Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. The Benevolence Of Burden-Bearing

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    February 5, 2018 – Rick Boxx   One day during a period of some difficult changes at work, I asked an employee how she was doing. She responded that she was fine. I looked her in the eyes and said, “No. How are you really doing?” I could see from her demeanor that the upheaval at our business was taking a negative toll on her.

    The next morning, with tears in her eyes, this employee approached me to say my heartfelt question the previous day had touched her. It made her understand that I really cared. She then expressed important thoughts about how she perceived the changes and what was troubling her the most.

    A study by an employee benefits administration company discovered 33 percent of people would be willing to switch companies if they knew they would receive more empathy, and 40 percent said they would work longer hours as long as they felt assured that those they were working for genuinely cared about them and their well-being.

    This is interesting, since empathy is not a topic given much attention in business schools, if at all. Even in management training, the focus is typically on how to get things done most productively and efficiently, not on how to address the heartfelt needs of the people doing the work.

    Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In the business and professional world, we can easily ignore the feelings of others. Maximizing profits and satisfying stakeholders tend to take priority. But genuinely caring for others can make a tremendous difference in developing loyal employees that are more content and productive because they feel valued.

    In the Bible’s New Testament, Galatians 6:2 teaches, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Another way to express this is “sharing the load.” The weight of emotions, or the strain of dealing with problems that cannot be quickly resolved, can overwhelm. Sometimes we can help in specific, tangible ways. Other times all we can do is communicate to the other person that we care – and sometimes, that is enough. We might assure them we are praying for them. Helping to bear someone else’s burdens might be an act of benevolence they will never forget.

    The Scriptures affirm this principle in other ways:

    Willingness to put others first. Whether our role is that of executive, supervisor or coworker, showing empathy to others communicates we are concerned for their best interests. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.(Romans 15:1).

    Doing as we would want others to do for us. If you were in the middle of circumstances that seemed overwhelming, would you want to experience the concern and care of others to help you through the difficult time? “…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’(Galatians 5:13-14).

    Copyright 2018, 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 about their ministry or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.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. In general, how often do you see empathy expressed and demonstrated in the workplace? In what ways have you seen this done?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you became the beneficiary of someone else’s sincere concern and caring? How did that make you feel?

     

    1. Some people are more naturally empathetic than others. How would you rate yourself on an “empathy scale” – very empathetic, somewhat empathetic, not very empathetic? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Even if empathy is not one of our natural assets, how can we strive to be more empathetic, more considerate of the concerns and needs of others going through difficult times?

     

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

     Proverbs 12:14,18, 15:4, 16:24, 20:5,12; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20,26

  2. The Mission Field – Closer Than You Think

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    January 29, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy   Have you ever been to the mission field? Let me warn you: that’s a bit of a trick question. For most of us, when we hear “mission field,” we think of traveling to a distant land where an unfamiliar language is spoken in a culture dramatically different from our own. In the traditional sense, that is true. But have you ever considered that the mission field might be down the street – or just outside your work space?

    For more than 25 years, my friend Ken has led a ministry to business owners and CEOs, offering them a place to meet for sharing common challenges, needs and problems. Whenever a new member joined one of the groups, Ken gives them a sign, suggesting they post it at the top of their office door, on the inside, serving as a daily reminder. The sign reads, “You are now entering the mission field.”

    This is fitting because when Jesus made the command we commonly refer to as the Great Commission – “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) – He did not say we should not include the country, city, or community in which we live. In a practical sense, if we are unable to have an eternal impact where we presently are, how can we have an impact where we are not?

    For most of my 10 years as a newspaper editor, I was not a follower of Jesus. And even after committing my life to Him, I lacked the understanding of how to effectively talk with others about my faith and help other believers begin to grow spiritually. It was only after I became involved with CBMC – and started to interact with dedicated, mature Christ followers – that I realized that telling others about Him was not a job restricted to the clergy and professional missionaries.

    Here are some teachings from the Bible to confirm that whatever we do, wherever we go, we already are on the “mission field”:

    For some, we are the only “Jesus” they will see. In many parts of the world, we live in secularized, post-Christian cultures. Many people – especially business and professional people – will not consider entering a house of worship, even if they have spiritual questions. We might be the ones God wants to use to provide the answers they seek. Jesus told His followers, You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (John 5:14). He also said, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). 

    We can show the reality of Christ by how we conduct ourselves at work. A friend told me of the poor work ethic and low standards he observes within his industry. I suggested this offers a perfect opportunity to separate his company – and its values – from his competitors. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). The apostle Paul also exhorted believers in the city of Corinth, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

     So, the next time you think about going to the mission field, recognize you are already there! You do not even need to pack a suitcase.

    © 2018. 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 Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What comes to your mind when you hear the term “mission field”?

     

    1. Have you ever gone to what we typically consider the mission field – meaning traveling to another country or culture – even on a short-term basis? If so, what was that experience like for you?

     

    1. How does the distant mission field – across an ocean, or at least on the other side of a national border – differ from the “mission field” we are describing here, in your own city, on the next street, or even outside your own working space?

     

    1. If you consider that whatever you do, wherever you go throughout your work day, “you are now entering the mission field,” does your perspective change about how to approach your job – and the people you encounter along the way? Why or why not?

     

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

     Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:23-24, 4:5-6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15-16

  3. Painful, Yet Redemptive Relationships

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    January 22, 2018 – Ken Korkow   A couple weeks back I did something most people would consider unusual. I went to the Goodwill thrift store in our community and bought a small suitcase. After I took it home, then came the unusual part – I cut the handle off and threw the suitcase away. The handle I put into my pants pocket.

    You might wonder, who would do this? That is understandable. But for me it was important – a reminder that when I leave this earth, I am taking NOTHING with me. Everything tangible will remain behind. However, all the things I have had of eternal value will have been sent ahead: My prayers and intercession for others; my tears for their salvation (eternal destiny) and spiritual growth; and any spiritual influence I have had the privilege of having in the lives of others.

    Jesus spoke of this when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whether moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mathew 6:19-21).

    As you can see from what I listed above – praying for others, concern for their spiritual well-being, and desire to have an eternal difference in their lives – my focus these days is simple: Relationships. Sadly, the vast majority of relationships most of us have are superficial. There is little if any personal investment. We take from them what we need and then move on. You know what? This makes our spiritual enemy smile. He loves relationships, as long as they are superficial and meaningless. Because his strategy is simple: deceive, divide, and destroy.

    I regret how I operated in the past as a businessman. I used relationships to get business. I would pretend to be nice – and pretend to care – to get what I wanted. I used people to get things I loved. Thankfully, several decades ago God touched my life and taught me that instead, I should be using things to love people.

    This is why my years of experience working on our family’s cattle ranch has been so valuable. As you work with livestock you discover two truths: Fast is slow. Slow is fast. The same can be said about relationships. They take time and cannot be rushed.

    Recently I was on a several phone calls: one to buy a truckload of insulation for a building at the ranch; another to buy a 50-foot diameter pen for working with horses, and another to buy a couple horse shelters. In each instance, while talking about my intended purchase, I could hear “something” in the other person’s voice: Pain. Or tiredness. So, I “went there” and asked each person what was going on in their life.

    As I did so, the Lord opened doors. Each time, as the person shared their story, they also shared tears. This gave me the opportunity to share the truth and hope of Jesus Christ. In all three instances I prayed with them, then mailed them some discipleship material. Later I followed up on each with another phone call.

    In the past, I would not have taken the time, would not have noticed – or would not have cared. But God has taught me another important principle: Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied. Now at the start of each day I pray, “Lord, please give me divine appointments – and keep the time-wasters away.” Realizing the Lord provides for my personal and business needs, this frees me up to develop redemptive relationships. What a privilege it is to share in the pain of others, along with their joys.

    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. What do you think of the story about buying a suitcase and discarding it, retaining only its handle? Do you appreciate the symbolism?

     

    1. Have you been making it a practice to store up treasures in heaven – or are you still busy trying to accumulate treasures on earth? Explain what this means for you.

     

    1. How would you describe most of your relationships? How many deep, meaningful relationships do you have, compared to superficial ones without much value?

     

    1. Do you see the value of striving to establish and maintain redemptive relationships? How do you think the principle, “Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied,” relates to this?

     

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

     Proverbs 12:25, 14:13, 15:13,30, 17:17, 18:24, 27:9,17; Matthew 6:33-34

  4. Each One Of Us Is ‘Interim’

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    January 15, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy   Often when the CEO or president of a company or an organization leaves for whatever reason, an “interim” leader is appointed to fill the gap until a permanent successor can be named. It does not matter whether the former executive has retired, died, left to take a new job, resigned, or was fired – someone must step forward to serve on an interim basis until the owners or board of directors can evaluate possible candidates for the job.

    We frequently see a rash of these “interim” appointments during a sports season, for example, when unsuccessful coaches are terminated and someone else is appointed to finish the remainder of the year. Then, in most cases, a different individual is selected to take on the role on a permanent basis.

    In reality – even though we might be reluctant to admit it – we are all “interim,” No matter how old we are, or how well we are performing in our job, we will not be there forever. Someone else was doing the work before we arrived – unless you are the head of your own start-up company – and one day we will be gone, leaving all the responsibilities to someone else.

    This can be a sobering realization. I think of the newspapers I served as the editor, as well as my years at CBMC, when I was editor and director of various publications. During my tenures, I felt I was doing a good job, but even those “permanent” roles came to an end. In fact, the newspapers I directed editorially, along with the magazine, are no longer being published, so they were “interim” as well.

    What are we to do with this knowledge? Do we simply resign ourselves to a “here today, gone tomorrow” mindset and muddle through our jobs one day at a time? Instead, I would suggest taking a carpe diem approach: “seize the day.” Make the most of opportunities presented to us, do the best we possibly can, and hopefully leave things better for those that follow us.

    The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that everything – even life itself – ultimately is interim. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to tear down and a time to build…a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them up…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

    After making these observations, the author of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, states, “What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live…. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-15).

    Rather than adopting a fatalistic attitude, we can acknowledge our “interim” status while striving to do our best in serving our organizations, stakeholders, employees, coworkers, customers and ultimately, God. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

    © 2018. 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 Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

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

     

    1. Have you ever worked in a role that was officially classified as interim, knowing someone else would eventually be selected to succeed you in that job? If so, what was that experience like? How did being “interim” affect how you approached your job?

     

    1. We tend to regard our jobs as permanent – at least until we decide it is time to move on to something else. What does it mean for you to consider your current, “permanent” job as being one in which you are in fact only an interim worker?

     

    1. What do you think of the idea of doing your very best in your present job even with the realization that, one way or another, someone else will be taking over that role? Perhaps sooner than you might think?

     

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

     Proverbs 10:7; Matthew 6:33-34; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23-24; James 4:13-15

  5. The Enduring Value Of Wisdom

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    January 8, 2018 – Rudolfs Dainis Smits   “Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought.” – C.S. Lewis. According to this quote, values we need are taught to prepare us for life, business and professional careers. Sadly, in many instances this is no longer true.

    Harvard University (originally New College), founded in 1636, is America’s oldest corporation. It was renamed in 1638 after the Rev. John Harvard, who started the college for training clergy. Facades of Harvard’s historic buildings contain a chiseled stone shield including three symbolic books (two arranged facing up and one facing down) with the inscription, “VERITAS,” which means “truth.” John Amos Comenius, considered the father of modern education, developed an education methodology there that systemized the pursuit of truth as revealed through the Scriptures, nature (science), and reason. The third book in this shield is respectfully turned face down representing the limits of man’s reason. (This is described in The Harvard Wall by Gary Brumbelow.)

    Harvard University has since abandoned this tradition and become a secular institution that no longer adheres to these ideas. The shield has been redesigned; that third book now faces upward, and the inscription, “for Christ and the church” has been removed. Harvard’s historic building facades, however, remain unchanged, testifying to this lost heritage – the value of wisdom and the pursuit of truth in God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

    Proverbs 1:1-7 declares that to know wisdom and instruction, to understand and gain insight, and to receive instruction in wise dealings and righteousness, justice and equity must begin with the fear of God. Scripture teaches that the pursuit of all learning, knowledge and gained wisdom is revealed through the knowledge of God (Scripture); nature (study of science and God’s creation), and through Reason (the instrument of logic).

    Values are essential for defining who we are and foundational to culture and society. Business and commerce are controlled by accepted standards and values. If these principles are ignored, they will lead to our demise. As C.S. Lewis stated, “A dogmatic belief in objective values is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.”

    Wisdom that values truth found in Scripture. A successful business or organization must maintain vision, mission and a value system for its employees to follow and to benefit its clients and customers. Our work and professional practice will be valued and remain relevant if we operate within the framework of biblical principles that protect the rights, relationships and well-being of our partners, employees, colleagues and customers.

    Wisdom that values truth in science (nature). Successful businesses uphold common law and best practices that include justice of exchange, fair prices, and value character and integrity in relationships and professional dealings. “A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work” (Proverbs 16:11).

    Wisdom that values reason that yields to God. The Bible tells the famous story of King Solomon who, when offered riches and power, chose wisdom instead. Later in life Solomon diverged from the path of truth. He ceased to cherish wisdom over wealth. He compromised truth, wisdom and knowledge in his pursuit of riches, horses and women, and eventually violated the very principles that made him a wise king and leader. He lost the fear of God and the kingdom with it. The lessons shown in 1 Kings 11:10-12 are important ones we should heed.

    © 2018. Rudolfs Dainis Smits, an architect & business owner. He currently is design & technical manager for Hill International, a pProject and construction risk management company. He is former chairmen and board member of CBMC Latvia; founding member of Reformed Baltic Theological Seminary, Riga, Latvia, and a former Europartners board member.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Why do you think the book of Proverbs in the Bible equates wisdom with the fear of God? What is the meaning of “fear” in this case – and how is this a prerequisite to wisdom, knowledge and understanding?

     

    1. Have you ever compromised – or felt tempted to compromise – your values at work or with a client in fear of what someone might think or say about you? If so, what was the result?

     

    1. Our outward practices reflect internal decisions about what we believe. If we do not practice and protect those values, our lives become a meaningless façade. What is the basis for the value system that guides your personal and professional life? How do your actions contribute to protecting these values?

     

    1. S. Lewis said, “No justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous…. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat,’ than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among [card sharks].” What is Lewis saying about merely espousing principles (or values) versus what someone actually lives them out in practice?

     

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

    Proverbs 9:9, 16:11; Ecclesiastes 12:13, Micah 6:8, Luke 11:42, Romans 11:33, James 3:13,17

  6. Building A Values-Based Business

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    January 1, 2018 – Rick Boxx   One of the most underestimated tools for any successful business enterprise is the foundation of values upon which it has been built. If a company’s goal is simply to make high profits, to close a lot of any sales, or even to deliver huge quantities of products or services, it can lead to problems with the end serving to justify the means.

    For instance, if the objective is to finalize sales, one might be tempted to make whatever promises are needed to accomplish that – even if the promises cannot be met. Or if maximizing profits is the ultimate goal, it could become easy to justify cutting costs, even if that means compromising the quality of the product or services provided.

    However, when a company starts with a clear, well-considered framework of values to guide and govern its operations, chances of both survival and success are increased dramatically. These values essentially define “what we do,” “why we do it,” and “how we do it.”

    Many CEOs that are followers of Jesus Christ share a desire to influence their organization with principles from the Bible – which they understand to be the Word of God – while also being sensitive to those team members who may not embrace the same faith. One of the best ways to shape a company culture in an effective, non-offensive manner is to focus on values, principles of conduct and practice that everyone in the organization can be asked to embrace.

    For instance, a value of placing high priority on customer service is one that few can argue with; we don’t even have to explain this value is based on “doing to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). We might embrace the value of doing the best we can at all times, without having to insist that our staff “work at it with al your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

    Since many of the values we commonly endorse come right out of the Bible, formulating our core beliefs can serve as a non-threatening way for communicating God’s standards and values. Developing these foundational values and holding your team accountable to them can give you the opportunity to lead the way to doing business God’s way.

    As the psalmist expressed in Psalms 119:130, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” To achieve success – and then to sustain it – it is important for every key member of the team to be able to understand and explain what the organization stands for. What are the basic values and principles that serve as guideposts for how it conducts business on a day to day basis?

    If you desire to shape the culture of your organization in God’s way, try determining and articulating your core values. Next, model them, and then communicate them consistently to your team. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9).

    Copyright 2018, 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 about their ministry or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.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. Would you consider your company to be a values-based business? Explain your answer.

     

    1. If you do believe your organization is values-based, what are those values? Are they articulated and presented in some way so that everyone has the opportunity to review and understand them as guidelines for everyday operations and practices?

     

    1. Understanding that not everyone in a business may hold to the same spiritual beliefs, would it still be appropriate for them to understand the source of the organization’s values if those are drawn from the Bible? Why or why not?

     

    1. What if an organization has not established a system of values by which to govern its operations – how do you think they could begin to work toward becoming a values-based business? Or do you think that if it has been operating without an agreed-upon statement of values, there is no need at this point to change that?

     

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

     Proverbs 11:1, 14:5, 15:33, 20:14, 29:4; Philippians 4:8, 2 Timothy 2:2

  7. A Toast To The New Year – And The Old One

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    December 25, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy   Congratulations! In less than a week, you will have made it through another calendar year. Are you ready for 2018 to begin? What are your thoughts about the year that is about to conclude? Was it one of your better years, perhaps even the very best year you have ever experienced? Or was it a year you would rather forget, and are feeing glad it is about over?

    Realistically, the move from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 is simply the passing of another 24 hours. Yet for many of us it means much more than that. For some, there is hope the positive momentum of the past year will continue and build into the new calendar year. For others, it represents a time for a fresh start, new beginnings, maybe even a “do-over.” In any case, watching the last numeral in the calendar year increase by one typically offers renewed hope, along with expectations for good things in the future.

    For many, this transition means both a time for reassessing what transpired over the past 365 days and a time for anticipating what opportunities, challenges and surprises might lie ahead over the next 365. I ask questions like: What went well? What could I have done better? How can I learn from the past for better results in the future?

    Sadly, in many cases moving from one year to the next demands a lot more than flipping the page on a calendar. It sometimes involves feelings of regret, even remorse. Some would agree with author William Faulkner, who said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” So, as we are hoping for good things to come, how do we deal with deeds or circumstances we wish we could undo, or at least remove from our memories? The Bible offers some helpful principles to consider:

    Refuse to let the past be in control. Realizing we have not yet “arrived,” that we still have dreams to pursue and goals to achieve, we cannot move forward by continuing to concentrate on the past. The apostle Paul wrote, Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, 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 3:12-14). 

    Recognize the future does not need to duplicate the past. We can gain valuable lessons from the past, including our failures, but then we must avoid getting “stuck” by giving them undue focus. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

    Remember God has power to transform. “New and improved” is a popular promise for many products. Sometimes that is what we desire for ourselves, not just a minor touch-up or small adjustments, but being able to dispense with the old self and become a totally new, remarkably transformed “me.” For followers of Jesus Christ, this is the promise God offers: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come(2 Corinthians 5:17). “…just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

    © 2017. 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 Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What are the memories you will carry forward from the past year? What were your happiest, or most rewarding, moments? Which would you like to forget, or do over?

     

    1. Looking to the new year, what expectations and hopes do you have?

     

    1. How easy is it for you to follow the example of the apostle Paul, who wrote of “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”?

     

    1. In the Bible, God promises to make things new, to transform His people into “new creations.” What, if anything, does that mean to you – especially in an everyday, practical sense?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Isaiah 65:17; Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20

  8. Christmas And The ‘Undercover Boss’

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    December 18, 2017 – Luis Cervino   Have you seen the TV reality show called “Undercover Boss”? In it, owners or CEOs of large companies go undercover as rank and file workers for a week or two, working alongside employees to discover firsthand how they perform their jobs and meet their personal needs. These bosses learn about the inner workings of their enterprises – such as pizza businesses, large hotel groups, maintenance companies, and convenience stores.

    At the end of each program, the bosses shed their disguises, revealing themselves to their workers, and enact positive change in the workplace. They often reward employees with extra benefits such as scholarships for their children, paid leaves of absence if needed, or donations of medical care. In some instances, negligent workers have been identified and dismissed. The key concept is the top executives take the time to personally review what is transpiring in their companies, interact with staff, and institute necessary adjustments.

    Interestingly, this concept is not new; it happened 2,000 years ago when God decided to come “undercover” to live with His creation. He began His stay not at a palace or with great ceremony. Instead, as Jesus Christ, He chose to come simply, living among working people with a humble, non-assuming family. His birth received little notice except for a few witnesses – a handful of country people and His earthly parents. For Jesus’ arrival, He chose an unusual site for an important person: a stable – an animal shelter.

    About two years later, some learned individuals – commonly known as “wise men” – came to give Jesus proper homage, along with some gifts. Then they returned to their distant homes. Jesus spent the succeeding years growing into adulthood, learning the carpentry trade from Joseph, His earthly father, living with and meeting people and experiencing the challenges and problems of everyday life.

    In four books of the Bible, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we find accounts of His adventures and how He used examples from everyday life to teach eternal truths those who followed Him, sometimes very specifically and directly, other times in story form (parables), addressing people individually and in groups.

    Living among the people, like an “undercover boss,” Jesus learned firsthand the pressures of work, family and society. He understood the underlying needs and struggles of a wide range of people – adulterers and prostitutes, tax collectors, humble fishermen, the sick and the poor, arrogant religious and civic authorities.

    He experienced the human feelings of being betrayed, having His kindnesses refused because of unbelief, and being falsely accused without any evidence of an alleged crime. And, similar to the undercover bosses on TV, Jesus offered unearned gifts and benefits. In this case, it was His unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness, reconciliation, transformation, and ultimately, eternal life with His heavenly Father.

    His name is Jesus Christ, and this month we remember His appearance on earth with an event called Christmas. In many instances, the central meaning of this day has been distorted. Some refuse to say, “Merry Christmas,” replacing it with a more politically correct, “Happy Holidays,” not to offend those who do not believe in Jesus.

    For followers of Jesus, however, we are not afraid to say, “Merry Christmas.” Because we know, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

    Luis Cervino is a maxillofacial surgeon in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, where he resides with his wife, Rocio, and their two sons. He has been a CBMC/CPEC member in Mexico since 1997, and has been translating Monday Manna from English into Spanish since 1999. His translations reach readers in Mexico and many other parts of the world.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. If you have seen the TV reality show, “Undercover Boss,” what has been your impression of it – or at least its general concept?

     

    1. What do you think would be your conclusions if you were to serve as an “undercover boss” at your workplace? Would there be value in such a “covert” activity?

     

    1. Jesus Christ, coming to earth as an “undercover boss.” What do you think of that perspective of God taking on human form, and living among His creation, as John 1:14 states: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us”?

     

    1. Why do you think this “undercover approach” was necessary for God? Could He have accomplished what He did in some other way? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Luke 2:4-20; John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3

  9. The Workplace – And The Sabbath

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    December 11, 2017 – Jim Mathis   Many of us struggle with not having enough time to get things done at work. Some employers expect us to be on call 24 hours a day. Self-employed people have an even greater challenge in being able to get away from their work for a few days, or even a few hours. We must put in the time that is needed, we reason. But at what cost?

    Studies have shown productivity drops dramatically if we do not take time to rest, to “sharpen our axe.” There is a very practical adage that the fastest way to cut wood is to first set aside time to make certain the axe is sharp. This principle holds true even if you are not in the wood-cutting business. Nearly every new idea I have gotten for my businesses has come while I am on a vacation or away from work, where I had time to gain a new perspective or discover fresh thinking from a totally random, even unrelated source.

    This necessity to take time to step away from our work, our vocations, is so important it is even given as a divine directive in the Bible.

    In the biblical creation account, God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh day. The idea of resting on the seventh day was codified when the Ten Commandments were handed down to Moses: “Remember the Sabbath day by keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day….” (Exodus 20:8-11).

    Jesus later clarified this Sabbath commandment, teaching that honoring the Sabbath is not about following a set of rules, but that the day was established for man – a time of rest, reflection and recuperation, a time to slow down and enjoy the world God has created. Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’(Mark 2:27).

    Over the centuries, the idea of the Sabbath for Christians has shifted from the seventh day to the first day of the week. This has been a source of conflict and confusion for me. Should we rest on the seventh day, Saturday, or the first day, Sunday? I thought maybe our calendars are just labeled wrong. Recently, however, I have begun to realize both days are right. We need to honor the seventh day of the week as a day of rest. My wife calls it a REAL Saturday, meaning a day to rest, recuperate, spend time with friends, have a relaxing meal, and just enjoy being alive. Sunday then becomes the day to honor Christ and remember His resurrection. It becomes a time to start the week by giving the first few hours of the week to God, sort of the first fruits of our time – of our week.

    Saturday, the seventh day of the week, becomes my day of rest. Sunday, the first day of the week, becomes a time to worship God and start the week right. This idea might sound radical for some, but it can serve as a test of our trust in the Lord and His provision. As Psalm 127:2 assures us, It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”

    Practically speaking, I often start my work week on Sunday afternoon or evening, planning the week and getting a few things ready for Monday morning. That makes sense for me, realizing I have rested on Saturday and devoted the first few hours of the week to the Lord. Then it becomes time to work until the next Saturday, the true Sabbath in terms of getting rest, preparing mentally, physically, and spiritually for a new week.

    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.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you normally manage to get enough rest despite the many workplace demands you encounter? What steps do you take to avoid having your work control your attention and schedule seven days a week?

     

    1. How do you respond to the concept of observing and maintaining a true Sabbath within the context of your work week?

     

    1. Do you agree with the idea that God instituted the Sabbath observance not as an arbitrary, rigid regulation, but rather as a practical way to ensure we receive the rest we need? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What if you have a job – such as a medical practitioner, a law enforcement officer, or a restaurant worker – when you would be required to work on a Saturday or a Sunday, or both? How could you still ensure that you receive the Sabbath rest you require?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Exodus 23:10-12, 31:14-16; Proverbs 3:24; Ecclesiastes 2:23, 5:12; Hebrews 4:4-11

  10. The Gift Of A Teachable Spirit

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    December 4, 2017 – Rick Boxx   My friend, Larry, was being interviewed for a position to run the operations of a large, privately held, family business. The owners said they also wanted him to mentor the CEO’s son, with the intent that the young man would one day preside over the corporation.

    During the interview, the executive’s son pointedly asked Larry, “Can you train me to eventually lead this organization?” Larry responded honestly, “That is up to you. If you have a teachable spirit, I can train you to run this business.” Apparently, the company ownership liked the response, because Larry got the job.

    The world of business is littered with the failures of men and women that had great potential – possessing the intelligence and skill sets to perform well in their jobs, yet lacking one important quality: Teachability. When someone is unwilling to learn, assuming they already know everything there is to know, or acting obstinate and refusing to receive much-needed, well-intended instruction, predictably their likelihood of success is very low.

    This applies to mentoring relationships as well. A mentor can only help the person he or she is mentoring if that individual is receptive to the insights and experience the mentor wishes to offer. Someone that is unwilling to learn, even if it means humbling oneself enough to be corrected as well as instructed, is poor leadership material.

    The Bible speaks about this often, especially in the book of Proverbs. For instance, Proverbs 9:8 says, “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, reprove a wise man and he will love you.” Many people, for whatever reason, become “stiff-necked” when someone attempts to teach them. Someone that is teachable, however, remains receptive to what they can learn from others, even their peers.

    Another passage states, “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray” (Proverbs 10:17). A teachable person appreciates learning about how to improve and overcome weaknesses. Yet another verse points out a desire to learn reflects growing wisdom: “Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin” (Proverbs 10:15).

    Being teachable is a characteristic of established leaders, as well younger people striving to advance in their careers. One familiar verse describes requirements for leadership: “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). However, a different translation of the same passage expresses it this way: “Therefore, an elder must be blameless…stable, sensible, respectable, hospitable to strangers, and teachable.”

    One more passage offers a similar sentiment: Which of you is a wise and well-instructed man? Let him prove it by a right life with conduct guided by a wisely teachable spirit” (James 3:13).

    When looking for younger leaders in whom to invest your time, or to cultivate for future leadership, first look for those with a teachable spirit. Your investment of time and energy will prove to be far more fruitful. At the same time, we should never lose sight of the importance of remaining teachable ourselves. We are never too old, or too accomplished, to learn.

    Copyright 2017, 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 new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you describe someone with a teachable spirit?

     

    1. Give an example of someone you consider to be very teachable? Can you think of any leaders you are associated with who possess that trait? What about yourself – are you a teachable person?

     

    1. In this discussion of teachability, some related traits are mentioned, including wisdom and humility. Why do you think these would be significant for maintaining a teachable spirit?

     

    1. The idea also is presented that someone who is not teachable is a fool. Do you agree, or do you think such a judgment is too harsh? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 1:7, 3:13-15, 9:9-10, 14:6,8, 15:31, 16:21, 19:8;
    Colossians 1:28-29, 3:16