The Christian Public Servant – “notice the best”

flight attendants2

November 22, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading

I John 4:8 [NKJV] He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

I Corinthians 13:5(b) [TLB] Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy.

Reflection

About three years ago, while on a work-related flight, a very irritable passenger gave the flight attendants a tough time. To their credit, the flight attendants did not give into their emotions and were models of professionalism throughout the flight. As I reflected during a layover, I pulled out my laptop and logged onto the airline’s web page. There I wrote a compliment, naming the flight attendants and testifying in detail to their incredible skill. It only took a few minutes, but it felt right to notice the best in people doing a job well.

Since that day I make it a practice, when travelling on work, to pick the person who gives the best service and write a detailed compliment. I am never likely to see that person again, and he or she likely will not remember who I was. I do it because Jesus sees the best in me despite my sins. God has commanded me to love others as He loves me. In my work, therefore, I try to notice the best in those around me.

As a Christian public servant, choose to notice the best in those whom you serve and those with whom you serve. There will be angry citizens and rude coworkers, but there will be people who should be seen for doing their best. Choose to notice the best in others today at work, and you will see what God sees in you!

BTW, a few months after that first compliment, I was on a flight with the same attendants. When they saw my name on the manifest, they remembered me. You see, that irritable passenger had filed a complaint but my compliment had cleared them.

God is good, and it is always good to notice the best in others!

Prayer

Lord, use me today to see the good in the people around me. Help me to be a blessing to others. Let me lead a life of love and service to You in each work today. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Kevin Cooney
Visiting Professor
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Beppu, Japan

The Christian Public Servant – “need to handle it correctly”

November 21, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading

2 Timothy 2:15 [NIV] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Reflection

Don’t know why, but other interns at work will ask for my opinion. The wording of a memo or email. The logic of a presentation. Before a meeting, “How do I look?” A lot of times, I struggle between offering words of comfort and extending a word of truth. I mean, it is real hard to be the bearer of unwanted news. I want to tell the truth, but I need to handle it correctly.

Scripture calls you and me to tell the truth – even when it is awkward, our obligation does not change. Yet the truth must not humiliate. It requires finding ways to tell it in a supportive manner. And, when you need to be blunt, be concise and quietly get it over with.

Remember today at work, when you need to tell the truth – you need to handle it correctly. Especially with the coworker who asks about that tie!

Prayer

God, give me eyes, ears, and heart to handle the truth in ways that please and glorify You. Help me not to offend, but be accurate. Help me not to embarrass, but get the truth across. At work today, help me be a worthy bearer of Your Great Name. In Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Jonathan Lantz, MPA 
Intern
City of Chesapeake
Chesapeake, Virginia USA

 

The Christian Public Servant – “the sexual assault on His daughters”

sexual harassment3

November 20, 2017 – Monday

Reading

Genesis 3:16 [KJV] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

2 Chronicles 7:14 [KJV] If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Reflection

My daughter will soon be on the job market. I want to share in the excitement, but I am horrified about what may happen in her career. You see, I can’t read the news without learning of another act of sexual harassment. In my country, and yours, most sexual harassment incidents are work (power) related – either in the community (using one’s job status) or inside the agency (using the title of “supervisor”). Incidents involve appointed public and private sector officials, as well as the elected and those seeking election. And with each new story, I alternate between rage and nausea. I now fear even asking my daughter if anything has happened to her in the past.

As Christians, how do we stop the sexual assault on His daughters?

Scripture reminds us of the Fall from Grace, and how this separation from God begins our longing for the reunification with Him that will not be fulfilled in our earthly lives. In addition, this scripture introduces enmity and distrust between the genders – the creation of distance between men and women. Because of our fallen nature, spouses fight and abandon marriage, and both feel abused by the person who has promised the other to love and cherish until death.

Yet scripture also reminds us of the healing power in confession of hurt and in confession of sin. For we can’t be fully redeemed – personally, in work culture, or in national morality – until we bleed our brokenness. Earthly legalities mean nothing. Only telling the victim’s story, and the offender’s humbling response, can lead to hope of ending the enmity and distrust between the genders. It is the first needed step to eliminate the sexual assault on His daughters.

Before work today, listen with a fresh heart to the news stories told by women and girls seeking healing in this fallen world. Pray mightily for humbling responses from those engaged in the hurting. And think of ways your words and actions foster enmity and distrust. Think of your daughters and granddaughters, and envision a place without such wickedness.

From heaven, your Lord wants to hear your cries so He can heal this land. At work today, take courageous action to curtail the sexual assault on His daughters.

Prayer

God, use me this workday to heal any brokenness that exists in my relationships with those of the opposite sex. Give me courage to step up in my workplace – to support someone who is being harassed or to speak firm words of correction to someone who has crossed the line. Make me an example of Yours who acts with the highest moral standards – and allow me to begin the process of healing these broken relationships in my own life, in my workplace, and in my nation. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Mary B. Manjikian, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Associate Dean
Robertson School of Government
Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “doing what is good”

 

profit1

November 17, 2017 – Friday

Reading

Titus 3:8 [NIV] This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Reflection

The other day, I was talking to a Christian brother when a second brother walked up. This second brother does not serve God, and he knew the “old” me – let’s just say, the “old” Jimmy did not act as Christ wanted. Well, that second brother stood there, listening to the conversation, and finally he said: “I love the new Jimmy!” You see, he saw my commitment, and the commitment of my Christian brother, and profited from it. He wanted a piece of whatever we had!

As a Christian public servant, you may not realize how powerful you are. Your words and actions – doing what is good – profits not just yourself, but profits those around you. And some around you do not yet know or serve our Lord.

Today at work, stay committed to doing what is good. It may be with a coworker in the next cubicle. It may be a citizen seeking service at your desk. It may be a stranger in the elevator, or someone in the parking lot.

Remember, when you are doing what is good for the Lord, it is good for others, too. And surely, someone will profit today at work – profit more than what they can imagine!

Prayer

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. I profit from Your commitment to me. Let me do good works through Your faithfulness in me so others can also profit. 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 – “very concerned with newness”

shiny new car1

November 16, 2017 – Thursday

Reading

Revelation 21:3-5 [NIV] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Reflection

Might be my age, but seems like everyone is suddenly very concerned with newness. Driving to work, countless drivers in shiny new cars. Was it always like this? And at work, there is a new soda machine that does amazing things with a bottle of Coke. What was wrong with the old machine? When I got my car washed after work, the attendant pushed the “new car” spray. Is my car that old? And when I got home, turning on the TV, all the news reporters looked like teenagers. What happened to the older ones? Suddenly there is so much change, and everyone seems to be very concerned with newness.

This is the promise of scripture. If we are faithful, things will change – for the good and for eternity. There will be no more “tears,” “pain,” or “death.” All the “old order” will pass away, and everything will be made new. This is a hope that should drive you and me to do better – even at work – and treat everyone – especially at work – like children of God who may live in that new world. We should not care about the temporary shiny newness of today, but we must look forward to the youthful and new promise of this world’s tomorrow with Him dwelling with us.

As you drive to work today, be very concerned with newness. And remain that way while at work and after work. But do not be concerned with the earthly and quickly-fading shiny newness of our old world. No. Today, be very concerned with newness that God will bring very soon when He dwells with you.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I am glad and full of joy that I can trust in You and Your word. The thought of all things new fills me with thanksgiving and helps me look beyond today to that time I dwell with You for all time. Help me share that hope with those who desperately need it in this world so they too may cling to You as their God. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “yes be yes and no, no”

can't make decision2

November 15, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading

Revelations 3:16 [MEV] So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.

Matthew 5:37 [MEV] But let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these comes from the evil one.

Reflection

Yesterday, my supervisor just could not make a decision. We had a deadline, an important deadline, and a lot of funding was on the line. I think the pressure got to her. So, we wasted more time, almost missing the deadline, because she could not make some fundamental decisions. If you are a task-oriented person like me, you know how frustrated I got.

Scripture reminds us about not being indifferent or lukewarm. Christ tells us to be deliberate. We should never be obtuse, nor should we be too quick, when we make decisions. But God wants us to make decisions, and let our yes be yes and no, no.

Today at work, remember the decisions you make affect the lives of the citizens you serve. Not all decisions, but more decisions than you think. So be informed but not stressed. Pray to God, but listen to Him more than speaking at Him. And by all means, decide!

At work today, let your yes be yes and no, no.

Prayer

Jesus, guide me in my decisions today. Let informed choices demonstrate my commitment to You and those I serve. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Veronica Gates
MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “peace of mind and rest for body”

yoke2

November 14, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading

Matthew 11:28-30 [ESV] Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Reflection

I am so tired, I can’t stand myself. Each and every day. Always. You see, I care for my son, work a full-time job, and then work a second job – all just to make ends meet and build a future for my family. And I get so irritable – even at work – because I am so overwhelmed. I think sugar will somehow keep me going, so I eat a lot of sweets from the vending machines. It doesn’t do the trick. So, I remain like a grouchy “energizer bunny” – trying to keep going and never stop. I guess the look on my face tells coworkers to stay clear.

Are you weighed down by the many things going on in your life? Are you overly busy?

God wants you and me to come to Him. He’s waiting to give us peace of mind and rest for body. God waits for the lawyer who burns the midnight oil. He waits for the soldier who’s been standing watch for over 12 hours. God waits for the single mother who feels so overwhelmed that she cannot even play Mom. He waits for the doctor and nurse battling sickness. Yes, God is waiting for all of us to give peace of mind and rest for body.

Today at work, don’t wait any longer. Right now – as this workday begins and ends – choose God as your refuge. Surrender to His yoke. His burden is light.

Go to God. He will give you peace of mind and rest for body. He is waiting for you.

Prayer

Dear Lord, You know how tired I am. I ask You to lift the burdens of my heart. Help me decipher my priorities, and give me clear understanding when my work is done. I seek Your yoke to make my life easier. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Krystianna Carr, MPA
Human Resources Assistant
U.S. Army ROTC Program
Hampton University
Hampton, Virginia USA