The Christian Public Servant – “obligated to invest”

helping others1

February 28, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

Philippians 2:4 [ESV] Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Reflection

There was a string of neighborhood burglaries that led me to a teenage boy. He lived in the same area and, at his house, I met his grandmother. I could tell right away she was a loving and responsible lady who would do anything for this grandson without a mother and father in his life.

I learned the grandmother filed a police report back when the boy was a pre-teen. Neighborhood boys bullied and beat him because he wouldn’t join their gang. But now this boy was burglarizing homes with that gang. He will be 26 years-old when released from prison.

I still think about that boy. Who failed him? Was it the officer who downplayed the bullying? Was it school officials who permitted the bullying? Did his grandmother do enough? Is anyone mentoring him in prison? And where are his mother and father?

Scripture requires us to look after others. We simply cannot shrug our shoulders and look away. We are bound to do much more. We are obligated to invest our lives in the lives of those in need.

Your workplace may not be the same as mine, but you still must embrace every opportunity to help others. That young intern. That citizen seeking service. That silent cry for help from a coworker down the hall. What may be a small effort on your part could have a lasting impact on someone else.

Today at work, know you are obligated to invest in helping someone else. Find ways to make that investment. Not only for the sake of others, but because God obligates you to do so.

Prayer

God, please help me use Your given gifts to the benefit of others, rather than only myself. Give me patience to recognize opportunities to serve others in Your glory. Give me energy to stay invested in others so that they can succeed in Your glory, just as You have the energy to remain invested in me. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Matt Defore, MCJ
Detective
in a midsouth law enforcement agency
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

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The Christian Public Servant – “one of those days”

bad workday1

February 27, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Matthew 11:28-29[NIV] Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Philippians 4:6-7 [NIV] Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where there are too many tasks to be accomplished, and you are completely overwhelmed. Well, the other day my daughter had one of those days. Her workload was so heavy at the hospital that there was no humanly way she could care for the number of patients by herself. Yet, her boss expected all the work to be completed. My daughter became very anxious.

Then she remembered scripture about anxiety and His invitation. She started praying He would keep His promise. Eventually peace replaced her stress and the needs of her patients were met.

Scripture calls us to accept our Lord’s invitation to come to Him – especially during those times where the burden is too heavy to bear. As Christian public servants, we are not supposed to get anxious. We are to turn everything over to God, through prayer and petition, knowing He will provide. Our Lord keeps His promise – even when you’re having one of those days.

If your workload is too much today, if that deadline is unrealistic, if your organization is understaffed, if you are stressed out – remember Jesus’ invitation. And remember, He will keep His promise if you come to Him – even when you are having one of those days.

Prayer

Father God, thank You for Your rest and peace that You readily provide when I am so heavily burdened. May I always remember to come to You first in everything I do. I have faith in You keeping all promises. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Lakisha Williams, BSW
Personal Care Aid
Ability Works
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the extraordinary capacity”

toothpaste1

February 26, 2018 – Monday

Reading

Proverbs 18:21 [MSG] Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

James 3:3-5 [MSG] A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

Reflection

Sometimes I go about making a point in unusual ways to the 13-year-olds in my Sunday school class. Yesterday I handed each a paper plate with an extra-large tube of red toothpaste. You should have seen the glimmer in their eyes as I told each to squeeze all the toothpaste out onto their paper plate. They looked at each other like, “Is she really going to let us do this?” They had a grand time emptying the tubes in all sorts of stylish ways. When finished, I said, “Okay, now put all of the toothpaste back into the tube.” Their expressions changed to disbelief. They protested to their silly teacher, this was impossible!

With the room smelling from the experiment, I explained the toothpaste represented words and the tube represented their mouths. Their mouths held a bountiful supply of words, but once the words were spoken it was impossible to stuff them back inside.

Scripture reminds us that every moment of every day, you and I have a choice. We can either speak words of life or words of death. The power of the tongue is incredible! Locked within us is the extraordinary capacity to speak life to every person God puts within our path; from the clerk at the gas station to the agency manager. We have been endowed with the extraordinary capacity to speak life into other people’s lives. It’s amazing the change in energy you see come across the face of someone you’ve just spoken one kind sentence to. That is power! We can distribute self-esteem, self-confidence, energy, peace and joy as we make our way through each workday. These are things money can’t buy, but we can freely give. We can speak life into the world around us with the power of our tongue.

You may be naturally outgoing, but then again perhaps you are not. Regardless, your tongue has the same power. Find ways at work today to encourage people. You can do this with a single word or a well-thought-out compliment. It’s all about using the extraordinary capacity to speak life when and where God opens the door for you.

Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for the incredible power to speak life! Please help me to use this gift at work today in the spirit of love. Give me wisdom and compassion as I speak. Let the power of Your love empower others through my words. I ask that each thing I say and do brings honor and glory to You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Rev. Rachael Martin
Pastor of Counseling and Prayer
Restoration Church
Madison, Alabama USA

The Christian Public Servant – “for the gospel’s sake”

Jimmy Davis, Jr.

February 23, 2018 – Friday

Reading

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 [KJV] To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Reflection

At last Sunday’s service, I was really blessed by a young brother giving his testimony. He used to be a drug dealer, and then he became a drug user. But for the gospel’s sake, I never gave up on him. When he was weak, I became weak so that I might gain him. Yes, for the gospel’s sake, I spoke my life to his life when he did wrong. And now he walks with our Lord!

Everyone you meet will not yet be a Christian. Some may have stopped going to church, or may have never gone to church. Others may not know scripture or anything about Jesus. This is why scripture calls you to be like Paul – weak to gain the weak. By any and all means, saving some. And like Paul, do so for the gospel’s sake.

Today at work, remember you are Paul. You are the church. You are the Bible. There is a coworker or a citizen you serve is who is weak and in need of Christ. Be weak to gain the weak. Partake with that person, by all means, and do so for the gospel’s sake.

Sharing the Good News will be the start of a blessed weekend – for both of you!

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for loving me so I can love others – for the gospel’s sake! Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “to be a cheerful giver”

cheerful giver1

February 22, 2018 – Thursday

Reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 [NKJV] But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully, will reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Reflection

“Close enough for government work.”

Now, how often do you and I hear that! How often do we think that and do that?

I was blessed recently when a coworker did not live by that motto. I was out one day, and he spent several hours covering me for a rush project in my district. I was back in the next day, but overwhelmed with that project, and an additional rush request came in related to it. Well, this brother jumped in to help again.

Scripture reminds us to be like my coworker. He could have taken a message and just waited for my return the next day. He could have completed the tasks with the minimum effort. He could have reminded me about it, looking for pay-back or a reward. But he didn’t. His work was top quality. He gave bountifully, but not grudgingly. God blessed him with many gifts, and this coworker blessed me when he used those gifts for my benefit. He knew scripture, and he chose to be a cheerful giver.

Others may claim, “close enough for government work.” But Christian public servants know being close enough is not enough for God’s works!

At work today, give bountifully as He purposes your heart. This is what I plan to do. If we both choose to be a cheerful giver, you and I will reap bountifully!

Prayer

Jesus, I praise You for Your bountiful riches, and thank You for the many gifts You’ve given me beyond salvation. Please create a new heart in me, a soft heart, a bountiful heart, a heart that is ready and willing to give graciously of the resources You’ve given me to my coworkers and the citizens I serve. For Your glory, I do and I pray. Amen.

Doug Meyer
District Engineer
Office of Drinking Water
Virginia Department of Health
Richmond, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “the truest kind of love”

agape love1

February 21, 2018 – Wednesday

Reading

1 Peter 4:8 [NIV] Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Reflection

Because of Valentine’s Day, or perhaps because of the marketing of candy and flowers, people seem to think of love (and those they love) throughout this month. Go into any supermarket, and you still see candy, flowers, and balloons – all reminding us of love. This is nice, but do we ever stop to think of what it truly means to love?

Scripture tells us to love each other above all else, and yet this world gives us such poor examples of love – artificial examples of how to love. Spiritually, these examples do not reflect true love and, because of that, they tend to lead only to spiritual misery and spiritual death.

Fortunately, the One came to show us the truest kind of love. Jesus showed us Godly all-encompassing love – agape love – love so pure, it can never be paid back. When Jesus saw people hurting, he loved them and brought about healing and restitution. He loved us all so much he died to free us from the sinful lives we were all born into. To sacrifice for another and not ask for repayment – He showed us that this is the truest kind of love.

One would think His modern followers would be willing to do the same for others. Sadly, we tend to follow the world’s examples of love which only leaves us feeling hollow.

You know, you can show agape love – Godly love that cannot be repaid – the truest kind of love. You can show this kind of love – even in your workplace. Care deeply for the coworker next to you. Love deeply your adversary in the budget meeting. Let your love cover the manager’s “multitude of sins.”

Yes, this is the so-called month of love. At work today, follow Him and show the truest kind of love to one and all.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son to die for me. I thank You for showing me, throughout your life, agape love – Godly love that can never be repaid. May I love others with Your all-encompassing love and may that love move me to help someone just as Jesus did and does. May I learn and practice the truest kind of love. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “compassion and forgiveness”

forgiveness5

February 20, 2018 – Tuesday

Reading

Galatians 6:1-2 [NIV] Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you may also be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Matthew 6:12 [NIV] Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Reflection

Have you ever worked with “that” model employee? You know, the one who is the consummate professional, shows up early each day, never complains, gets her own work done ahead of time, helps others complete their tasks, and even volunteers for extra duties or assignments? Do you ever wonder what makes that coworker tick?

I once worked with that model employee. She was a wonderful to be around, and fun to work with. Yet, one day I observed her taking money from the office snack room – yes, stealing money. As I struggled to think how I should react, I determined I needed to confront her.

In a private setting with our supervisor as a witness, I told this person what I saw her do with the money. She immediately admitted to her offense. With tears in her eyes, she told us that her husband had abandoned her and her three children. While she knew it was wrong to take the money, she took the money just to be able to buy food for her children. Well, in a great move of compassion and forgiveness, my boss first gave her the opportunity to return the money and then followed up by giving her $50 to help her in her time of need!

As humans, we often are quick to jump to judgment and condemnation every time someone makes a mistake. Yet Jesus tells us to have compassion and forgiveness. Scripture calls us to forgive and gently help to restore the person who has done wrong to a place of peace.

Today at work, before passing judgment, remember that every coworker is going through different challenges in life. Be encouraging and take the time to show genuine interest in their lives. Your interest could save a person from sin or help make his or her life better even in a small way.

If someone in your workplace fails today, will you show compassion and forgiveness?

Prayer

Lord, today at work, please help me be kind to others when they sin. Help me be forgiving and help to restore them as You restore me. Help me assist them with their burdens. Ultimately, use me as Your beacon of light to lead others to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Reagan Hinton, M.A.
International Justice Mission
Gulu, Uganda