Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to think about it instead in terms of work done... We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good?”; of a man, not “what does he make?” but “what is his work worth?”; of goods, not “can we induce people to buy them? but “are they useful things well made?”; of employment, not “how much a week?” but “will it exercise my faculties to the utmost?”

Dorothy L. Sayers, essay entitled "Why Work?" in Creed or Chaos?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Leadership Tip - Fulfill Your Commitments

My mother has been very seriously ill and I'm visiting her this week. If you're inclined to pray for her, I would be appreciative. Please pray that God will restore her and sustain her faith.

I've had the opportunity to remember her advice to me when I started working. My mother never spent a day in college and worked for over 30 years as a secretary. But she gave me one of the most important pieces of advice I've ever received - "fulfill your commitments... if you say you're going to do something, make sure you do it... if you say you're going to show up with a report on Tuesday morning, make sure you actually do it".

It may seem simple to you but it's had a profound impact on the way I work and the decisions I've made along the way. It once meant turning down a very lucrative opportunity after I'd given my word to stay at my then current company. It's also meant that I've become known as someone you can count on - "someone that will get you to the finish line" especially on a challenging assignment. I have my mother to thank for that.

Fulfilling our commitments and keeping our word - that's one way we reflect God in the way we work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Do you not see that if the richer you get and the more often you go to the Cross, it will be safe for you to be trusted with wealth?   Take care to sanctify everything that God gives you by giving Him His proper portion and do not use your own portion till you have given Him His"

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Gospel and Risk Taking

Risk taking - it's exposing ourselves to the possibility of loss or injury for the sake of gaining something of great worth.

The truth is that most of us are averse to risk - we hate it, we avoid it, we mitigate against it. We do everything we can to eliminate it. "Risk avoidance" is the secret idol in the hearts of most middle class Christians, myself included. We play it safe. We're not inclined to put our 401(K) plans at risk, much less our physical well being. We're so concerned about fitting in at the workplace that we're blending into the background. No risk of us being perceived as an irrational, fanatical Christian.

Yet, God calls us to pursue him whatever the cost. In fact He demands it. He calls us to do hard things like start God-glorifying ventures, take on risky projects, write books, share the gospel with our unreceptive co-workers and impact the world around us even at the cost of our reputations, money or in extreme cases, our lives.

Because of the gospel, Christians are better positioned to take risk than anyone else - we have the least to lose and the most to gain. Here's how the apostle Paul viewed his life in terms of risk and loss -

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him...

Philippians 3:7-8

His capacity for risk taking was enhanced by two factors - counting what he had as loss and counting what he stood to gain as immeasurable treasure. May God help us do the same.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quote of the Week

Crown him the Lord of life who triumphed o'er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Matthew Bridges

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Redeeming Culture

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to attend the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) Forum hosted by the Redeemer Center for Faith & Work (CFW). CFW's mission is to promote cultural renewal through the integration of faith and work. Through the EI Forum, I had an opportunity to meet several Christian entrepreneurs, executives, financiers and artists who are seeking to make a difference through their God given gifts and talents.

The event was kicked off by Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making. His big point was simply this - you don't change culture by critiquing culture or condemning culture or consuming culture. You change culture by making culture.

Simple but profound. If you buy off on his premise, it really highlights a huge limitation with the state of Christian activism today. It would appear that a lot of energy is expended to generating more boycotts of certain companies rather than building businesses that make a positive impact. Many Christians are swept up with concern about the anti-Christian bias in media rather than about developing new creative content that reflects the glory of the Eternal God.

Creating culture, not just consuming it or condemning it - that's how culture changes.

Do you agree? Is changing culture even something Christians should be concerned with? What do you think?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Quote of the Week

Godly men exercise faith in God in their callings by trying to manifest a Christian spirit in all that they do. The spirit which actuates us may seem to be a small matter so long as we are outwardly right; but it is in reality the essence of the whole thing. Take away the flavour from the fruit, or the fragrance from the flower, and what is left? Such is correct living without the savour of grace.

CH Spurgeon 1834-1892