Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Aligning Actions With Words

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    Over the past several years I have had the privilege of writing books about two companies with well thought-out, clearly articulated mission statements. They communicate corporate goals, their vision for the future, and values they desire for all of their employees to embrace. These are not just words on paper, but principles and precepts reviewed regularly with their teams. It is no coincidence, I believe, both of these organizations have reached the fourth generation of family ownership, an extremely rare feat.

    When I told a friend about the value of drafting a mission statement for his own company, he expressed reluctance and a bit of skepticism. Too often, he has encountered businesses with lofty-sounding mission statements that consistently fail to live up to the values and principles they espouse. Even if the mission statements are displayed publicly, he said, they amount to little more than wall decorations. 

    I did not argue with my friend because, unfortunately, I have sometimes observed the same thing. Even the most eloquently crafted mission statement means nothing without the commitment to live up to it. As someone has said, “If your actions do not speak louder than your words, the less you say the better!”

    If you are a top executive, you might receive this as a challenge: What is the true mission of your company? Do your leadership team and employees know and understand this mission? What steps have you taken to ensure that everyone is striving to live up to and carry out your mission statement? Even if you are not a high-ranking leader, the concept of a mission statement applies to you. For instance, what would you say is your own mission in life? Stated another way, what is your purpose – why are you here? Is it merely to fulfill your personal desires, or is there a higher, greater calling on your life? 

    Many people have never considered such questions, but that does not mean they are not valid. In fact, when we stop rushing through our days long enough to evaluate our professional and personal progress, a mission statement can be invaluable for answering questions like, “How are we doing?” or “How am I doing?” If you wonder how to even draft a mission statement, here are some helpful suggestions from the ancient manual for the workplace – the Bible:

    Know who you are working for. Are you working just to achieve your own goals? Are you willing to give it enough effort only as long as you feel you are progressing toward those goals? A commitment to quality and excellence will elevate your standing in the eyes of those you interact with in business, whether superiors, peers, customers or suppliers. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

    Always put customers/others first. Today many businesses are downgrading customer service to save costs. But one way to ensure return business is for customers to feel valued and well cared-for. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…(Matthew 7:12). 

    Cultivate an attitude of humility in service. When a person senses you have their best interests at heart, they cannot help but trust you and feel they can rely on your judgment and recommendations. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. 

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160 ▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: (520) 334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions 

    1. Does your company have a mission statement? If so, what importance does it receive in terms of how the organization is run?

     

    2. Have you encountered companies that fail to live up to their statements of mission or values? If so, does this have any impact on people outside the company that have the option of dealing with it or a competitor?

     

     3. How about a personal mission statement – do you have one? If not, what do you think you would want it to say?

     

    4.   One of the suggested Bible passages states that when we work, we should regard ourselves ultimately as working for God, not for people. Do you agree? Why or why not?

     

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

    Psalm 139:13-16; Proverbs 22:29, 27:18; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17


  2. A Memorable Example for Finishing Well

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    It was more than two years ago, but I still remember the day vividly. I was with my friend, Dean Parrack, at the end – in his last moments of life on earth – because a man should not die alone.

    I have seen more than my share of people die – including on the battlefields of Vietnam – but this was different. Dean wanted to go – because he knew without a single doubt this was only the end of the beginning, and the start of eternity with God.

    Years ago, Dean had suffered a debilitating stroke, confining him to a wheelchair. He sold his home so he and his wife, Jean, could move to “assisted living.” I was with him and helped him to discard plaques, trophies and awards he had accumulated as a highly respected corporate executive with IBM. He also disposed of various forms of recognition for his service to many civic and Christian organizations. 

    For Dean, the memorabilia had been kind expressions of appreciation. But in the end, they were nothing more than “stuff” that gathered dust and cluttered his life. Where he was going, he did not need them. And considering his ultimate destination, he could not take them there anyway.

    One thing Dean did not discard was his faith in God. Throughout his adult life, it had served as his anchor, his road map, and now his beacon as he traveled the final stages of his earthly journey.

    For years he had traveled the around the United States and the world, often in his role as chairman of Christian Business Men’s Committee International. But now his body was confined to a bed. 

    But Dean the person was NEVER confined. His ministry simply took a different form, as he became what he described as a “prayer warrior. He started his “job” early, often beginning the day at 3 a.m., praying for God for specific people and events all around the globe.

    Observing how Dean conducted his latter days, despite his disability, I could not help but wonder: How will I face major life challenges and my own death? There seem to be two very different approaches to this question. The first is self-centric, sometimes summed up at graduation ceremonies by quoting a poem titled, “Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley. It is best known for its final lines:

    “…It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll,

    I am master of my fate: I am captain of my soul.”

    But Dean approached life with a God-centric view and rewrote Henley’s poem, calling it “Convictus.” His version concluded by stating:

    “Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the Horror of the shade,

    And with the menace of the years, Without Christ, I would be afraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll,

    Jesus is the master of my fate: Jesus is the captain of my soul.”

    My friend Dean finished well, taking his last breath with peace and confidence. Will we do the same?

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

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160 ▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
    TEL.: (520) 334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

      

    Reflection/Discussion Questions: 

    1. Do you ever think about this issue of “finishing well?” Why or why not?

     

          2.  Can you think of someone you have known that, similar to Dean Parrack, finished well – in your opinion? If so, what were some characteristics of how this closed out his or her life?

     

          3.  How is it possible not to feel confined as a person, as Mr. Korkow wrote, despite severe physical restrictions, regardless of the stage of one’s life? Does this seem realistic to you? Explain your answer.

     

          4.  Considering the poetic stanzas that close this “Monday Manna,” if you are honest, which would fit you best? Who is the master of your fate, the captain of your soul?

     

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

    Isaiah 26:3; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Hebrews 12:1-3


  3. The Pervasive Power of Persistence

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    What would you consider the foremost requirement for success in the workplace? Would it be talent? Or education? Training? Good luck? 

    Certainly each of these can be a factor in professional success. But there is one other quality that might be more important than all of them – persistence. Richard M. DeVos, Sr., co-founder of the Amway Corporation and owner of the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic, offered this perspective:

    “If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down 70 times and get up off the floor saying, ‘Here comes number 71!’”

    DeVos seems to have a good point. If we think of top achievers in virtually any pursuit – government, business, technology, science, medicine, even sports and entertainment – we find most of them did not become “overnight successes,” but rather made their marks through hard work and a resolve never to accept failure as a final verdict. When we read the biographies of famous people, we usually discover they utilized adversity as motivation to keep trying, rather than as an excuse for quitting.

    I have a friend who overcame great disadvantages in childhood and young adulthood to forge a very successful career as an entrepreneur and sales executive. Despite a limited education and a lack of training, he embarked on a rigorous self-improvement program, despite scoffers that insisted he was doomed to fail. Persistence, even in the face of setbacks, was his constant companion.

    The Bible has much to say about persistence and its close cousin, perseverance. For instance:

    Persistence builds character. Just as persistent exercise strengthens and tones muscles, persistence in the face of everyday challenges and obstacles builds character and inner strength. “…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” (Romans 5:3-5).

    Persistence provides joy. Staying the course, refusing to give up, and then reaping the fruits of hard work and determination, provides a sense of joy and fulfillment that cannot be achieved in any other way. “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).

    Persistence reinforces purpose. When we focus on specific goals and an overriding, clearly defined mission, they help us to persevere despite discouragement and disappointment. As DeVos said, we can get knocked down 70 times and get up again. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. 

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160 ▪ Tucson, Arizona, 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
    TEL.: (520) 334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

     1. What do you think of Richard DeVos’s statement that the quality or characteristic he believes correlates most directly to success is persistence?

     

     2.  Think of a time when persistence played an important role in your quest to reach a certain goal or objective. What difference did it make to exert that kind of determination?

     

    3.  How do you think persistence can build character?

     

    4.  Do you agree with the statement that persistence can provide a sense of joy that cannot be experienced in any other way? Why or why not?

     

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

     Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 13:8, 24:30-34; Isaiah 26:3, 50:7; Ephesians 6:10-18


  4. The Neglected Virtue of Hard Work

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    A survey conducted by Parade magazine, which appears in newspapers across the United States each week, discovered 51 percent of the 26,000 people polled believe the way people get ahead most effectively in the workplace is by taking advantage of internal corporate politics. Only 27 percent of those questioned said they believed professional advancement came as a result of hard work and diligence.

    If such a large proportion of working people perceive the best path to receiving promotions and rewards that come with them is through being politically savvy, I am afraid this could become a self-perpetuating prophecy. This would lead many to conclude their personal and professional interests are best served by attempting to undermine their peers and cultivating the good favor of their bosses, rather than sharpening their work skills.

    This is unfortunate in many respects. The time-honored virtue of hard work is being forgotten – the recognition that there is honor in a job done well. The beneficiaries of hard work – employers, coworkers dependent on the quality contributions of their peers, suppliers and customers – are being short-changed as workers shift their focus toward manipulating the system to advance their own desires. And the intrinsic value of work, the belief it is noble and fulfilling in itself, also is being ignored.

    The Bible speaks extensively about work and its importance. Rather than viewing it as “a necessary evil,” the Scriptures assert God ordained work as one of the purposes for mankind. It also points out hard work can and should be recognized and rewarded: 

    Work is designed to provide for our livelihoods. We all have needs – food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and many more. Throughout human history, work has been the primary means for satisfying those needs. To belittle the value of work is to diminish the satisfaction of being able to provide for your and your family’s needs. “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

    Work reflects personal integrity and commitment. When hired by a company or organization, we receive a job description. This details the responsibilities we are expected to perform, and our employers expect us to carry them out with integrity and commitment. Office politics seeks to achieve advancement through the manipulation of relationships rather than by establishing one’s capabilities as a worker. A better approach may be to apply Proverbs 27:18, which states, “He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.”

    Work can generate recognition for excellence. True, we can endeavor to ingratiate ourselves to our bosses, but the tried-and-true method for professional advancement is to become recognized as a person striving for excellence and quality in the work assigned. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29). 

    People around you may be adept at playing political games at work. But let me make a suggestion: Focusing on hard work, while caring for your boss’s interests, may be a better path than playing politics.

    Copyright 2013, 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 about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity. 

     

     CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160, Tucson, Arizona,  85712 ▪ U.S.A.
    TEL.: (520) 334-1114  ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

      

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

     1. Do you ever see examples of “office politics” in your workplace? If so, give an example or two    of what that looks like.

     

    2. Have you ever personally engaged in corporate politics to advance your cause or personal    interests? Why or why not? 

     

    3. In your workplace, do you believe hard work and diligence are recognized and properly    rewarded? Explain your answer.

     

    4. Curiously, the phrase, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat,” was incorporated into the   secular “Communist Manifesto,” even though it did not attribute where the statement had been   taken from. What is your reaction to this declaration that originally came from the Bible?

     

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

    Proverbs 13:4, 14:23, 21:5; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; 8:15; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23


  5. Handling The Dreaded Curveball

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    Prior to the 1950s, baseball was an almost exclusively American sport. It was often referred to as “the national pastime.” Following World War II, however, baseball became an export. American soldiers stationed in Japan and Korea introduced the sport there, enthusiasm for it spread into Latin America and parts of Europe, and today the game is played in many countries around the world. 

    The reason for bringing this subject into “Monday Manna” is one unique aspect to the sport, an obstacle that keeps many players from excelling: the “dreaded, late-breaking curveball.” Batters unable to master hitting this curveball either fail to reach the top professional level or, once they get there, soon disappear.

    I never played much baseball, but a friend who did explains it this way: “It curves right about the time it gets to home plate. Most hitters’ eyes are focused on where they think they are going to hit the ball – and not on the ball itself.” As a result, instead of hitting the baseball where they intend, they fail to hit it at all.

    Even if you have never played an inning of baseball, you have experienced this problem in other ways. Life, and the workplace, can throw us “curveballs” at times – instant, unexpected developments that turn our plans upside-down. An important customer may decide to take business elsewhere. An anticipated promotion might be awarded to someone else. A drastic economic shift could send sales plummeting, leaving your company scurrying to survive. Your boss might decide to make major changes to a project on which you have invested many hours and much energy for weeks.

    Similar things can happen in our personal lives: You receive a phone call about a family crisis that has just emerged. An expensive appliance or your car breaks down, throwing your budget into turmoil. Someone close to you receives a serious health diagnosis.

    The question becomes, “How will we handle this ‘curveball’?” When our first impulse is to panic – or to cower until the crisis hopefully subsides – how should we respond in a productive manner? The Bible offers numerous principles for handling the curveballs life throws at us. Here are just a few:

    You might not be prepared, but Someone is. We cannot know what problems lurk around the next corner, or will confront us tomorrow, but God does. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    You do not have to face the unexpected alone. God promises when we are faced with uncertainty or impending calamity, we need not respond in fear. He will walk through the situation with us. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

    You may discover the sudden change of plans is a blessing rather than a curse. When well-conceived plans fail to work out as expected, we can respond in frustration, anger or despair. Often, however, modified plans or a total change in direction will prove to be exactly what we needed. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
       2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160, Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
    E-MAIL: [email protected]  Web site: www.cbmcint.org 

    Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever played baseball at any level and experienced “the dreaded late-breaking curveball,” or encountered something similar in another sport? If so, describe what that was like for you.

     

          2. What are some of the “curveballs” you have faced in everyday life, or in the workplace? Are you  dealing with anything like that right now?

     

          3. When such unexpected developments occur, what has been your typical way of responding to them?

     

          4. Does it give you any comfort or reassurance to know God wants to be actively involved with you in  handling sudden and unplanned changes or adverse circumstances? Why or why not?

     

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

     Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3-4; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 6:25-34, 28:20, 11:28-30; 1 John 4:18


  6. Passing Time and Creating Vision

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    One of the startling realities of life is how quickly time passes. Children grow up and people get old in what seems like an instant. Realizing your friend’s little girl has been married for twelve years or that your “new car” is eight years old always comes as a shock. You start working for a company as a young person, and before you know it you have been there 15 years and are considered an “old-timer.”

    Time rushes by so rapidly. We spend about 20 years getting up to speed in life, and another 20 slowing down. The 30-40 years in the middle go by faster than we can keep track. The question, whether in our workplace pursuits or personal lives, is what are we going to do with the years we have?

    In the Bible’s New Testament, the apostle Paul makes an interesting observation: “Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is”(Ephesians 5:15-17).

    I am not certain what Paul meant in stating, “The days are evil.” Did he mean there are evil people out there trying to destroy us, or that time is not on our side? He could have implied both. If we compare the world to a big football game, sometimes it seems as if we in the final two minutes, trailing by four points, and the other team has the ball. Is that how we should live, trying desperately to catch up? In the context of real life, I cannot see the clock, and am not certain what the score is. But we still need to play to win – playing full speed to the finish. As has often been said, the game is not over until it is over.

    Here is how I paraphrase Ephesians 5:15-17: “Play the game well, not as untrained or poorly disciplined players, but as team members who know all the plays and rules by heart, and know what the coach is thinking. Do not make any foolish mistakes or commit penalties because the clock is running out.”

    Many organizations formulate “vision statements,” attempting to generate enthusiasm for a new plan or direction. However, vision might be too lofty a term for most of these statements. A dictionary defines vision as either an unusual look into the future, or special insight. Most of what is described as “vision” really is a strategic plan. Plans are good. But when we produce a “vision statement,” it really should be saying we want to be vitally involved in the game. 

    We find some accounts of vision in the Bible: Moses leading his people out of Egypt is one, as is David’s desire to build the temple for God. When Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, His vision became a motivating force – the redemption of mankind from its rebellion against God and His perfect standards.

    Once we have embraced a vision, what should we do then? Continuing the sports metaphor, if we want to be in the game, we need to train, practice to refine our skills, do everything we can to prepare, and be willing to sit on the bench for a while if necessary.

    Life is probably most like a relay race. We receive the baton, run our best, and then pass the baton to the next runner. Receiving and passing the baton are the critical steps, not only at the beginning and end of our lives, but all along the journey. Running can be a lonely pursuit, but to win we must keep running, in determined pursuit of our vision.

    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. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 North Swan Road, Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
         E-MAIL: [email protected]  Web site: www.cbmcint.org

    Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1.   At this point in your life, how has the passage of time affected you? Has it caused you to reevaluate your personal and professional use of time?

     

     2. What do you think Mr. Mathis means when he states having a vision is different from having a strategic plan? In your thinking, what is “vision”?

     

     3. How can your vision for your life or your business affect how you approach what you do – and how you do it?

     

     4. Does the comparison of life to a relay race make sense to you? Why or why not?

     

    If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: 

    Proverbs 29:18; Ecclesiastes 3:1-12; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9-10


  7. Courage In The Workplace

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    For many people in today’s workplace, security is their primary concern: A steady job; an acceptable income; manageable job responsibilities; predictable expectations. And who can blame them? With the world economy remaining as uncertain as ever, simply having a job is a blessing. So avoid saying or doing anything that could jeopardize a “secure” position. Why rock the boat?

    Yet most high achievers, those that have left indelible marks in their areas of endeavor, have been ones that exhibited uncommon courage – willing to swim against the current, to challenge the status quo, to venture into the unknown with no guarantees of success.

    The examples of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs immediately come to mind, individuals that envisioned uses and capabilities for computers that their peers never dreamed of being possible. We have the classic example of inventors like Thomas Edison, who is said to have remained undaunted by setbacks in his quest to invent the light bulb, convinced that each failure represented one step closer to success.

    Where does such courage come from? Sometimes it comes from necessity. A friend, Gary, was mired in a low-paying, hourly wage job unable to satisfy the desires he had for his family. Instead of accepting his circumstances or blaming others for his plight, Gary implemented an extensive personal improvement project, acquiring the tools and skills he needed to become a successful sales executive. Today he urges others to take similar steps of courage. His life has become a living example of a time-honored biblical principle: The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26).

    Courage – willingness to step beyond the confines of the familiar, established and dependable – can come from other sources as well:

    Courage to take a stand. When you feel strongly enough about a belief or principle, courage demands that you not compromise. Perhaps you believe a change in strategy is necessary, despite opposition. Or maybe you think change would be wrong, regardless of pressures to do so. Follow the example of “…the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12:32).

    Courage to proceed despite danger. Moving forward, or instituting major changes, can involve considerable risk. But if you sense God is directing you to move forward, acting boldly with courage is warranted. “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). 

    Courage to persevere. When goals are not met or expectations fall short, it can be easy to give up. At such times, the courage to persist, to remain focuses on the objective, is essential. “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).

    Courage to act on convictions. The business and professional world can be an amoral environment, ruled by “situational ethics” – whatever it takes to close the deal. It requires courage to stay true to high standards of behavior and practice. “…Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 North Swan Road, Suite 160, Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
    E-MAIL: [email protected]     Web site: www.cbmcint.org 

    Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions 

    1. How would you define courage? Does courage in a work setting look differently from courage exhibited in one’s personal life?

     

    2. Do you think most people in the 21st century workplace exhibit courage in their daily actions and decisions? Why or why not?

     

    3. Have you ever found it necessary in the performance of your job to take a bold stand that required courage? Explain your answer.

     

    4. In what ways can trust in God’s direct involvement in our lives, even our careers and daily work responsibilities, help us in mustering up the courage necessary to do what is right?

     

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

    Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Joshua 1:618; Proverbs 13:6; Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11


  8. Keeping Faith During Adversary

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    Practicing one’s faith in the pragmatic, bottom-line business and professional world, where seeing is believing, is difficult enough. Faith is especially hard to come by during times of economic adversity. A recent mortgage fraud case reminded me of this truth.
     
    The borrower’s business grew rapidly by purchasing houses at below market prices and rehabbing them, making them more attractive to potential buyers. The business owners would leverage as much debt as possible, borrowing large amounts of money to acquire as many low-cost houses as the bank allowed. 
    Eventually, however, mistakes were made. The borrower made poor decisions on some properties; reconstruction work was slowed on others, and the company bought houses much faster than it could sell them. As a result, a number of the properties remained unsold, consuming much of the borrower’s available cash resources.
     
    Eventually the borrowers had an important decision to make: “Do we admit our problem and accept the consequences, or do we lie to the lender and use their money on other projects?” Unfortunately, fear overcame their conscience and faith, leading the company into fraud and ultimately, criminal charges.
    Faith, in all likelihood, was violated in two ways in this case. First, the borrower proceeded more aggressively than the unstable real estate market warranted, even with the devalued status of properties that were purchased. Most likely, the borrowers did not seriously consult God for guidance about whether to proceed when the growing risk became evident.
    Second, the borrower lacked the faith to trust God with the outcome of being straight-forward with the bank about the increasing debt load. Instead, the owners of the company chose to lie and presume they could wriggle their way out of debt by spending more. (Does that scenario sound at all familiar?)
     
    They might have avoided their fraud and the criminal consequences if they had heeded the promise of Psalm 23:4, which offers the assurance that God can be trusted when it says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
    This verse and the entire psalm were written by a shepherd faced with the daunting task of guiding his sheep through dark, threatening passages where the animals might encounter predators of various kinds. Operating a real estate business is very different from shepherding sheep, but the principle remains the same: Followers of Jesus need to trust their Lord in times of uncertainty and even danger.
     
    Another passage, Philippians 4:6-7, offers a similar promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 
    The owners of the residential refurbishing business did not believe or act upon this assurance. If you are faced with a similar dilemma, I have a recommendation: Choose faith, not fear.
    Copyright 2013, 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. www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.
    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President
    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160, Tucson, Arizona ▪ U.S.A.
    E-MAIL: [email protected]     Web site: www.cbmcint.org  
    Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]
    Reflection/Discussion Questions
    1.How easy – or difficult – do you find it to live out your spiritual faith in today’s marketplace, where decisions are often made according to bottom lines, sales quotas, ruthless competition, and ever-changing economic environments?
    2.If you had been one of the owners of the real estate company discussed in this “Monday Manna,” what course of action do you think you might have encouraged? Explain your answer.
    3.Some people would contend that remaining true to their faith is relatively simple during times of prosperity, but very difficult during times of adversity. How do you respond to this perspective?
    4.The passage from the New Testament book of Philippians advises not being anxious about anything, but in all things to submit prayers and petitions – with thanksgiving – to God. Have you ever done this? Why or why not? If you have, what has been the outcome?
    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 1:1-6; 37:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-6, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6, 16:2-3,9; Matthew 5:13-16

    Practicing one’s faith in the pragmatic, bottom-line business and professional world, where seeing is believing, is difficult enough. Faith is especially hard to come by during times of economic adversity. A recent mortgage fraud case reminded me of this truth.

     

    The borrower’s business grew rapidly by purchasing houses at below market prices and rehabbing them, making them more attractive to potential buyers. The business owners would leverage as much debt as possible, borrowing large amounts of money to acquire as many low-cost houses as the bank allowed.

     

    Eventually, however, mistakes were made. The borrower made poor decisions on some properties; reconstruction work was slowed on others, and the company bought houses much faster than it could sell them. As a result, a number of the properties remained unsold, consuming much of the borrower’s available cash resources.

     

    Eventually the borrowers had an important decision to make: “Do we admit our problem and accept the consequences, or do we lie to the lender and use their money on other projects?” Unfortunately, fear overcame their conscience and faith, leading the company into fraud and ultimately, criminal charges.

     

    Faith, in all likelihood, was violated in two ways in this case. First, the borrower proceeded more aggressively than the unstable real estate market warranted, even with the devalued status of properties that were purchased. Most likely, the borrowers did not seriously consult God for guidance about whether to proceed when the growing risk became evident.

     

    Second, the borrower lacked the faith to trust God with the outcome of being straight-forward with the bank about the increasing debt load. Instead, the owners of the company chose to lie and presume they could wriggle their way out of debt by spending more. (Does that scenario sound at all familiar?)

     

    They might have avoided their fraud and the criminal consequences if they had heeded the promise of Psalm 23:4, which offers the assurance that God can be trusted when it says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

     

    This verse and the entire psalm were written by a shepherd faced with the daunting task of guiding his sheep through dark, threatening passages where the animals might encounter predators of various kinds. Operating a real estate business is very different from shepherding sheep, but the principle remains the same: Followers of Jesus need to trust their Lord in times of uncertainty and even danger.

     

    Another passage, Philippians 4:6-7, offers a similar promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

     

    The owners of the residential refurbishing business did not believe or act upon this assurance. If you are faced with a similar dilemma, I have a recommendation: Choose faith, not fear.

     

    Copyright 2013, 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. www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160, Tucson, Arizona ▪ U.S.A.

    E-MAIL: [email protected]     Web site: www.cbmcint.org  

    Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

     

     

    1.    How easy – or difficult – do you find it to live out your spiritual faith in today’s marketplace, where decisions are often made according to bottom lines, sales quotas, ruthless competition, and ever-changing economic environments?

     

     

    2.    If you had been one of the owners of the real estate company discussed in this “Monday Manna,” what course of action do you think you might have encouraged? Explain your answer.

     

     

     

    3.    Some people would contend that remaining true to their faith is relatively simple during times of prosperity, but very difficult during times of adversity. How do you respond to this perspective?

     

     

     

    4.   The passage from the New Testament book of Philippians advises not being anxious about anything, but in all things to submit prayers and petitions – with thanksgiving – to God. Have you ever done this? Why or why not? If you have, what has been the outcome?

     

     

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Psalm 1:1-6; 37:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-6, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6, 16:2-3,9; Matthew 5:13-16

     


  9. You Do Not Need To Do All The Work

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    Tractors all over the midwestern United States and in agricultural areas around the world are roaring to life, starting their annual pilgrimage into the fields. John Deeres, Fords, New Hollands and Massey Fergusons will sow corn, wheat, soybean, and cottonseed and seeds for other crops. Then, depending on the weather, irrigation systems will hydrate those fields.

    What does the farmer do next? Other than an application of fertilizer or insecticide, his job is simply to watch and wait! Something has to occur that is beyond the farmer’s ability to control or direct. The seed must germinate and begin to grow. The farmer, as much as he would like to, cannot force the growth.

    In the New Testament of the Bible, the apostle Paul referred to this reality in spiritual terms when he stated, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth!” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

    For those of us living predominantly in service-oriented economies where we have to “make it happen,” no one thinks seriously about waiting and watching. The marketplace cheers the one who gets results. We are so far removed from the agricultural economy of our forefathers that even though we might agree with Paul’s logic, the impact of his words appears quaint and hopelessly out-of-date.

    As we scurry about frantically, whether in the modern-day business and professional world, in our personal pursuits, or seeking to serve others, perhaps it is time for some core biblical truth to bring sanity and a sense of humility to our perspective about what we can do – and what we cannot. Paul’s comments later in the same passage offer enlightenment:

    • God does not need us. “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything…” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
    • God, however, chooses to use us and is pleased to do so. “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants…” (1 Corinthians 3:5).
    • God gives opportunities to us to be of service to Him and others, and to participate in His divine purposes. “…as the Lord has assigned to each his task” (1 Corinthians 3:5).

    Often, out of our insecurity or pride, we want to take the credit, to receive recognition: “I did this!” Yet how vital it is to let these truths filter deep within us so we release this need to take credit, or feel like we have to be in control. Instead, we can humbly accept our given roles in simply contributing to what God is doing in the world around us.

    Do you remember the Super Bowl commercial in which the little boy runs around the house wearing a Darth Vader costume attempting to use “the Force”? Despite his best efforts and determination, nothing happens with the dryer, the dog or the doll. Then he raises his arms at his father’s car in the driveway. The lights blink and the engine starts – all to the amazement of the boy, and to the playfulness of the dad who was watching in the kitchen, starting the car with a wireless push button ignition.

    In the TV commercial, the father intervened. In a far greater, more profound way, God our heavenly Father is intimately and intricately involved to make all things happen. The Bible makes this clear. Jesus told His followers, ” apart from me, you can accomplish nothing” (John 15:5). Later, the apostle Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

    Taken and adapted from The Challenge, written and published by Robert D. and Rick Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO  80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1.  What can we learn from the agricultural analogy used in this “Monday Manna,” in which farmers do all they can and know to do, but ultimately must then wait on the outcome? Is this example relevant for the 21st century workplace? Why or why not?

    2.  Are there times at work when you feel as if it all depends on you, that if you cannot do everything, it will not get done? Describe what that feeling is like for you.

    3.  Why do you think it is hard for some people to admit that they cannot do it all, that the outcome of a project or endeavor does not rest squarely on their shoulders?

    4.  How easy is it for you to yield to God’s control in difficult situations, to rest in the assurance that if you have done all that you can, He will accomplish the rest? Is that even a consideration for you during your typical workday? Explain your answer.

    If you would like to consider other Bible passages that relate to this topic, look up the following:

     Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 33:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:19


  10. You – And Your Work – Matter To God

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    Maybe you are a high achiever, the type of person that receives ample recognition from your company for your performance. You have received numerous promotions, are often singled out at professional gatherings, and have more plaques and certificates than your wall can display.

    Then again, maybe you are not that person. You work hard, striving to do your best, but recognition – if and when you receive it – is rare. Most of us fit into this second category. While the “superstars,” high performers and top executives receive the acclaim, many others toil in virtual obscurity. Perhaps on occasion we even lapse into a “pity party,” wondering what difference our work makes or whether anyone cares about what we do. At such times, remember one thing: There is no shame in being an unsung hero, one that fails to get noticed. In fact, “unsung heroes” often keep things running smoothly. 

    Have you ever injured one of your joints – twisted a knee, or sprained a thumb? I have done both. Prior to the injuries, I never thought about my left knee or my right thumb. But when pain in the knee felt like a long needle was sticking in it, or when I attempted the simple act of turning a doorknob with my right hand, I became acutely aware of both. Healthy, functional joints are not supposed to be noticed.

    Or consider an orchestra. When being played harmoniously, individual instruments do not stand out unless their musicians have been assigned solos. In the midst of a symphony, if you notice a violin or flute when it is not supposed to stand out, you know something is wrong.

    This is one reason many people in the workplace do not receive attention very often. They do their jobs without calling attention to themselves by failure to contribute their part to the overall effort. As one former boss once told me, “If you do not hear from me, assume everything is fine.” That might not seem assuring to those needing occasional encouragement, but that is reality in today’s business and professional world. As the adage goes, squeaking wheels are the ones that get the grease. 

    So how do we react when we feel underappreciated or undervalued? The Bible offers some suggestions:

    Remember we are part of a greater unit. Even when we are not being singled out for exemplary performance, we can be assured we are important to the overall effort. A human heart cannot function without the lungs or brain, and vice versa. “The body is a unit…. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…. As it is, there are many parts, but one body(1 Corinthians 12:12-20).

    Recognize our need for each other. Just as the overall enterprise needs our contributions, we benefit from and should appreciate the contributions of others. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work…. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

    Realize your work matters to God. To use the orchestra analogy again, sometimes we must accept playing solely for the Conductor, an audience of one – God. But that is all we need. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23-24).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

     Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1.  Which of the two do you identify with most readily: the high performer that receives substantial recognition and rewards, or the individual that labors steadily and effectively without getting much attention or commendation? Explain your answer.

    2.  Do you ever find yourself in a situation when you believe you have done a good job but receive no expression of gratitude, or perhaps no acknowledgement at all? If so, how do you feel or even react at such times?

    3.  What do you think of the analogies of healthy, functioning joints that we never pay attention to, or musical instruments that when played harmoniously do not stand out in an orchestral performance, to your role in the workplace? Do these comparisons encourage you? Why or why not?

    4.   How do you respond to the biblical promise that your work is recognized and valued by God? If you truly believe that, what difference should it make in how you approach your everyday job responsibilities?

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

     Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 12:21-31; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17