’s our (my) business.”This would be a typical answer for any family-owned venture. Larger businesses are usually owned by a group of partners or a substantial number of stockholders. Often a few majority stockholders have primary control of the largest businesses.

    I believe we are deluding ourselves if we feel the businesses we run belong to us. The Bible tells us who really owns everything! It’s all our heavenly Father’s, but He does allow us to oversee business affairs for a time while we are here on earth. And quite often we get to pass the business on as an inheritance to the next generation. Sooner or later, however, it all comes back to Him. It is all part of His wonderful provision! In my view, work is good and should be enjoyed. It should not be a drudgery, but to truly enjoy it, we must have the right perspective. I offer my own spiritual journey as an example.

    Just months before my 40th birthday, I took a leap from corporate life into the financial services profession. Having never sold any products before, I knew this was a big risk. Yes, I had skills that made the jump easier, but there was no guarantee of success. I just knew I needed to get out of the corporate culture.

    I’ve always been entrepreneurial in my thinking and somewhat of a free spirit. New York Life was willing to take the risk in training me, and 35 years later I am still giving back to the company that saw something in me that I did not know existed.

    The first year in my new discipline turned out to be a true challenge. I was allowed to select a new sales manager after my first boss took over the Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. general office, and my second manager returned to the sales force. A few months earlier I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, so I chose to work with a sales manager whom I admired for his strong Christian faith. Working with his team was an immense blessing, and later I was appointed to a sales management position.

    In my fourth year, I was introduced to CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Connection). Relationships formed in that international organization gave me much-needed tools and encouragement to remain strong spiritually during extremely challenging times. One of the most important lessons I learned was coming to grips with the question I asked above: Whose business is it anyway?

    Volumes have been written on business success over the past few decades. Among them, for me one book stands out above all the rest: Jim Collins’ GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, which has become a modern classic in management theory. As Collins writes, business greatness does not come easy. I would add my belief that it comes from recognizing God truly owns the business – and appreciating all who work in the business, while giving God the glory for the successes that follow.

    In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells the parable of one rich man who decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store all the bountiful crops he had harvested. This man realized he had many good things and felt he could simply “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” In verses 20-21 Jesus warns, “But God said to him, ’You fool. This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself.’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

    We need to be rich toward God and realize that all we have is His. I would recommend and strongly encourage you to seek Him and recognize His presence in all you do in business – and life in general.

    © 2018, 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 personal relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Before reading this edition of “Monday Manna,” if someone had asked you, “Who owns your business?”, how would you have responded?

     

    1. After reading this edition of “Monday Manna,” if someone were to ask you, “Who owns your business?”, how would you respond?

     

    1. Do you agree with Jim Langley’s assertion that ultimately, God owns our business – as well as our work, our abilities and experience? Why or why not?

     

    1. What difference would it make – or should it make – if someone believes that indeed, God owns their business, as well as their work and all that they do? If that is true, what does it say of our roles in our companies, whether we are top executives, in middle management roles, or assigned staff positions within the organization?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to consider other things the Bible says about this topic, read and reflect on the following passages:
    Genesis 3:22-23; Proverbs 6:12-21; Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Luke 12:16-21; James 4:13-16

  2. A Real Competitive Advantage

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    March 4, 2019 – Rick Boxx  In the business and professional world, we are always looking for a competitive advantage. Fresh ideas; staff with exceptional skills and abilities; a unique niche for products, services and marketing. We are always exploring what assets we can utilize to give us a leg up on the competition. Not long ago I was reminded of one competitive advantage that most people never consider.

    Tom, a friend in the construction business, submitted a bid on a very large building project that he felt was critical for his company to win. He prayed and prayed some more, asking God that the project rights would be awarded to them. God, he reasoned, would understand how important it was to his business, so he trusted they would get the contract. He felt great dismay therefore to learn that one of his competitors had been selected instead.

    At first, Tom was very disappointed, even angry with God. Why had his prayers not been answered? Had they been ignored? Then one day, months later, he discovered the “why.” Through a friend in the industry, Tom was informed that the project had turned out to be a financial disaster for his competitor.

    What he had perceived as an unanswered prayer was in fact a very definitive answer. God knew, well in advance, how devastating it would have been if Tom’s company’s bid had been selected. The Lord had protected him from undertaking a project that likely would have bankrupted the business. As an old country-western song states, sometimes God’s greatest gifts are what we perceive as “unanswered” prayers.

    I suspect that many times you have felt convinced of the rightness of a certain plan or decision, only to find the outcome very different from what you expected. That has happened in my life and career more times than I could count. This is why experience has taught me to place my trust in God and not my own limited understanding of a particular situation.

    Psalm 24:1 teaches, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” To me this speaks about more than ownership. It also reminds us that God is sovereign and directs all things, including our business interests, according to what He knows to be best. Sometimes in spite of our prayers and what we are asking Him to do.

    Living in extremely volatile, uncertain times, it seems more difficult than ever to evaluate what we should or should not do to achieve our goals and objectives. Trusting that God is all-knowing and ultimately in control of all circumstances can give us peace to entrust Him with whatever transpires in our lives – and in our work – on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps one of the greatest pieces of business advice I have ever encountered comes from Proverbs 3:5-6, which instructs us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

    Sometimes God answers our prayers the way we ask. At other times – as was the case with my friend Tom – His answers come very differently than what we had hoped. But invariably, as I have learned over many years in my spiritual journey, the Lord’s responses are just what we need. Even when we have no idea of what that might be.

    We need to remember, as another proverb reminds us, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determined his steps”(Proverbs 16:9). That is an incredible competitive advantage!

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What do you think is the greatest competitive advantage that you can access at your business or organization?

     

    1. What other strategies do you employ in trying to develop plans or make decisions in a business and professional world filled with so much uncertainty?

     

    1. Do you ever pray about decisions you must make at work, or you will succeed in acquiring new customers or contracts? If you do pray about those, how do you feel at those times when your prayers seem to be unanswered or things turn out differently?

     

    1. Do you regard being able to pray, asking God for wisdom and direction, as a “competitive advantage”?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Psalm 37:3-7,34; Proverbs 16:1,3, 21:2,30; Jeremiah 29:11-13

  3. Making Your Mark Through Mentoring, Part 2

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    February 25, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  In last week’s edition of “Monday Manna,” I introduced the idea of making a difference – making your mark in the world – through a highly relational, mutually beneficial approach to mentoring. This week I wrap up this discussion, citing additional principles that David A. Stoddard and I developed in our book, The Heart of Mentoring: Ten Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential.

    As I mentioned, this differs from the typical approach to mentoring in which two individuals are assigned to each other, whether they like it or not. In our view, the best mentoring involves a more seasoned mentor working with a “mentoring partner,” both of them learning from one another. Here are some other basic principles for this approach, along with biblical foundations that support them:

    Effective mentoring involves character building. Skill training and exchange of knowledge can be part of the mentoring process, but it should also aim for the development of the entire person, including character building and imparting values that govern their lives. To be most effective, the mentor must serve as an example of living out these traits. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice” (Philippians 4:9).

    Effective mentoring offers comfort and willingness to share the load. Relationships grow through the demonstration of genuine care and concern for one another. A good mentor will want to know how the mentoring partner is doing both professionally and personally; work invariably affects one’s private life, and what is going on in one’s personal life has an impact on their work. “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

    Effective mentoring helps others discover their passion. Sometimes the person being mentored is struggling because he or she is still trying to find their place. Even if they are successful, they might not be engaged in a profession they find fulfilling or meaningful. If personal interests and passions can somehow be aligned with the work they do, they will be able to thrive and become valued contributors wherever they go. The apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you”(1 Timothy 4:14). 

    Effective mentoring includes reproduction, resulting in a legacy. Because of all he had gained from his own mentors, Dave Stoddard developed a desire to come alongside others and help them to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. I have had a similar experience, and view that as part of my own legacy – assisting others, so they in turn can help others. “And 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). ”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

    Even though he departed from this life five years ago, Dave Stoddard’s impact continues through the lives of many men who are having a strong influence in their families, their companies, and other men they are helping to develop through mentoring.

    A wise man once said the only things that will last for eternity are people and the Word of God. There are few better things we could do than to invest time, energy and resources into other people, helping them to become all they can be. Especially if we do so under the guidance of God and His eternal truth.

    © 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. Do you agree that character building and the imparting of strong values can be an important part of the mentoring process? Why or why not? Has anyone ever had that kind of impact in your own life?

     

    1. What do you think offering comfort and “sharing the load” within the context of a mentoring relationship would look like, in a practical sense? Do you agree that this is something an effective mentor should strive to do?

     

    1. How do you think we can help someone if they find themselves stuck in a job that they do not find inspiring, that does not provide fulfillment or meaning beyond receiving a paycheck? Is that even important? Explain your answer.

     

    1. In what ways could mentoring someone else become a significant part of the legacy we establish that will last long after our time on earth have ended?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 17:17, 13:20, 20:27, 21:2; Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 3:14; Luke 5:1-11

  4. Making Your Mark Through Mentoring, Part 1

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    February 18, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  “I want to make a difference.” Have you ever made this statement? It is a thought many of us have expressed, whether in public or at least to ourselves. Whether you are a Baby Boom generation member on the back end of your career, or a Millennial just getting a start in the workplace, this is a desire many of us share.

    The question is, how do we make that difference? How can we succeed in making a mark that will endure long after our working days have ended?

    There are many possible suggestions, but there is one I would highly recommend: Mentoring. I know, you might have an objection, saying something like, “I had a mentor once – a terrible experience!” That is not the kind of mentoring I’m talking about. Many of us have had a bad experience in which a mentor was assigned to us, had no genuine interest in us, and viewed being a mentor as an imposed assignment.

    No, the kind of mentoring I mean involves a mutually beneficial relationship, two people on a journey together seeking to grow and build into one another’s lives. When David A. Stoddard and I co-authored The Heart of Mentoring: Ten Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential, we were drawing from Dave’s experience of having two wonderful mentors who invested much of themselves into him, listening and teaching and modeling what it meant to be successful in business – and in life.

    Dave went on to replicate that mentoring process in the lives of dozens of other men for more than 30 years. He passed away five years ago this month, but his impact – the mark he made through mentoring others – continues to this day through many of those individuals.

    What does that kind of mentoring look like? Here are a few of the principles we cited in our book, along with biblical precepts that undergird those principles:

    Living is about giving. Too often, mentoring is viewed through a “what’s in it for me” lens. The most effective mentoring is done focused on the best interests of the person being mentored, whom we termed the “mentoring partner.” We want to help him or her become all they can possibly be. “…remembering the words of the Lord Jesus Himself: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

    Mentoring is a process that requires perseverance. Spending time with someone who needs our help at times can be frustrating or discouraging, especially when we fail to see the progress we had hoped for. That is why perseverance is necessary, pressing on and remaining committed to the mentor even when expectations are not met.“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”(Galatians 6:9).

    Effective mentors open their world to their mentoring partners. Nothing builds trust more than being transparent, even totally vulnerable, to the other person. As we are open to others, honest with our own struggles, that gives them confidence to become open with us. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

    I will take a look at some of the other principles from The Heart of Mentoring in the next “Monday Manna.”

    © 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. Do you have a desire to make a difference in the world, at least in the world around you, your unique sphere of influence? If so, how well are you succeeding at doing that?

     

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

     

    1. How might your thinking about mentoring change if it were presented not as a task, or an required assignment, but as a voluntary, “mutually beneficial relationship”?

     

    1. In what ways can you envision the process of mentoring being one that emphasizes giving rather than receiving?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:  Isaiah 43:4; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:6-9, 11-12

  5. ‘Re-Potting’ Time, Professionally Or Personally?

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    February 11, 2019 – Jim Mathis  Growing healthy plants is not always an easy proposition. Poor flowering, quickly dried out soil, stunted leaves and stems, and even dropped leaves are signs of distress. Plants give these signals because they are not able to draw enough nutrients and moisture from their current root situation.

    Often the solution is a simple matter of transplanting them into a new pot – re-potting them into a different setting that proves more conducive for their overall health and growth.

    Interestingly, this “re-potting” principle applies to not only plants, but to humans as well. Looking back over the course of my life, I have been uprooted and replanted or re-potted several times. Each time, as it turned out, the result was to my good advantage. For instance, leaving home and going to college as a young man was a major replant. Not that the old environment was bad; it was just that new fertile soil allowed me to blossom.

    When I quit my job and started my own business 44 years ago, it was a whole new garden. In each period of my life, when it seemed that I was done growing, not flowering, or even dropping a few metaphorical leaves, I was able to re-pot to a bigger pot with fresh soil and new excitement for living.

    A half dozen years ago, I decided to re-pot my business once again, this time with an emphasis on photo restorations. It has been a whole new world, using new tools and techniques that have enabled me to restore many people’s old family pictures to their original glory.

    This re-potting process sometimes it requires being willing to let go of the familiar and attempt something new. Some people deal with change more easily than others, but for virtually every one of us, at times change is unavoidable and necessary. Just as a struggling plant will not thrive until it is re-potted, we too can find our growth stunted, both professionally and personally, when we refuse to risk making much-needed changes.

    We can also apply this re-potting idea to our spiritual lives. Last year, my wife and I successfully re-potted our spiritual life by changing churches. We had been members of our old church for 35 years, and after much prayer and deliberation, determined that major replanting was in order. Finding a new spiritual environment, having new people with whom we could worship and serve, was just what we needed to rekindle our relationship with God.

    There are other ways to “re-pot” spiritually. It may involve changing the way you spend time with the Lord each day – or it might mean determining to start spending time with Him every day if you are not already doing so.

    Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God did not intend for our spiritual lives to be lived in isolation, in a vacuum apart from others. Just as organs in the human body must rely on one another for health, growth and strength, we need to make sure we remain closely connected to other members of what the Bible describes as “the body of Christ.”

    Another passage, Hebrews 10:24-25, admonishes us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another….” This can apply to being involved in a local church, but it also often means getting together with other believers, particularly one’s who are more mature in their faith we can learn from and receive wise counsel based on the Scriptures. If you do not have someone like that in your life, it may be time to “re-pot.”

    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. Have you ever tried growing plants, or do you know someone who enjoys doing that and is good at it? What has been the effect you have observed of re-potting a plant, whether because it was unhealthy, or simply because it had outgrown the pot it had been in?

     

    1. Thinking over your life to this point, have there been times when you have been re-potted professionally? How about personally? What has that kind of experience been like for you?

     

    1. How do you think this re-potting principle applies to our spiritual journey in life? Is it even necessary? Why or why not?

     

    1. What steps might be necessary in your own life to “re-pot” spiritually and start growing again – or growing more fully than you have in recent days? Do you have anyone you can trust and rely on to help you in this process?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Joshua 1:6-9; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Revelation 2:1-6, 3:14-20

  6. Importance Of Perfect Timing

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    February 4, 2019 – Rick Boxx  A lot of things go into the realization of success in business: Quality workmanship and service. Execution of a novel idea. Effective leadership and direction. Those, for the most part, are factors we can manage. One factor, however, that we often overlook is timing. Especially, perfect timing.

    In his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,Daniel Pink addresses the importance of timing as it affects productivity and ultimately, our success. A Wall Street Journalarticle summarized his findings, pointing out ways Pink suggests for better allocating our time at work throughout the day.

    His research discovered that we are “smarter, faster and more creative in some parts of the day than others.” Confirming these conclusions, Russell Foster, a neuroscientist, claims, “The performance change between the daily high point and the daily low point can be equivalent to the effect on performance of drinking the legal limit of alcohol.” That may seem like a startling comparison, but it is probably very accurate for assessing when we can do our best work.

    Personally, I have learned that my best time for writing is early morning. My mind is fresh after a good night’s sleep and ideas seem to flow more quickly and smoothly. Not everyone, of course, is a “morning person.” Some people do their best work in the late morning, in the afternoon, or even late at night. The key is to realize when you are most productive and make certain to safeguard that time from unnecessary distractions.

    In reading the Bible, I have found it interesting to find that it places a high premium on our effective use of time – and timing. For instance, we are told, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity…”(Ecclesiastes 3:1). We can apply this principle in a number of ways, but one of them is that there is a best time for us to pursue our work, meaning we should strive to schedule other important, but non-work activities for other times during the day, week or month.

    Another passage, Ephesians 5:16, emphasizes the urgency for “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” This does not mean time in itself is inherently evil, but time passes quickly. Not capitalizing on the time we have can result in failure to achieve desired goals and objectives. At the very least, we will have missed out on the opportunity to pursue those projects when our productivity and efficiency levels are at their peak.

    Looking at the example of Jesus Christ, we find that He also designated specific times for doing certain things, including prayer and time alone with God the Father. Jesus was much in demand, and at all hours of the day people were thronging around him, whether as observers or seeking His attention to address specific needs they had. For this reason, He devoted many early mornings to time alone, even from His disciples. 

    Mark 1:35 tells us, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”Many people I know realize how important it is for them to begin the day by focusing on their relationship with God, knowing they will require His direction, wisdom and strength to carry out the work and deal with challenges they face later on.

    As the adage reminds us, timing is everything. There is a time to work, a time to rest, and time to play. Also, a time to ensure that we sustain a strong, growing relationship with the Lord.

    Copyright 2019, Unconventional Business Network (formerly Integrity Resource Center, Inc.) Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments emails, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book and inspiration for their new ministry name, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you think of the importance of timing – perfect timing – as it relates to your work, what comes to your mind?

     

    1. Most people do have certain times during the day when they feel most productive and creative? Have you found that to be true for yourself? If so, what part of the day is that – and what do you do to ensure you optimize the use of that time?

     

    1. At the end of the workday, do you ever evaluate whether you have made the most of your time that day? How do you feel if you conclude your time could have been better spent – that you failed to practice “perfect timing”?

     

    1. If even Jesus made certain to set aside time for prayer and spiritual renewal – what many people would call a “quiet time” – what does that say about us?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; John 7:1-9; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2; Colossians 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15

  7. How To Turn Routine Work Into ‘Showtime’!

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    January 28, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  The majority of people, according to studies, muddle through the workday with all the enthusiasm of someone watching paint dry. For them, the words “work” and “necessary evil” are synonymous. But is this the way it should be?

    Recently I read an article about a fellow named Fred, a grocery store checkout clerk. Buying items at Fred’s lane is a dazzling experience, one many shoppers actually anticipate with great eagerness. Bcause when someone buys groceries at Fred’s cash register, it becomes what some observers have called “show time.”

    Adam Holz’s article in Our Daily Bread reports Fred is “amazingly fast, always has a big smile, and even dances (and sometimes sings)! As he acrobatically flips unbreakable purchases into bags.” What sets him apart is the zeal he has for his work. We have all experienced cashiers who barely stifle a yawn as they scan our purchases, but Fred’s contagious joy can transform mundane shopping experiences into a brief adventures.

    I have heard of other exceptional workers who have determined to transform ordinary work into a delightful events. The woman at one of our local hospitals comes to mind. She greets cancer patients as they arrive at the door of the clinic, bracing for another doctor’s exam or chemotherapy treatment. With a bright smile and an energetic greeting, the greeter seeks to change a patient’s grim mood into one of optimism and anticipation.

    Sadly, such workers are notable because they are so rare. They could methodically carry out their responsibilities and no one would complain. But they have resolved to turn their work into happy experiences, lifting not only their own spirits but also those of everyone they meet. For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, this also should be our goal in the workplace, as these verses point out:

    Who are you serving? We should keep in mind that ultimately, it is not a human boss or customer we need to please. “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).

    Who you are representing? Our actions – as well as our attitudes – serve as a reflection of God, whose desire is to work in us and through us. If we are to attract others to Him, they should find something attractive in us as well. “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” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

    Why you are working? Wise King Solomon used his wealth and power to sample everything life had to offer. This was his conclusion: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the Lord” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were as eager to work with us as they are to pass through Fred’s checkout lane?

    © 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. Have you ever observed someone who was a joy to watch because he or she seemed to find so much enjoyment in their work? If so, describe that experience.

     

    1. Why do you think so many people view their work as “necessary evil” or drudgery? Is this the perspective you have toward your own work? Why or why not?

     

    1. How do you think people can change their attitudes toward their jobs, approaching them more as a joy and a privilege than as drudgery, or even agony?

     

    1. Which of the Bible passages cited about work stands out the most to you? Why does it seem especially meaningful or challenging?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:11,24, 18:9, 21:5, 22:29; Ecclesiastes 5:18, 12:13-14; Colossians 3:17

  8. The Tension Between Working And Waiting

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    January 21, 2019 – Ken Korkow  When I was growing up, my mother often said, “All good things come to he who waits – so long as he who waits, works like heck while he waits.”

    Yes, my mom and dad were both focused and driven. They had survived the Great Depression and did not want anyone in their own family to have those experiences. Therefore, the values and virtues of hard work – even at the cost of other things – were vigorously imparted into our mindsets.

    I remember thinking as a boy, “When I grow up, I will NOT be like my dad.” But I became exactly like him, not just hard-working but also driven, focused on completing the task and reaping the rewards that came with it. Fulfilling the adage, “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” I had patterned my life after my father to the extent that I often heard someone say, “You’re just like your old man.”

    Please understand, I inherited many positive traits and gained good lessons from my parents. And I appreciated those. However, the older I get, I have learned to rely less on the power of my own flesh and instead act upon the recognition that my real identity, purpose, and manner of living come from the Lord.

    Please consider the words of Hannah Whitall Smith in her classic daily devotional book, Streams in the Desert:

    “A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety.

    “There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, ‘All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent.’ The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would ‘sit down’ inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire.” 

    Such a perspective, of course, runs counter to the typically urgent, must-get-it-done philosophy that governs so many of us as we undertake our daily work responsibilities. However, experience has taught me that there also is great benefit from an determined effort to cultivate a quiet spirit and practice stillness despite the chaos that may surround us. Here are a couple of principles I have learned and applied from the Bible:

    Be willing to slow down and wait on God, rather than trying to make things happen ourselves. In our fast-paced, high-stress world, it takes great resolve to step off the treadmill and trust in God to guide us and resolve the difficulties and challenges we might be facing. It requires faith, but I have learned trusting in the Lord has never failed me. “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted  among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth’” (Psalm 46:10).

    While slowing down, we also should present our concerns to God. Worry and anxiety are constant companions for many of us in the workplace, but usually they are counterproductive emotions. The more we worry, the less we accomplish. Prayer, on the other hand, can accomplish much more than we could imagine. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

    The Bible urges us to work – and work diligently. But it also teaches there are times when it is best to wait, be still, and watch to see what God can do.

    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. Do you agree with the statement that good things come to those who wait – as long as they are working as hard as they can while they wait? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Why is it so difficult for us to be still and to wait, especially when we need to bring a project to completion, have a deadline to meet, or must find an answer to a pressing problem at work?

     

    1. In the quote by Hannah Whitall Smith, she states, “There is immense power in stillness.” Do you believe this? Why or why not? And if so, what would this power be?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you decided to “be still” and chose to wait, even if reluctantly, when everything inside you screamed that you had to keep working? If so, what was the outcome?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:4-7; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3,9, 19:21, 21:21,30; Matthew 6:25-34, 7:7-12

  9. What Will You Remember 20 Years From Now?

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    January 14, 2019 – Jim Mathis  The magazine ad for Lufthansa Airlines asked, “What moments will you still remember in 20 years?” As I showed it to my wife, she and I agreed that the things we had done earlier in the year would still be fresh in our minds 20 years from now. That included spending a week in Paris, followed by a photography trade show in Germany.

    Our next question concerned what were we doing 20 years ago that stood out vividly in our memories today. We both immediately thought of our trip to Sweden and Norway in 1998. We flew to Stockholm along with my Swedish mother and her new husband. After a few days in Stockholm, we took the train across Sweden to Oslo, Norway, stopping to track down ancestors along the way. From there it was the spectacular train ride across Norway to Bergen.

    We enjoyed that beautiful town, taking a high speed boat up the coast, seeing fjords and fishing villages, before catching the railway back to Bergen.

    However, there are a few periods in our life when nothing stands out. For example, the 1980s have proved to be kind of a blur; I would have to look at the pictures to jar my memories. That is one of the great values of photographs in books and albums, especially when we record dates and captions to allow memories of good times with family and friends to come flooding back.

    Having spent most of my life as a photographer and operating photography businesses, I always tell people I hope they are documenting their lives, good times and bad, with photographs they can enjoy many years later. However, the images stored in our minds can be just as valuable, especially when they involve important human relationships we have enjoyed. I appreciate what the Bible has to say about this:

    It is all about people. Many people devote their lives to the pursuit of goals and achievements, whether it involves professional advancement or acquisition of material things. But those all are fleeting. We can lose the “stuff” we possess, and even the most prestigious job opportunity is temporary. One day we will leave and be replaced by someone else. People – the meaningful relationships we establish with them – are things that will endure.Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life”(Isaiah 43:4).

    Investments we make in people pay eternal dividends. Accomplishments are forgotten and our possessions get old and wear out, but the positive contributions we make in the lives of others last forever. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth” (3 John 4).

    Our “people impact” will sum up the impact of our lives. After commending his young protégé, Timothy, the apostle Paul told him, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). Later he declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). The work he had been called to was done.

    To his last breath, the apostle Paul’s focus was toward obedience to his God and service to the people God brought along throughout his journey through life. Those “pictures” were in his mind as he contemplated and evaluated the final moments of his life.

    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 executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Thinking over the past year, what are the things you expect to still be remembering 20 years from now? What have been your most memorable moments?

     

    1. Looking at it a different way, thinking back to 20 years ago, what are the memories that continue to linger with you today? Why do they seem so unforgettable?

     

    1. Do you agree that relationships most often play an important part in our most cherished memories? Why or why not?

     

    1. Whether you have been diligent to keep photographs of key moments in your life, or you have just retained those “pictures” in your mind, what are some of the highlights you would find in your life’s photo album? How many of those images, do you think, will last beyond your lifetime – perhaps even for eternity? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Philippians 4:8-9; Timothy 3:10-11,14

  10. Perils Of Miscommunication

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    January 7, 2019 – Rick Boxx  There is a simple principle that underscores a common pitfall in communications: “It is not what you say – it is EXACTLY what you say.” Failing to observe this can cause significant, even disastrous problems in business, as well as for relationships, as I learned all too clearly at an event I was overseeing.

    It was a major business luncheon for our organization, and the event had gotten off to a good start. But as the guests began to finish their salads, I noticed that no lunches were being served. Even though our program was about to start, there were no meals in sight!

    Our guests were eventually served, and the presentation went on as planned, but the delay caused considerable anxiety for our team, as well as for the hotel’s staff. Only later did I learn that I had signed contracts that clearly stated that our event was to be held from noon to 2 p.m., instead of our accustomed 11a.m-1 p.m.

    Because of my error, failing to carefully read the documents for the events and not being able to correct the time difference, the hotel was understandably not prepared at our normal lunch time. We might regard this as a small miscommunication, but it proved extremely disconcerting to our meeting planners and could have disrupted an otherwise great event. Everything else on the contract was accurate – seating arrangement, number of guests expected, the menu, and other details. But a small miscommunication could have ruined everything.

    When we talk about communications, we typically focus on what is being said or written, along with how it is expressed. However, what is not said – in this case, confusion over the expected schedule for our event – can be as critical for determining success or failure. I have found the Bible offers excellent insight into the perils of miscommunication.

    Realizing that what we say or don’t say can lead to wrongdoing. In Ecclesiastes 5:6 we read, “Do not let your speech cause you to sin…”Paying attention to details, and having people check your work can help prevent painful miscommunications, whether they are spoken or in written form. My intent was definitely not to delay the meal service, but lack of intent can still lead to unintended consequences.

    Responding to potential mistakes. If I had determined to be more diligent to check and even recheck important details, such as the obvious one about when we and the hotel agreed the meeting would be held, unnecessary inconvenience could have been avoided.The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out(Proverbs 18:15).

    Recognizing that even small details can lead to failure. In a beautiful Old Testament book we read an appropriate warning:Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom(Song of Solomon 2:15).The context of this admonition is not the marketplace, but the idea still applies. The “little foxes” we encounter during the course of any workday may seem inconsequential, but if not attended to properly, they can create more disruption than we could ever imagine.

    As it turned out, despite the delay in serving our guests, our event proceeded pretty much as planned However, the outcome of my miscommunication could have been very different, a lesson I never forgot.

    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. When you hear, “It’s not what you say – it’s EXACTLY what you say,” what does that mean to you?

     

    1. Can you think of a miscommunication you experienced similar to the one described here? What were the consequences of that – was the impact very serious? How was it resolved?

     

    1. How can we be proactive in ensuring that such miscommunications are avoided? Of course, mistakes will inevitably occur at times. When they do, what is the best way for us to respond?

     

    1. What other “little foxes” can you think of, relating to communications whether individually or corporately, that can create considerable problems?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:4, 14:23, 16:21, 19:11, 21:5, 22:3, 27:23-27