Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Practicing Compassion on the Job

We're told that Jesus is touched with the feelings of our weaknesses because he was in all points tempted like we are. (Hebrews 4:15) That continually comforts me, as I go to Jesus with my problems, knowing that he's walked this path before me and he knows how I feel. That's how we become compassionate people—by putting ourselves in other people's shoes and feeling what they feel.

I remember a sermon where the minister challenged us to ask God to break our hearts with the things that broke his heart. Jesus’ heart was broken when he saw harassed and helpless people, people who were without any purpose in life, people who had no compass for life, no meaning in life. 

Do you have any of those people working around you? They may be people who irritate you a great deal and even cause you considerable trouble. But if you looked beyond their behavior and truly saw their condition, like Jesus did, you might be able to have compassion on them. 

I’ve found that as soon as I can feel compassion for someone, as soon as I walk in their shoes even for a few minutes, my entire attitude changes. I respond very differently to someone for whom I feel compassion. I do things for someone for whom I have compassion that I wouldn’t do otherwise. And in the process, I reduce my own stress immensely as I take the focus off of myself and put it on the other person.

Maybe those harassed and helpless people are in your life for a reason.  Perhaps they need your compassion today.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

                                                                                                                Matthew 9:36

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Submitting to Those in Authority

Someone once told me that you can learn as much from an incompetent or bad manager as you can from a good one, and I think that's probably true. But the learning is more difficult and painful! 

I’ve heard many sad stories from people who work for a boss who is either lazy, disorganized, inexperienced, or unqualified for the job of manager. Others work for a boss who uses tactics or methods which are either unethical or ineffective or contrary to company policy. The people skills of these managers are usually sadly lacking, and they are not usually willing to accept suggestions from anyone else.

The first biblical principle we need to consider is our attitude toward those in authority. God has established authority as the order for the universe. And if it were not for the principle of authority, we would have nothing but chaos.  The same is true in our business world. Authority is essential.  

Therefore, the people in positions of authority are part of God's plan for authority. And as Christians, we are directed to submit ourselves to those people who have risen to those authority positions. 

Even though you may have a boss who does not use his or her position well or appropriately, his/her authority is nonetheless from God, and as Christians we are to respect it. To rebel against that is to rebel against God's order, and, Paul said, it will bring judgment on us.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
                                                                                                                             Romans 13:1-2

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What We Give Our Employer

Think of "Caesar" as your employer. What are you required to give to your “Caesar”? Here are a few important obligations a Christian has to an employer:

1. Hard work. We must be careful to apply ourselves conscientiously and work our full shift. A Christian should never take advantage of their employer by cheating them out of time or work that is due to them.

2. Protection of the employer's assets. Those pencils and pens, paper clips and pads supplied by your employer are not for your personal supply room at home. The telephone is another costly asset which we can abuse in the way we use it. Expense accounts should be meticulously honest and fair.

3. Loyalty. While you are taking money from that employer, you owe them respect and you should not be found stabbing them in the back or running them down to others.

On the other hand, what do you NOT owe your employer?

1. Dishonesty of any sort. Lying for your employer is giving to them what is due to God. An employer has no right to ask an employee to lie or deceive in any way. This is where you have to take a stand and not render to that employer what is not due them.

2. Participation in any activity that is dishonoring to God. Socializing after work or with customers is the American way, but frequently it is not the godly way. If you have to be a part of compromising situations in order to keep your job, it's probably time to look for another job. You are rendering to Caesar the things that belong to God.

Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

                                                                                                                                Matthew 22:21b

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Become an Encourager

Have you noticed that discouragement seems to be at epidemic levels? Most working environments are flooded with discouragement, and many times our homes are full of discouraging words. 
As Christians, being an encourager is not an option, it's a directive. Christians should be people who strengthen the feeble and exhausted with encouraging words.

Can you think of someone in the feeble and/or exhausted category right now? Maybe it’s a co-worker or your manager. They may put on a face that says, "I have it all together and I don't need anyone."  But don't let that fool you. Just like you and me, they need to hear encouraging words, words of hope and cheer—and they need to hear them from you.

We also need to encourage people who have failed. Barnabas was that kind of an encourager.  When Mark had failed and the Apostle Paul didn't want to give him another chance, Barnabas insisted on allowing Mark to travel with them. So, when they could not agree, Paul went one way with Silas, and Barnabas and Mark went another way.

Later on Paul asks Timothy to get Mark and bring him for "Mark is useful to me for service." You don't have to fill in too many blanks to see what happened. Barnabas had taken Mark, taught him, encouraged him, and Mark had become a profitable servant of Jesus Christ. Obviously, Paul recognized this, too, and I imagine Paul learned a valuable lesson from Barnabas. It is really important to encourage people at times of failure.

If you know someone who is struggling with failure, encourage them. They need to know that all is not lost and they can go from where they are. 

Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble.  Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not."

                                                                                                                                Isaiah 35:3-4