Workplace Devotionals

March 29, 2010

7 Habits, Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — ejwcpa @ 3:09 pm
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(continued from last week)

The fourth habit is “Seek win/win.”  At first this may not seem like a biblical principal and perhaps it is not.  After all, not everything that people write in self-help books is from God.  Jesus teaches to turn and other cheek and consider others better than yourself.  He also says that there is no greater love than laying down our lives for a friend.  So maybe there’s no Biblical message in this one after all, and I’ll admit, I didn’t look very hard for a Biblical message.  But we could relate this to areas of the Bible which encourage us to live in harmony with one another, as described in Romans 12:16.  I think what could be practiced in relation to this habit, is to seek ways that benefit multiple people, rather than only looking out for ourselves.  As Christian workers we should not be working in such a manner to demean other people, through unnecessarily criticism, sabotaging others work, or through gossip.  We should be good workers but follow a Christ-like attitude as well.

Habit #5 is to “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”  The benefits to this are endless, if faced with a problem the first step to actually solving the problem, is understanding what the problem is.  If someone comes to you as a friend looking for advice, it’s usually good to listen to what they have to say first before spouting off.  This principle is demonstrated every day in our courts and judicial systems.  The various parties present their sides, the judge and jury listen, and when the parties are done, the judge then makes his decision.  We see evidence of Solomon doing just that in 1 Kings 3:16-28.

Solomon listens and understands first, and with God’s wisdom makes a wise decision on the case. In Psalm 32:9 warns us, “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”  Understanding the situation allows us to be able to lead, to be able to make wise decisions, and to offer valuable help to our teammates.  Furthermore, the ability to understand and reason is what largely sets us apart from the rest of God’s creation.

Habit #6 is to “Synergize.”  This is a great business catch phrase.  I think it’s a made up word for business books for times when you need a word to mean something to give your book more credibility.  So I’m going to say that this word means teamwork and each person operating on their strengths.  With everyone doing their parts and utilizing their strengths, tasks can be completed in a more timely manner and we can have a healthier and more friendly work place.  We see this laid out clearly in 1 Corinthians 12:12-28, the body of Christ.  

We all have gifts to share and to contribute to the team.  This is true in the immediate team that you work with, as well as in the whole of your company or organization.  We need good marketers taking risks to raise more funds and sell more products, and we need good accountants to account for it all.

Habit #7 is to “Sharpen the saw.”  The point of this habit is to continually build on your personal capacity.  We practice this by taking time for devotions and church services each week or each day, building our spiritual capacity, taking a couple times each week to focus on the ultimate reason why we do the work we do.  We take continued professional education, building our professional capacity and keeping up on changes in our profession.  Hopefully we all also take time for relaxing and spending time with our families outside of work, building our personal and relationship capacity.  By neglecting any one facet of our lives, it leaves a hole, and will quickly effect our productivity and focus in another facet.  The Bible speaks often of growth and continual improvement.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”  Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  Philippians 2:12 says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Titus 2:2-10 is a great passage on learning and teaching,

Continual improvement is central to the Bible, not because we believe that improving ourselves will earn us salvation, but because we love God enough to treat the body and life that he gave us with respect so we can use it for the good of others.  These habits are good principles to follow in being good workers and benefiting our employers with our work, and setting Christ-like examples in the work place.


March 22, 2010

7 Habits, Part I

Filed under: Uncategorized — ejwcpa @ 5:24 pm
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I thought it would be interesting to see if I could take a popular business/self-help book and see if the principles taught in the book are supported by the Bible, as most truths in the world are in the Bible, since the Bible is God’s word and God created the world.  I looked at the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and though I haven’t read it, I skimmed through a summary online.  It’s funny, because the main premise of the book is that “change starts from within” which couldn’t be more Biblical principal.  Jesus teaches us to love God with our heart soul and mind, Paul writes that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

The first habit described in the book is “Be Proactive.”  This is a Biblical principal in a number of different ways.  For one, simply stay informed and study your word to be prepared for temptation.  Learn the word of God before the trials start.  Imagine Jesus going into the desert without knowing his word: “You’re right devil, those rocks do look tasty, I wonder if there’s a verse for that?”  Jesus tells a great parable in Matthew 25 of being prepared.

The wise virgins, who were proactive, in bringing oil with them, were invited in, whereas the virgins who were reactive – waiting until they were out of oil to buy more – missed out on the banquet.  In our workplace, being proactive allows us to catch small issues before they become large problems and allow us to properly train and set up systems before busy times arrive.

The second habit is “To begin with the end in mind.”  Goals must not just be on a day to day basis but goals must be long term.  You may practice this at work through annual goal setting or development plans.  You may practice this at home with setting a budget and saving for education and retirement.  In Matthew 4, we see the first time that Jesus begins preaching, after a quotation from scripture, verse 17 states:  “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”  At least according to Matthew, Jesus’ preaching began with the end in mind, the coming of the kingdom of heaven.  Many of Jesus’ parables also teach about what the “kingdom of heaven” is like.  Jesus’ ministry was focused on the end.  Conversely, there are times in the Bible with people trying to start out who have no long term goal.  John 21 tells the story of the disciples following Jesus’ death.  Though they had seen Jesus resurrected, they still did not get what to do, they didn’t yet understand the calling that God had for them to be the leaders, so they just went back to fishing.  What I assume to be later, at the ascension, Jesus gives them the great commission, laying out the goal to them, bringing the gospel to all nations.  Obviously the end goal was a goal bigger than they could accomplish in their lifetimes, but through their work, the gospel was brought to all nations.  Which brings me to another point, which is that sometimes the goals God gives us may be beyond our lifetimes.  Take the end goal given to Abraham, a great nation, the Promised Land, and descendants that outnumbered the stars.  As Hebrews 11:13 points out Abraham and others “were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

The third habit is to “Put first things first” or “to prioritize.”  Our priority as Christians is obvious.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” in Matthew 6:33.  When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, the command is quite simple, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  And for a second priority, Jesus gives us Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus asks us to put these two things — love God, love your neighbor – first because he knows that with your priorities rightly focused, all other things will fall into place.  You won’t murder or steal if you love your neighbor.  You won’t worship false idols if you love God.

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