The Christian Public Servant – “training as continual learning”

January 31, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Proverbs 1:7 [NIV] The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Colossians 3:23 [NIV] Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

Reflection
Being part of the 21st Century workforce, we all know we need to be constantly learning and improving our skills. A lot of money is spent by organizations to ensure its employees are up-to-date with the latest in skills and technologies. Some workers embrace these needs as part of training as continual learning, while others absolutely hate going to class.

As Christian public servants, you and I should be a part of the group that sees training as continual learning. Having a healthy respect and love (fear) for the Lord, we can be open to whatever needs to be learned for the job. And this will help us to be our best at work just as scriptures require.

So today at work, if a skill needs to be learned or refreshed, just see it as training as continual learning. And view it as a requirement for your other job – being a minister at work for the Lord.

The knowledge gained about your job will permit you to give Him even more glory!

Prayer
Dear Lord, I desire to know all that You would have me know. I thank You for the knowledge You have given me and ask for Your help to continually learn more for my employer and for Your ministry in my workplace. May You keep me from being foolish and always open to Your word. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the culture of bullying”

January 30, 2017 – Monday

Reading
2 Corinthians 4:9 [NLT] We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Micah 7:8(b) [NLT] For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

Reflection
One of my on-line students lives in another country where human rights are valued, including disability rights and protection from workplace bullying. I know she is a victim of workplace bullying, and that her physician prescribes an accommodation – a service animal – to help in the healing process. And I also know the accommodation was rejected by the state agency where she works – just like previous accommodations offered by the physician. But this time she called to tell me she suffered the trauma and humiliation of being escorted out of her building by security officers – escorted out for following the instructions of her physician.

Her voice trembled with trepidation. How could an accommodation be rejected when it costs the agency “not one pfennig?” How could it happen in a nation so deeply subscribed to human rights – even in the workplace. Why did a good coworker suddenly look with blank stare – as if passing a stranger – when “the fuss started”? And “why is this happening to me?”

We both prayed – for comfort and for strength. That while this was a knock-down day, tomorrow is a rise-again day. That those who hunt or hurt cannot destroy. That God is right next to her throughout this terrible mess.

You may work in an agency steeped in the culture of bullying. Lord knows, I once did. And now, so does my student. And you may blame yourself for the bad things happening. I once did that, too. And now, so does my student.

But fault belongs elsewhere, my friend. It belongs to those who deny bullying exists and now hope you will just go away. To those who allow a bully to get away with it. To those who look the other way. To those unaware that bullies seek potential victims to control – in the workplace and elsewhere – and, once found, they do not let up until the light of day.

Today at work, you can fight the culture of bullying. And you will not sit in darkness long. For the Lord truly is your light of day. He is your only light in a place with the culture of bullying.

Prayer
Lord, where bullying exists, use me as Your beam of light. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Department of Public Policy & Administration
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “walk away to find a way”

January 27, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Hebrews 11:31 [NIV] By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

Reflection
Ever been attacked? Verbally attacked? Where you work? What did you do?

One day a young brother approached me when we were both outside in the yard. He was new to Life Row, and he was in pain – a lot of pain. He was just realizing what he had done, why he was here, and what was going to happen to him. It happens to all of us, and each brother handles it differently. This brother lost control of his feelings. For no reason on my part, he got in my face and started attacking me verbally.

What did I do?

Well, my response could either build his faith or hinder his faith. And it was important for our Lord to build his faith. And so I knew I had to receive this brother with peace despite how he chose to express his pain. I had to be more like Rahab – be obedient to God so I will not die.

You see, I had to walk away to find a way to respond to this brother in Jesus’ love. I could not do so when he was so angry, and I couldn’t trust myself to do so when I was angry from his verbal attack. So I waited. And shortly, I found a way to welcome him into our church. And soon enough, this young brother started to grow in his faith.

Today at work, you may run into someone so much in pain that he takes it out on you. Someone so frustrated, she really gets in your face. When that happens, do not be disobedient. Just walk away to find a way to receive that coworker in peace.

Yes, walk away to find a way to be obedient to God – just like Rahab.

And just like Rahab, you will not die.

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for pouring Your love into me so I can pour it onto others – especially when pain overwhelms them. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “using only one ear rather than two”

January 26, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
Proverbs 17:27[NCV] The wise say very little, and those with understanding stay calm.

Reflection
My grandmother used to say, “God gave you two ears with which to listen and one mouth from which to speak…and you should use them in that proportion.” Growing up, I guess I talked a lot and didn’t listen nearly enough. And at the time, I didn’t realize she was planting a seed in me – to turn to God’s instruction for guidance so I would not mess up so much – like using only one ear rather than two.

As Christian public servants, people contact us because they have problems. They want someone to listen in order to get accurate information or useful guidance. And most people we serve are very nice and easy to listen to.

But there are always a few individuals who are frustrated with misinformation given by someone else not taking the time to listen. And we should expect that. I mean, wouldn’t it make you mad to be given the run-around by one or more staff members who just didn’t take the time to hear the full story?

Yes, most people you serve just want to be listened to and understood. But if you interrupt before they finish, or appear as if you have limited interest in hearing their problem, it is understandable that their anger and frustration can escalate right before your eyes. And not listening to the full story means you are using only one ear rather than two. And issues never find remedy in that manner.

Today at work, take my grandmother’s advice. Use His Word for guidance. Don’t respond using only one ear rather than two. Say little and understand more. And stay calm, knowing Jesus has your back in all situations that are surely coming your way today.

Issues never find remedy using only one ear rather than two.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You do on my behalf each and every work day. I ask, Father, that You please help me listen fully when someone comes to me with a problem so I can properly guide them. Father, help me remain calm so that even the angriest of persons see only You in my response. Yes, help me remain calm in 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 – “like spring rain and sunshine”

January 25, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Proverbs 16: 14-15 [MSG] An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives; you’re smart to steer clear of someone like that. Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine.

Reflection
Have you ever had a leader who was pushy, insensitive or often downright angry?

This type of personality may be good in the short term to motivate others to “get the job done,” but ultimately it can wreak havoc. Leaders like this tend to destroy unity and vision since their way is always “right” – and if you don’t agree, well, “there’s the door.”

Then there’s the leader who is good tempered, even keeled. He is a breath of fresh air and an anchor of stability to all those around. The office seems brighter because she encourages others to a higher standard and does all she can to help everyone succeed. The leader still holds you and me accountable, but he or she still invigorates through accountability. Yes, a good leader leads well.

Which type of leader do you have right now? Or, if you are the leader, what type of leader are you each workday?

As a Christian public servant – whether workplace leader or workplace follower – a renewal of attitude is needed every day. Be good tempered and, like spring rain and sunshine, help others grow in job and career.

Today, invigorate those with whom you work and serve. Lead or follow well. Be like spring rain and sunshine. Yes, invigorate!

Prayer
Lord Jesus, please help me reach for the higher goal of serving others before serving self – just like You did! Just like You do! In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Ronald Wilson
Development Review Coordinator
Franklin County
Town of Rocky Mount, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “just really bad company”

January 24, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
1 Corinthians 15:33 [NIV] Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Reflection
While I’ve been truly blessed to work with many wonderful people, sometimes I wasn’t so lucky. Once there was a coworker who stole my joy, my time, my passion, and even some of my money! She took things from me that I never intended to give away. And the worst part, I didn’t even notice what was happening to my own character. For I had no one to blame but myself for who I hung out with – and what the consequences would be.

It’s true, you and I are surrounded by many types of coworkers. Some with whom you have to associate, and others with whom you choose to associate. Some bring joy to your time at work, and others bring nothing but regret. And a few are just really bad company.

Today at work, choose wisely. Associate with coworkers who encourage your career-journey, love and respect you for who you are, and are dependable in completing their end of every task. Half of your career-journey is about people – not processes or product.

So at work today, don’t be misled. Stay away from those who are just really bad company.

Remember, your own character is at stake.

Prayer
Father, thank You for creating coworkers and companions. Give me decrement with whom I associate – in my work-life and in my real life. Help me take a healthy evaluation of the roles I give to those around me. Help me be grateful for the amazing people who cross my path, but give me courage to set boundaries with the ones who want to take from me. I trust You, Father, to provide me with an encouraging, motivating and reliable circle of companions. I pray these things in Your Son’s name. Amen.

Kathryn Saunders
Head Soccer Coach
Texas Southern University
Houston, Texas USA

The Christian Public Servant – “guide, advise, and watch over”

January 23, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Psalm 32:8(b) [NLT] I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Reflection
Public servants help others in many different capacities. Some are physical or mental health therapists, and others are substance abuse counselors. You might be a child welfare worker, or a teacher, or a nurse. You may serve others through working at a foundation or a charity. Or you may be a government employee. All these different pathways have one task in common — to guide, advise, and watch over others in some fashion.

I wanted to be a public servant so that I, too, could perform that task. I chose social work as a major in college and, after graduating, I entered the profession. And as I reflect on my career and life pathway, I realize the Lord has a similar task: to guide, advise, and watch over me – even before I chose my major — even before I came to know Him as Savior.

Imagine that! And now, saved, I am a Christian public servant!

As I guide, advise, and watch over those I serve, I know He is doing the same for me. His Word leads me and protects me. And through His Word, he is doing the same for those I serve.

As you guide, advise, and watch over others today, know He is doing the same for you and those you serve!

So as this workweek begins, remember that every interaction with others is an opportunity to introduce them to your Lord and His Word. To let them know how He is involved with their path, as He is with your path.

Remind all that His pathway is always the best pathway!

Prayer
Father, thank You for guiding me along the best pathway for my career and my life. I ask You to give me confidence to continue on this journey. I ask You to give me strength to seize each opportunity to introduce You and Your Word and Your pathway to those whom I serve. I am truly blessed that You still have good work to do in my life and in my work. I pray these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Greg R. Winge M.S.W.
C.S.A. Program Director
Office of Children’s Services
Franklin County
Rocky Mount, Virginia USA