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Friday, March 1, 2013

Politeness


            The great French general of World War I, Marshal Foch, was visiting Great Britain when he was cornered by a boorish Englishman who launched into a tirade against French politeness.
            “There is nothing in it but wind,” he sneered.
            “There is nothing but wind in a tire,” Foch politely replied, “but it makes riding in a car very smooth and pleasant.”
            We as Christians should be known for our politeness. This is one of the undergirding themes of Proverbs, and is certainly a virtue that reflects the fruit of the Spirit.

Source: Edmund Fuller

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Need More


          In the summer of 1995, David Miller decided to leave the corporate world to go to seminary. He wrote four hundred friends and acquaintances alerting them of his startling decision. He expected his decision to be received with scorn and disdain. What he got instead were positive responses. One summarized well the reaction from the corporate world:
I have worked hard to reach the pinnacle of my profession. I have more money than God, yet I am unfulfilled. My marriage is in shambles, I hardly know my kids, and when I look in the mirror, I wonder where the man went who so idealistically graduated from college 30 years ago and was ready to make his mark on the world. I'd like to talk to my pastor, but he has no clue about my world and the pressures I face. Let me know what you find in seminary. I'd like to talk with you.
             All over the world, successful people are coming to the realization that they need more. I think I know where they can find it. How about you?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

’Ol McDonald Had A Farm


            An old story is told of a preacher driving by a farm. Its fields were ripe unto harvest; all rows had been plowed in perfect symmetry. The farm looked picturesque—like the painting of a master artist.
            And then the minister saw the farmer on his tractor. He flagged him down, and the farmer stopped. The preacher introduced himself and, full of enthusiasm, said to the farmer, “My friend, this is beautiful! God has certainly blessed you with a wonderful farm.”
            The farmer suspended movement for a moment and then slowly pulled out his bandana and wiped his brow. He gazed at the preacher, then at the farm, and then back at the preacher again. Then, with deliberation, the farmer said, “Yes, He has, and we’re grateful. But you should have seen this place when He had it all to Himself.”
            Now, I don’t like where some people take that story; namely, to overemphasize the role people play in their lives and thereby diminishing the role God plays. Having said that, I do notice that many Christians go the other direction and reduce the responsibility God has given humans to work. Indeed, work is one way to collaborate with God in his Kingdom.
            As the farmer invested in removing rocks, trees, plowing, sowing seeds…, so we too invest time and effort in our work. This is good, and it was so before the Fall of Adam.
·      Enjoy your work.
·      Invest in it.
·      Work hard.
·      See your work as a collaboration with God.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Splendor of the Ordinary


            Tradition and scripture indicate that Jesus spent the bulk of his life as a carpenter. Prison Fellowship’s Mark Earley wrote a few years ago about an amusing moment in the movie The Passion of the Christ:
            The scene shows Jesus at work as a carpenter, finishing a table. His mother comes over to examine it. Her opinion? The table is too high.
            Not to worry, Jesus responds; He’ll build tall chairs to go with it.
            Mary is not convinced. As she walks away, she mutters, “It’ll never catch on.”
            That scene playfully reminds us that part of Jesus’ mission consisted of work. In this case, his work was manual, and we forget that it was a service to people.
            Justin Martyr, an early church leader, said in the second century that a common sight in Palestine was that of planters working behind plows Jesus had made when he was a carpenter. What an amazing thought—Jesus worked with his hands, and he cared greatly about the quality of his craftsmanship!
                I don't know who coined the phrase “the splendor of the ordinary,” but I like it. It captures well Jesus’ view toward his daily work.
            Does it capture our view?

Friday, February 15, 2013

He’s Not Our Kid!


            Former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator, George Allen, tells a funny story that illustrates the competitive spirit of his father, for whom he was named. Coach George Allen coached the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins during the 60s and 70s.
            Once, when Allen was coaching the Redskins, they were playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. One of the officials made a terrible call against the Redskins, and the entire Washington bench protested.
            It just so happened that Bruce Allen, the coach's son, was on the sideline that day working as a ball boy. Bruce began screaming at the referee informing him of just how bad a job he was doing. The referee, none too pleased, informed Coach Allen that Washington would receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if “that kid” didn’t shut up.
            Apprehensive that he would receive a penalty, Allen told the official, “That kid is not with us. He must be one those ball boys the Eagles gave us.” Evidently, the line judge accepted that explanation, because he did not call a penalty on the Redskins.
            Now, I doubt if Allen would have ultimately renounced his son, but that humorous story lends itself to ponder the troubling thing that Jesus said to his disciples, “51 Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. 52 A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. 53 Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other” (Luke 12:51-53 CEV.)
            Wow! If the gospel writers had not recorded what Jesus said, it would be easy to place him in a box and package him in an innocuous way that would cause the whole world to love him.
            Strangely enough, God has always seemed more concerned with having himself expressed through the venue of truth rather than of good marketing. 



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where Opportunity Knocks


           Consultant Bob Beaudine once advised a man who had a deep desire to become the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He loved baseball and was intricately involved in the game.
            The position was open, and he had to decide whether not to pursue the opportunity; meanwhile, he had another opportunity that did not look so promising. The commissioner's job seemed the better option.
            Beaudine researched the opportunity for Commissioner and came back with the conclusion that it was not likely he would get it. So George decided to pursue his other possibility–run for governor… of Texas. He ran and he won. He ran again and won by an even greater landslide. Then George W. Bush ran for the presidency of the United States twice and won.             
            What looked like a great opportunity was not, and what looked like a poor opportunity was, instead, a life changer.             
             Keep that in mind when you are at work. What to you may seem a dead-end job may instead be the doorway to your future. I have heard it said (and I believe it to be true) that there is virtually no position in business or industry—be it doorman or trash man, maid or waitress—from which someone has not risen to the position of chairman, president, or some other notable location.
            Remember:
  • ·      Enjoy your work.
  • ·      You never know from whence your next opportunity may come. 

Source: Bob Beaudine, The Power of Who



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Myra


            Myra Blalock was a dear, sweet woman. I say, “was”, because Myra passed away a couple of months ago.
            Last week, our church office received a phone call from Myra’s former boss. She effusively praised Myra. From the boss’s description, Myra authentically illustrated her faith through her work.
            Myra’s employer had been wrestling with how she was going to replace someone so valuable. That is why she called Myra’s church—was there someone else there who might be interested in Myra’s old job?
            Do you hear what Myra’s employer was asking? She was trying to account for someone who had stood out so much in the workplace. She was hoping that perhaps the group that helped form Myra’s faith could help her find someone else who would also be impactful.
            I love Myra’s story. It is a great testimony.
            What about us?
            Are we offering our best at work?
            If we are Christians, are we blessing those in our workplace so much that our employers seek to find the community that is helping to form our faith?