The Christian Public Servant – “it is ok to hate”

August 31, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
Proverbs 8:12-14 [NIV] I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.

Reflection
It is very popular today to say that we should not hate anything. As a public servant, you will certainly be told this is the way of the world. But for those in the faith – Christian public servants – this may seem counter to what your God says.

As followers, you and I must hate what our Lord hates. Evil, pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech are all worthy of our hatred – even in the workplace. To those who are being taught the new ethics of blind tolerance, this message will sound wrong. And to be clear, no one is pure evil or has only pride or arrogance or uses strictly perverse speech. So we cannot hate any one person just because of selected behaviors. But as scripture directs, it is ok to hate what God hates!

At work today, show prudence and discretion in your own behavior. Show no judgement about the person you call coworker. Show love for that person, and mean it.

But do not embrace evil behavior or pride or arrogance or perverse words. Remember, it is ok to hate what God hates!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help me love what You love and hate what You hate. Make me wise in Your ways that I may understand the difference regardless of the constant message of this world. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA
and Masters of Theology Candidate
St. Leo University
Chesapeake, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “he (or she) who is weak”

August 30, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Romans 14:1; 15:1-2 [NIV] Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters… We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Reflection
Look around your workplace. I bet you find someone who is weak. It could be he who is weak in skills – forgetting how to fix the copier when jammed or how to log-on correctly to the shared drive. It could be she whose weakness centers on integrity – not working when the boss is out of the room. It could be both of them who bend all the rules – taking an extra 10 minutes on a break or an extra 30 minutes at lunch. I know, he depends upon others to get through the day. And she is the reason there are so many rules. And both need everyone to keep them under the radar.

Do you know coworkers like them?

So how do you work with such weak people? Scripture is pretty clear. You work in peace with him. You encourage her in the faith. As a Christian public servant, you must bear both their failings — the failings of the weak. After all, you are not at work to please yourself – not if you really are a Christian public servant!

So carry to work the spiritual tools of peace and encouragement in the faith.

And use both throughout this workday to build him up – he (or she) who is weak.

Prayer
Father God, give me confidence in the Holy Spirit’s ability to deal with the weak at my workplace. My task is not to quarrel. My task is not even to judge. No. Give me strength to build him up – he (or she) who is weak. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Chaplain Chris Summers
W.C. Holman Correctional Facility
Alabama Department of Corrections
Atmore, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “that hidden snake in the grass”

August 29, 2016 – Monday

Reading
1 Samuel 16:7 [NIV] But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Reflection
Do you have an area of weakness in the workplace that you never seem able to overcome – no matter how hard you try? One of Satan’s powerful weapons is to deceive us in focusing on the symptoms of a problem and not the root cause. It’s like chopping a weed at the surface and allowing the root to remain.

For me, my weakness is public speaking. It’s an ongoing fear that, after decades, you’d think I could figure out. But I remain a work-in-progress – at least as far as my fear of speaking in front of groups.

You know, the Orthodox Church has a helpful teaching: if you have an area of weakness that you can’t solve, there is often a root of hidden sin. This all made sense to me when I realized that the source of my workplace fear is pride and the desire to always look good, please others, and be the “best.”

For me, pride is like that hidden snake in the grass – but hidden deep at the bottom of my heart. There it disguises motives and transforms itself into a misguided desire for excellence. And you know what? I have found much peace in confessing the sin of pride. It has allowed “me to be me” – accepting both my strengths and weaknesses and crushing that hidden snake in the grass – pride – when it appears.

Yes, I have found greater peace!

What about you? What are your workplace weaknesses? Interpersonal weaknesses?

Today at work, ask God to uncover that hidden snake in the grass – hidden deep at the bottom of your own heart. After all, the Lord looks not at outward appearance, but only at the heart!

Prayer
Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace and mercy. I pray You will expose and crush all the hidden snakes of sin found in my heart. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Gary Roberts, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Master of Public Administration Program
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “thriving against the wind”

August 26, 2016 – Friday

Reading
Judges 6:14 [MSG] But God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?”

Reflection
This morning I was blessed to go outside and an eagle caught my eye. There he was – flying way above me! He was thriving against the wind. I said out loud, “We are supposed to be soaring like that every day and in every circumstance.” And a brother responded, “we do!”

That brother got it. Even though both of us are on Life Row, we are thriving against the wind – striving under our own circumstances. We are in the strength our Lord gives us. And, that brother and me believe not what the judge told us, but what the Lord tells us about ourselves.

That brother and I agreed: We are Christian public servants, doing His work in this setting. And so we are thriving against the wind – no matter where we are, we save others and become bold.

Today at work, doesn’t matter what circumstances you find. Going to work and coming home, doesn’t matter what situation you are in. Doesn’t matter what others say about you. All that matters is what our Lord says about you.

So you should be thriving against the wind. Yes, at work today, He is sending you!

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for Your love for me. It gives me strength so I can thrive, no matter what my circumstances. Amen.

Jimmy Davis, Jr.
Z-557 Unit N-10
Death Row
Holman Correctional Facility
Atmore, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the only approval that really counts”

August 25, 2016 – Thursday

Reading
Galatians 1:10 [NIV] Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Reflection
Ouch! Does that verse hit you at the core?

It seems these days everyone wants to be liked. People seem to care more about friending and not offending than having a real conversation about doing the right thing for the right reasons.

You see it everywhere. You might be “friended” on Facebook until you write a comment that others don’t like. Then you’re unfriended and Twitter goes viral! And group chats suddenly cut you out because you stood up for something or someone – because it was the right thing to do.

And have you ever stood up to a department head who did not like what you said because it was not the answer he was looking for? I have, and I can tell you it is sometimes painful.

As a Christian public servant, doing the right thing for the right reason needs to be the standard – not the exception. And when it is, you are certainly winning His approval – the only approval that really counts.

Yes, today at work, as hard as it is sometimes – serve God and stop trying to please people. His really is the only approval that really counts.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me strength to deal with difficult situations. Father, I ask for Your wisdom and guidance in all that I do, so my decisions are pleasing to You – even if they are not pleasing to others. May all that I do every day glorify You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Wendy Standorf, PHR; IPMA-CP
Human Resources Director
City of West University Place
West University Place, Texas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “hear them talk”

August 24, 2016 – Wednesday

Reading
Titus 2:7(a) [NIV] In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Proverbs 13:3 [NIV] Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Reflection
In any workplace, there’s a temptation to gather around the water-cooler and talk about things unrelated to work. The game last night. That TV series. Office gossip. Many people do it while they are not even on break – you can hear them talk outside of your cubicle.

When you hear them talk, don’t fall into the trap. Don’t join in, but stay focused on your work. It’s not lunch time yet; it’s not even break time. Set an example for others. Work hard despite others. Don’t gossip with others. And do all this for His sake, not yours. Accept it with a glad heart, so that your supervisor can see the Holy Spirit working in you.

Today at work, follow the same advice Paul gave Titus. When you hear them talk, set a higher example.

Prayer
Today oh Lord, give me strength to do Your will. Give me strength to do what You expect of me. Make me diligent in my work, producing the best I can. When extra work comes my way, prevent my tongue from saying anything that is not helpful. Let me be Your example – especially when I hear them talk. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

John F. Long, Jr., ETC, USCG, RET.
Nomenclature Manager

United States Coast Guard
Baltimore, Maryland USA

The Christian Public Servant – “faithful in all He does”

August 23, 2016 – Tuesday

Reading
Psalm 33:4 [NIV] For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Galatians 6:9 [NIV] Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Reflection
I left that job. It wasn’t easy. I loved my job but the work environment was too much to take. High stress. Drama. Taking work stressors home to my family. Yes, it was too much for me.

So I put in numerous applications. I knew God has other plans for me. You see, I study His word and have faith in His word. And with each application, I prayed for God to strengthen me and to give me the ability to deal with everything.

And God provided! He gave me strength to come to work every day with a smile despite the stress. And eventually He provided me with a new job. Not an ideal job, but a new job. One without the drama and stress. And it was easy to take the job because when God opens a door, you walk through it. So while I remain unsure of where my path will take me next, I am certain God will never steer me in the wrong direction. And so far, I am loving my new job!

If you feel like it’s time to seek a new job, don’t do it on your own. Faith in God means faith in His word. Go to His word, pray about it, and see where He leads you. Do not become weary, and know He is faithful in all He does!

Prayer
Thank You for guiding me, Lord. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Help me to continue to make You the center of my journey. I work for You, Lord. Help me in doing Your will. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Logan Dickens, MPA
Special Projects Analyst
Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
Richmond, Virginia USA