The Christian Public Servant – “providing influence”

providing influence3

September 12, 2017

Reading
1 Corinthians 10:33 [KJV] Even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Reflection
I am not an avid tennis fan, passionate hunter, or a proficient automobile mechanic. Yet, I know enough about each of those interest areas to carry a conversation because I chose to learn about them. I didn’t choose to learn about them because I was necessarily interested in them. I learned about them during different periods in my career as I was trying to build relationships with my supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates.

I have found that learning what is “pleasing” to someone becomes a currency that allows you into their sphere of influence. That currency leads to relationship. That relationship then allows communication and when you have communication flow, you have the ability of providing influence to the other person.

As a Christian public servant, whether you are leading a workplace effort or guiding someone towards the principles of Christ, you are providing influence. As good servant-leaders, it is not about satisfying self, but about providing influence that will lead others to success, and more importantly, a relationship with Jesus.

At work, who are you pleasing (influencing) today?

PRAYER
Father, use me as an instrument of change, as an instrument of influence, and as an instrument of Your grace. Lead me with Your wisdom to opportunities of service this day. In Jesus’ name, I pray! Amen.

Pastor Bill Dudley
Logistician
U.S. Department of Defense
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA

The Christian Public Servant – “may not return home tonight”

hurricane3

September 11, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Mark 4:39 [KJV] And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

John 15:13 [KJV] Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Reflection
Most of us go to work without having to put our lives on the line. Sure, you and I are servants to God in our own workplaces and, as such, are Christian public servants. Yet there are some who go to work for God and know they may not return home tonight.

First responders, across the world, work in danger to save others. They do so amid disasters – earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, and the like. First responders understand they may not return home tonight. They recognize the stakes and still accept the responsibilities.

As you drive to work today, remember the first responders in your community. They exemplify the role played in God’s plan. They accept the chance of death when the winds are not yet rebuked and the seas are not yet peaceful. They are God’s hands and feet in creating calm during and after the disaster. They do so knowing they may not return home tonight.

Each workplace is unique, and each Christian worker follows the plan of God. Yet some follow Him knowing they may not return home tonight. At work today, find one to thank.

Prayer
Father God, thank You for inspiring those who risk everything for others. Let them all return home tonight. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “walk in God’s steps”

God's steps1

September 8, 2017 – Friday

Reading
Ecclesiastes 7:8 [KJV] Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Reflection
When I work the row as a runner, it is easy to become proud in spirit. After all, I am the only one out of his cell. Everyone else is stuck in a 5’ x 8’ confinement 23 hours a day where it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. So, it’s great to be able to exercise a little as I walk, to stretch without hitting the walls, and to just be “out.” Plus, the brothers depend on me to bring them ice in the summer and to heat up drinks in the winter. Yes, when I am a runner, it is easy to believe I am important. Very important. It is easy to become proud in the spirit where I work – as I skip to my own steps.

But scripture reminds us it is better to walk in God’s steps than it is to walk in our own. When we go by our own steps, we become prideful. This leads to saying or doing something hurtful, and that turns others from Jesus. But when we walk in God’s steps, we become patient in spirit. We wait for God to show us where the next step goes.

When you are at work today, will you be arrogant or will you be patient? Will you think only of the beginning, or will you think about the end?

Will you walk in your steps, or will you walk in God’s steps?

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray. Thank You for every step you bless me with today. Let me be ever patient and wait on Your steps. 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 – “Christian ways to help the team”

Teamwork1

September 7, 2017 – Thursday

Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:14(b)-15 [ERV] warn those who will not work. Encourage those who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people.

Reflection
A friend called last night. She was having difficulties at work earlier in the day. Her team was given a task to be completed by the time they went home. The team agreed on the outcome, but it was hard to gain consensus on how to complete the project. You see, everyone had their own way of doing things, and the team found it hard to agree on which approach to take. For a while, the team wasn’t much of a team.

Scripture says a lot about teamwork. How to be supportive, and how to be nurturing. It even gives guidance on how to be corrective. Patience is key in finding Christian ways to help the team. Not that you should do someone’s job along with your own, but God can guide you in warning those who are not pulling their weight.

While it’s easy to get frustrated, my friend took a deep breath and remembered scripture. Then she prayed. She got the team to focus on the goal and the outcome of the project. She got the team to focus on what completing the project would mean to the people they were helping. She found Christian ways to help the team. Everyone had input, and everyone accepted specific tasks. And the project was completed well before the end of the day!

As you go to work today, remember it takes more than “just” prayer. It takes more than “just” scripture. You must find Christian ways to help the team complete projects. And finding His way to task completion is just as close as prayer and scripture!

Now, go do good for each other and for the people you serve.

Prayer
Dear Father, as I go about my workday, help me work in harmony with others and in harmony with You. I give You praise, Father, in all the accomplishments of the day. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Arnekeya Fisher-Coleman
Client Benefit Specialist
CANOPY Children’s Solutions
Jackson, Mississippi USA
and MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “accomplishments sought for envy”

jealosy1

September 6, 2017 – Wednesday

Reading
Ecclesiastes 4:4 [NIV] And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Matthew 5:16 [NIV] let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Reflection
I once worked at a gambling casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi. There, the unofficial policy was to reward higher performance appraisal scores to employees willing to give more than what they receive from the company. Sacrifice was an important attribute. But once proving your willingness to sacrifice, it became easier to move up the ladder of success.

So, I tried my best to sacrifice, mainly because I was as desperate as anyone else to keep a job. Yet when I succeeded, I found a larger problem: I was despised by coworkers I jumped ahead of; and the few who were once my bosses, well, they hated me when I became their boss.

Do you work in an environment like I once did? Where employees are “asked” to do all sorts of things – take odd shifts or work fewer hours – and not complain, just to show they are team players? Is there jealousy of those who do better in that kind of rat-race?

Scripture says accomplishments sought for envy are meaningless in His eyes. Good performance is important, yes, but in glorifying God (even in a casino workplace like mine), good deeds will not be done for greed or from ambition. Instead, shine your light, letting all coworkers know your relationship with Christ is far more important than what you sacrifice to an employer. If not that way, you are just chasing after the wind.

As you work today, remember Who you work for. Don’t choose accomplishments sought for envy. Show your good deeds in the proper light, His light, and others will not resent you.

Prayer
Lord, You are the light that shines within me. Thank you for the lessons you provide about desperation and greed. Allow me to be Your servant because, within Your love, I will never be desperate – I will never be greedy, and I will never envy. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Calvin Reed, Jr.
MPA Candidate
Belhaven University
Jackson, Mississippi USA

The Christian Public Servant – “as bad as the bully”

workplace bullying1

September 5, 2017 – Tuesday

Reading
Proverbs 14:29, 33 [NIV] Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly… Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be know.

Reflection
A friend works in a dreadful environment. Her supervisor is a bully, and she is his current target. The stress. The fear. Constant tension. All that plays against her patience and wisdom.

Sadly, there are many workplaces captured by bullies. Oppression. Yelling. Ridiculing. Threatening. That kind of workplace culture requires tremendous patience because it’s all too easy to allow fear to turn into outrage and stress to turn into retaliation. If you don’t watch it, you can become as bad as the bully.

Like my friend, if you work in such an environment, you need a calm heart and a steady mind to demonstrate confidence in God’s intervention. Character of confidence is a trust in God’s immediate presence in your “now,” moment by moment, from one tense situation to the next.

Do you not think Jesus sees the bully? Do you not think Jesus sees you? Have patience and wisdom in responding so He doesn’t see you being as bad as the bully.

As I told my friend, Jesus does not want victims to be hurt – physically or emotionally. They need to take appropriate steps to stop the bullying. But they also need to keep trusting in Him to combat the temptation of displaying rage for rage and matching emotion for emotion.

At work today, seek protection from the bully. And remember, be patient and wise. Know that Jesus also sees the bully, and He also sees you. Don’t let Him see you being as bad as the bully. That kind of folly does not belong in your heart.

Prayer
Lord, give me strength to be like You in all situations at work today. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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

The Christian Public Servant – “it leads to hope”

hope in suffering3

September 4, 2017 – Monday

Reading
Matthew 27:46(b) [NIV] Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Romans 5:3(b)-4 [NIV] We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Reflection
Last year I read with indifference a report about the skyrocketing price of an allergic reaction drug. Despite many people suffering because of the prohibitive cost, it was easy for me to feel indifferent since I never had an allergic reaction. Then I had a reaction to my blood pressure medicine. I spent three days in the hospital, suffering on a breathing machine.

In a world of technological marvels, it’s easy to think we should never suffer. TV commercials make it seem there is a drug for anything that ails you. No one wants to suffer, and everyone tries to avoid it. Yet scripture says suffering has a beneficial effect: it leads to hope.

As you travel to work today, pay attention to all the suffering. People limping or walking with canes along the sidewalk. That man in a wheel chair in the convenience store. Think about the suffering you don’t see. Those with families trapped by storm and water. The young coworker dying of cancer. The older lady in accounting who just lost her husband. The person down the hall with diabetes, fearing that blindness comes next.

And then think of me. I now know the suffering of those who have allergic reactions. Think of yourself: have you suffered in life? And then think of Jesus, and how His suffering gave you eternal life of no suffering.

As you go to work, remember that suffering teaches caring. Suffering leads to empathy, and empathy to love. Ultimately, it leads to hope. His hope – of never being forsaken.

Yes, it leads to hope.

Prayer
Dear Lord, forgive my indifference. On the way to work today, let me be empathic of others who suffer. Help me help those in pain. Let me learn the lessons taught in my suffering, and allow hope to spring eternal from You, oh Lord. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

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