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You Are Very Well Off

Take stock of how full, good and rich your life really is.  For just a moment to count all the things that make your life a little easier. Consider the simple things such as:

  • indoor plumbing
  • hot water for your shower
  • a refrigerator / kitchen/ pantry stocked with food
  • grocery stores
  • paved roads
  • family
  • friends
  • heat

My in-laws are in town today for my daughter’s birthday.  Before I went to work my wife and her mother had gone to get groceries at a specialty health-conscious store across town.  Note that the local big box store which is designed to meet the needs of a wide mass of consumers, does not carry exactly what my wife needs.  She drives, in one of our two cars, on roads that are paved, to the speciality store across town.

I sit here in a coffee store (an entire store devoted to coffee?) writing on a computer that I can carry anywhere.  I have the time to do this because I am not washing a week’s worth of clothes by hand, and I’m not having to plow a field with a team of 2 horses.  This amount of “free time” I have would have been unfathomable 100 years ago.

My father-in-law volunteered to watch my daughter while I work in my “office” just a few miles from the house.  Thinking about things from his vantage point,  how amazing is it to live so long that you get to spend time with your grandkids?  As I was pulling out of the driveway on my way to write I realized that we live very long, full lives.  We have so many conveniences compared to what was available in the past.  These conveniences wash our dishes, dry our clothes and give us, well, more.  More time, more availability, more room to give.  As a whole, we are better equipped to meet the needs of others than perhaps any other time in history.

We have full, wonderful, productive lives.   Today, take time to notice how good you have it.

 

 

Your Work Can Right Social Wrongs

Your Work Can Right Social Wrongs

This is the 3rd post in a series that I am writing on God’s redeeming our every day work lives (article 1 and article 2).  The series started when I came across a presentation by Dr. Denise Daniels of Seattle Pacific University.

After the fall came redemption, and this carries through to our time at work.

Until reading this presentation I had been of the opinion that the fall had doomed us to work in jobs that were monotonous, tedious and boring.  Dr. Daniel’s presentation covered the fall, yet it made me realize that God, in fact, has redeemed work.

Dr. Daniels includes a vital observation on slide 22.

Your work can bring economic justice and social justice to people who can not speak for themselves.

Consider for a moment the considerable rise of social entrepreneurs over the past decade — organizations such as Charity:Water and LoveGrows.  Charity:Water provides clean drinking water for those who otherwise would not have the means to obtain it.  Clean water leads directly to better health for the villagers and improves education opportunities for girls and women.  LoveGrows helps provide orphans with housing and access to age-appropriate schooling.  Both organizations seek to create a cycle of empowerment at a local level.

These are not organizations that started as well-funded offshoots of major corporations or endowment funds.  These are organizations that are started from people who simply said “I want to make a difference”, and they chose to get involved despite the many issues that lay before them.

The work that you do can have an amazing impact on the lives of many.

References

Daniels, D. (2008). Redeeming work: Living out God’s Purpose in our work [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.spu.edu/depts/sbe/cib/documents/CIB_Kiros_Redeeming_Work_Daniels_7-08.ppt

 

Following Your Call Leads To Healing

Following Your Call Leads To Healing

This is the second post in a series that I am writing on how God is redeeming work.  My major premise here is that originally intended for work to be productive, enjoyable and a natural extension of who you are.

In my earlier post where I kicked off the series, I mentioned I came across a presentation by Dr. Denise Daniels of Seattle Pacific University.  One of the biggest insights I gained from Dr. Daniels’s presentation is that redemptive work facilitates

  • Physical healing
  • Emotional healing
  • Spiritual healing (Daniels, 2008)

Likewise I have also found a post from Dennis Sy who wrote a post titled Redeeming Work. Here Dennis makes the point that “No longer is work a necessary evil. It is now a calling.”

Is it possible that by following our respective callings that God will lead us to work that nurtures our souls and heals our bodies?

References

Daniels, D. (2008). Redeeming work: Living out God’s Purpose in our work [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.spu.edu/depts/sbe/cib/documents/CIB_Kiros_Redeeming_Work_Daniels_7-08.ppt

 

God is Redeeming Work Itself

God is Redeeming Work Itself

God Redeems Work

This is the first of several posts that I have written on the topic of God’s redeeming our everyday work lives, and I first started writing on this topic because I am interested in developing it into a talk.  I believe that God is in the process of redeeming work because I can see evidence of God’s moves in this direction through recent history, and I would like to explore this here and in subsequent posts.

I believe that God wants work to be meaningful and wants us to do work that we enjoy.

I came across a presentation by Dr. Denise Daniels of Seattle Pacific University.  Her presentation is titled “Redeeming Work:
 Living Out God’s Purpose in Our Work“.  It provided me with several eye-opening moments.  Until reading this presentation I had been of the opinion that the fall had doomed us to toil in tedium.  There was no escape.  Dr. Daniel’s presentation covered the fall, yet it enlightened me by introducing me to the concept that God, in fact, has redeemed work.

Dr. Daniels’s presentation reminded me that:

  • We are to co-create with God (Gen 1:28)
  • We have a responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation (Gen 1:28Gen 2:15).

Work can be viewed in 3 distinct phases

  1. Creation – work here was very good.
  2. Fall – work here is nothing but toil and hardship.
  3. Redemptive – work here gets back to how work was during the Creation.

Dr. Daniels delivers a considerably thought-provoking slide, and I am quoting verbatim here from slide 22, by listing the following areas were redemptive work mitigates the effects of the fall.

  • Facilitates Healing
    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Spiritual
  • Provides Justice
    • Economic
    • Social
  • Restores Relationships
    • Household
    • Co-workers
    • Local Communities
    • Global Communities

The single thing that stood out the most is Dr. Daniel’s claim that God would like us to have autonomy (slide 21).  This is directly in line with work being done by Stone, Deci and Ryan (2009) on Self-determination Theory (SDT).  Autonomy plays a big part in workers overall satisfaction and organizational commitment. To see autonomy listed here is very intriguing, indeed, and I plan to work this into my presentation as well.

References

Daniels, D. (2008). Redeeming work: Living out God’s Purpose in our work [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.spu.edu/depts/sbe/cib/documents/CIB_Kiros_Redeeming_Work_Daniels_7-08.ppt

Stone, D., Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2009). Beyond talk: Creating autonomous motivation through self-determination theory. Journal of General Management, 34(3), 75–91.

Will Prayer Really Help My Business?

Will Prayer Really Help My Business?

I have never wrestled with such an all encompassing question as this: will prayer really help my business?

I find myself in the same situation in the world of business.  There are formulas, rules to be followed.  Show up on time.  Work hard.  Develop your brand.  All that.  I have tried following the rules only to learn that they don’t always work.  Sure, they turn out to be good advice, but no matter how much I show up on time, how hard I work or how well I develop my brand, it is eventually God that allows my work to amount to anything.  I make a presentation to a big prospect.  I have done my homework.  I have worked hard.  I put together everything the prospect said he wanted.  Now it is up to God to do what He will.  I think at some point it all comes down to this.  No matter how we try to tilt the odds in our favor it still comes back to our needing to rely on God for His provision.

I have prayed for many things over the past dozen years — more clients, more revenue, greater influence.  Sometimes it works out really well and I get exactly what I wanted.  Other times I get nothing.  No answered prayer, no guidance.  Just some sense of disappointment over the formula not working.

What are we to make of this?  Is God not reliable?  Doesn’t He care?

I am not much for quoting Bible verses, but I will add a piece of one here.  “…but it was God who made it grow” (1 Cor 3:6b, NLT).  The story behind the verse is that an early church builder, an apostle, wrote about people who were working together to build the church.  Each person had their own role, but it was God who allowed their work to amount to something.

Courage to Follow

It takes courage to discover who you really are and to live from that center.

There is a story in one of the Gospels where Jesus, standing safely on shore, tells his soon-to-be disciples to give their fishing expedition one more try. This group was already dog-tired from a full night of fishing, and had nothing to show for it.

“Put out into deep water, and throw your nets out one more time.”

Against all common sense they rowed back out.  This whole affair was going nowhere — or so they thought.  To their delight the fishermen caught so many fish that their boats were swamped.

I made my decision to push out into the deep water, to discover and pursue the work that I was made to do.  I enjoy the challenge of the search and the process of discovery.  Some of our greatest innovations came to us through people who decided to persist in spite of adversity.