Listen.

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives answers before he hears, it is folly and shame

 

The business world is full of talking. People talking over each other. Some of us go into a meeting desperately needing to make a point. Many are so wound up about something that we go into it already frustrated and just need to blurt something out. (especially on Monday mornings). That’s normally when we regret something we say.

Everybody wants to be heard. And, of course, someone has to talk. But listening is a skill. As the song goes ‘Silence is Golden’. Listening for a length of time without talking can work wonders. We’ll be tempted to jump in but we have to stop ourselves. And actually not saying anything can solve it! I have seen so many people talk themselves into a solution or simply run out of steam. Or they get to the point where they have to say “What do you think”? That’s the best place to be then a few and considered and wise words is all that’s needed.

This isn’t a lesson in management, but we all need reminders. Scripture has many verses on the subject of speaking and talking. None of them, as far as I know, tell us to talk and talk without listening. Hear what I’m saying?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, give us peace today in the work place. May we surrender our instincts to talk so we can let You guide our hearts and ears to listen to our colleagues – Amen!

Respect not expect.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God

‘Expect’ or ‘Expected’ are the words that are used a lot in the office. “You are expected to be in the meeting”. “We expect you to work the weekend”. “You are expected to attend the conference”. “We expect you to work late”. If you read the dictionary, the word is actually used out of the context of what it really means. Or it’s been twisted. Regardless of that, it’s hardly ever used in the context of pleasant things. I don’t ever hear “You are expected to take a vacation”. Or “You are expected to see your family”. “We expect you to take a lunch break”.

We have many expectations asked of us and most of the time it’s important that we live up to them. After all, we are getting paid for it. But when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations of them be careful not to judge. Outside of the work place our colleagues are living lives. In some cases, lives full of illness, suffering and pain. They have families to look after. And with that comes many problems and genuine worry, to the point where they simply can’t do their job as well as they would like because they are distracted. It’s perhaps not up to us to investigate someone’s problems. But showing we care by having patience, showing kindness as well as understanding regardless of the situation, is sharing God’s love through us.

So, share that love today. If the moments right, tell someone you expect them to do something pleasant. Something they would least expect you to say! I think that is God’s expectation of us.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that we can humble ourselves before others. May we be gracious, loving, kind and understanding. Give us the wisdom and the skill to navigate through all our work situations – Amen!

 

Is a ‘Mum’ God’s masterpiece?

Proverbs 31:2

‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her’

 

Most creators of things have a masterpiece. Da Vinci had the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh his sunflowers. Architects have them so do composers and musicians. But does God have one. I suspect not. There’s too many to mention but, if there was, the ‘Mum’ gets my vote.

Think about what they do. I won’t get into details but I’m sure if you sit down for 5 minutes and give it some thought you will have some kind of realization. And then think about your own Mother whether she’s alive or not. Think about where you are today and then think carefully back to a time when your Mother helped you get to where you are now. Words of encouragement, support and love. Or maybe a financial sacrifice or just a sacrifice of her time. The last one is the big one. Time, that’s what Mum’s give to us most. At the expense of something they may want to do. And they don’t think twice about doing it. Thank God for Mums. His masterpiece.

Usually around Mother’s day a song pops into my head and an early memory of my Mum humming away to it in our kitchen as she listened to the transistor radio. The song and a vague image of her stays with me for a few days and then disappears. But it’s a happy memory and I thank God for it. The song is posted below.

Happy Mother’s day for Sunday.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for our Mothers and all that they sacrifice for us – Amen!

 

Are we ‘up to the job’?

Isaiah 48:17

‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’

Rejection. It’s tough. Feeling worthless and incapable of doing something we thought we could do but then being told we’re not ‘up to the job’ is one of the hardest things in the business world.

I have been rejected for very senior jobs in ad agencies that I was fairly confident I could do and it was odd to me that I wasn’t getting them. But after a while, I just said “Okay God, what is that you want me to do”. Just because I hadn’t been given the opportunity I wanted it didn’t mean that God didn’t have something else equally challenging for me. For example, I was filming in Prague this past week, merrily going about my job as a Commercial’s Director. When filming, most of the crew stand behind the Director’s chair and the actors stand in front, obviously. For most of the shoot, I had been comfortably doing the job but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t give direction because my brain froze. In that moment, the actors were staring at me. (Actors that didn’t speak much English) and when I glanced behind me all the film crew were looking at me as well.  And there was this weird ‘are you up to the job’ silence. They were all looking to me for direction. And I had to act quickly. Something came to me and I shouted out some words and I was back on track. I sensed that God had put me in that place and thankfully given me the words to do my job. I also realized that I was in a very senior position on the set but not the position I had once expected, during those times of rejection. I don’t crave or seek out senior positions any more but God had put me in one. One, that in many ways was more challenging than that of being in an ad agency but I believe it to be a better use of my skills. I also believe that it’s all God’s work. So, ‘are you up to the job’? Maybe not the one  you think you want but God will have something else for you that’s most likely even more challenging or unexpected. Are you up for praying about that?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that you guide us in our work. We want to follow your path so we do what you have planned for us not what we plan for ourselves. Give us the confidence and strength to believe in you and take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises that we weren’t expecting – Amen!

Not a failure. A Success!

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding

 

It’s good to know that God loves us all equally.  And that, in His eyes, we are all loved for what we are regardless of our shortfalls. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. No amount of success in the work place is going to make God proud of us either. Or make Him say to himself “Now that’s what I call a successful creation”!

So, when something happens at work that is a disappointment to us like someone else getting a promotion or a position we thought we should have, God probably has us just where He wants us. What we think is a failure is a most likely a success in the eyes of God, as much as we may find that difficult to understand. The Proverbs verse implies we will never understand it. It’s actually a good feeling to know that we’re not meant to. It makes it easier because we can just let it go. Not even someone who is a million times smarter than us can understand it! All we need to do is use out heart and have faith. (notice the Proverbs verse doesn’t say ‘Trust in the Lord with all your brain’!) No, God has better plans for us. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope’. 

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us for planning our own lives and then thinking that any disappointments are failures. Help us to know that you love us and will always want what’s best for us. Allow us to accept that success maybe just be where we are now, not where we think we should be – Amen!

Give to the one that gave.

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

I think that we can all agree that the corporate world can sometimes be a selfish place to be. I don’t think there’s that many people who go to work each day thinking about how they can help advance someone else’s career or improve someone else’s life.

But Jesus came to give all of His time for us. He gave so much time and energy. He was unselfish and tirelessly taught, encouraged, inspired, loved and cared for others. His ultimate sacrifice was to die for us.

The Bible tells us to be like Jesus. Which is difficult but that’s our bench mark. When we give back to others we give to God. And as that scripture from Matthew suggests, it also tells us where our heart is. When we’re focusing on others and not ourselves then we are being more like Jesus. That will then bring us closer to Him. And He will live and shine through us.

Have you ever had that wonderful feeling in your body when you’ve helped someone or done something good for other people? You leave with a feeling that is hard describe but it’s most likely a peaceful feeling. A feeling of calm, humbleness and joy. The joy that exists beyond Christmas! That feeling is most likely the Holy Spirit in us. On fire with God’s love for others. It’s a great feeling. Who wouldn’t want that? For Him to dwell in us? Pray the prayer below. It’s a simple and unselfish request to God. A belated Christmas gift from Him!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray to be unselfish with our time. Dwell in us Lord as we go about our work. Help us to put others before ourselves – Amen!

He loved

What are we thankful for?

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

As we approach Thanksgiving it’s worth pausing to think about thankfulness. What are we thankful for? I am occasionally guilty of being thankful for something that is beyond what I usually have. An example is being thankful for a pay increase but not being thankful that we even had a job in the first place! And how far can we go back? Where do we stop being thankful? We don’t. Because we can be thankful for the fact that we actually exist. And that we have been gifted with the skills we need to do our work. And that God created the earth for us to live in – ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ Or that he created people who paved the way for us to live our lives in relative peace. Or people who made breakthroughs in our business that allow us to work and think in different ways. In truth, the list of things to be thankful for is mind-boggling. Perhaps with humility we should just close our eyes, bow our heads and simply tell God we’re thankful for Him and for everything He does for us. I think He likes being thanked!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we’re thankful for You and all You do for us – Amen!

We are precious.

Isaiah 43:4

The Lord says, “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”

Precious is normally referred to something that’s fragile, rare or worth a lot of money. It’s not usually referred to in the context of a human being. But precious we are in God’s eyes. And so we should be to each other. In fact all of those words in Isaiah apply. That’s difficult to remember when we’re in the pressured work environment. When the deadline is close and someone hasn’t delivered the goods or simply hasn’t turned up, it’s easy to turn against them and moan about them. But before we do, let ‘s remember that people have lives outside of work. Lives full of challenges and all kinds of stress and anxieties. Mortgages to pay, bad health, children to look after and other family issues. The list goes on. Of course, I know from experience that sometimes we can get let down for no reason whatsoever. Just incompetency. But it’s good to keep an eye on our fellow workers. To ask after them if they haven’t been themselves or to offer help. It’s just us living out God’s love for us to others. That’s very precious.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to pause and make time for others. To care for them as You care for us – Amen!

God wants you on his team!

Colossians 3:23

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than the people

I recently met someone about some potential work who said to me “You’ve been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work”. I feel like I’ve dedicated all of my energy over the last 26 years to the business I’m in. I’ve pushed any creative skills I’ve been blessed with as far as I can. And occasionally further than I could ever imagined. I was at first put out by what the guy said. “Done ‘some’ good work” but I wondered later if they were words from God. On my path with God “Been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work” is probably a fair review. I haven’t excelled but I don’t think God isn’t looking at me and thinking ‘You’re best years are behind you’. I believe I have my best work for God ahead of me because I don’t feel I’ve reached my potential with Him. And I find that an exciting prospect. God loves us and knows we have tremendous potential. In his eyes we’re fledglings about to embark on a career or journey with Him as our leader. This is not about us all giving up our day jobs or trying less hard at them. But as my very first post on this blog said ‘It is God who we work for’. It is He who judges our performance and how successful we really are, not anyone else.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us realize that our best work is done through you and for you – Amen!

Testing, Testing…

Ephesians 4;32

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Last week there was a massive power failure on the train line going into Grand Central. One of the most disruptive incidents I’ve ever know while commuting. It took me 4 hours to get into Manhattan. It usually takes less than an hour. It’s not going to be easily fixed either. It could go on for days and weeks. The link at the very bottom will give you more information, if you’re interested!

If the commute goes smoothly and it gets us to our destination on time then we’re programmed to deal with all the stuff that we’re faced with in the office. We expect ‘disruption’ there! But if the commute doesn’t go smoothly then that’s an entirely different matter. I would not have expected to turn up at the platform last Wednesday to be confronted with a 4 hour commute. It was testing to say the least. All humanity goes out of the window when we’re fighting to get into New York. I observed it all. The pushing, the shouting, the anger, the arguments, the frustration, the disrespect for fellow human beings and travelers. And this was just a power failure on one line, in one state. What if something even more disastrous happened?

Knowing God is a wonderful thing. In past years, I may have been the person sitting 3 rows back taking the incident out on the ticket collector. Or the guy that insisted on keeping his bag on the seat so no one could sit down. In truth, we were all too exhausted to argue with him. And I’m not blaming those people. I’m not perfect and on another day I may not have checked myself but knowing God and having some form of relationship with him does mean we have the ability and awareness to check ourselves and realize that the situation is no big deal. It’s an opportunity to allow Jesus to shine through us by having peace and then kindness toward others. The next day I was able to help a few people out as I had memorized the revised schedule before I went to the station.

We will all face disruptions. The one’s that take us by surprise are the ones that really test our Christian beliefs and the way we behave. So, watch out! There might be another one just around the corner! May God be with you when it happens.

Pray with me.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for being so close to us that you can shine through us in tough situations. Forgive us when we forget about you and go about our lives thinking only of ourselves and our own well-being – Amen!

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Power-problem-paralyzes-Metro-North-4841862.php