day 2589: No Favorites
“…You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites.”
It is Valentine’s Day and if it was a normal Valentines we would be seeing (and eating) those cute little heart candies that have sweet words on them like, “You are my favorite”. But, not this year as the company that makes those hit tough times, looked like they were going to go out of business, got bought by a private equity firm and by the time the transaction was over and the company was reestablished, they missed Valentines. And, we the consumer, moved on. And how many people will actually say they missed a “heart” beat? That is the way of the world with our customers. If we don’t deliver, then there are no favorites, just another company or product waiting in line for us to try next.
God also does not play favorites, and that is good not bad. What God tells us is that regardless of what we do, where we are from, what our experiences have been that He loves us equally the same like every other person. He doesn’t play favorites like so many around us in our workplace do each and every day. If He doesn’t play favorites with us, then let’s try and be a little more like Him today and make everyone feel favor and love from us today.
Reference: Matthew 22:16 (New Living Translation)
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day 2588: Treadmilling
“Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”
As a runner, I’m struggling to understand how companies think they can make treadmill running fun, but it looks like they are. The fitness chain Equinox is having so much success with their “Precision Run” classes that they are trying out dedicated locations just for treadmill running, interactive running classes, etc. At the same time, Peloton, has introduced their new treadmill and have high hopes that they will sell as strongly as their stationary bikes have sold. What both companies are doing is trying to take something that is typically pretty boring and a secondary choice to outside or track running. If Equinox and Peleton succeed then we ought to recognize that anything that is boring or dreaded can be made to be fun and compelling. If not, then we will continue to just feel like we are stuck on the same old treadmill.
What is boring is typically what we just don’t want to do. But, when we want to do something we get excited! Jesus asks us, like He was told by the leper, if we are willing and if we want to follow Him? When we do, God removes us from the treadmill of life that takes us nowhere and instead places us on a track that can bring us closer and closer to Him. Today it might feel like a slow, boring, never going anywhere treadmill, but maybe we aren’t thinking about our work and life in the right way. If He is our savior, Lord and coach, then every step we make towards Him, fast or slow, long or short, is a step He wants us to keep taking over and over and over.
Reference: Matthew 8:3 (New Living Translation)
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day 2587: Percentage Of What?
“Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.”
I read some statistics in Business Week that the percentage of the U.S. Federal Government spending on salaries of federal workers fell to 6.4% of GDP in the third quarter of 2018. That was below the average that was 10.1% in the 80’s and 14.8% in the 50’s. On the surface that looks like greater productivity and a good thing. But, when you get under the numbers the spending has nearly doubled since 1984, and the lower percentages is because the GDP has grown so significantly in the same period. Is that good news, or bad? Well, it’s all in how you want to interpret what is too large of a percentage of what? We run into this problem all the time with growth in our businesses. Spending as an absolute is up, but as a percentage of sales or growth it is flat or down. How we see the glass is always situational but the most important thing we can do is to be sure we zoom out, take the long view from the past to where we are now in order to contextualize whatever it is that we are doing as a percentage of what we have still in front of us.
This past weekend, Luis Menjivar, an Associate Pastor at our church reminded us in his message that Jesus never played the percentage game. Like He did with His disciples, He accepted them all, even when He knew that 8.33% of the team was going to betray Him and hatch the plot that would bring Him to His earthly death. Just as God doesn’t turn His back on us as He measure what percentage of people follow Him, He also accepts that as much as we may want to give all that we have to Him, we will always come up short. It’s been said that God grieves for those who are His creations who decide to not follow Him. As it would any parent, to have our children turn their back on what is right, there would be that pain. But, our God is pure love and instead of punishing us for not giving 100% to Him all the time, He loves us for what we are trying to give and always wants to be there 100% for us! That is a wonderful percentage!
Reference John 6:70 (New Living Translation)
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day 2586: Prorogue
“You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
Prorogue. I’d never heard of the word. You may have never either, unless you are British and are familiar with Great Britain’s deep constitutional matters. A Prorogue has not been used in centuries, but this past week it was in the news. A British Parliament lawmaker suggested that if the Brexit negotiations could not be completed in a timely and successful manner that the Queen use her royal prerogative and adjourn the current Parliament, thereby allowing her involvement to make what decisions that need to be made. I doubt we will see this Prorogue for the same reason we just don’t go around our companies disbanding teams, exiting large groups of decision makers and taking over as if we are the only ones in control. It just doesn’t work that way, however there might be people in the organization who fear that it just might happen. We have begun to see surprise layoff announcements. Those put people (inside and outside of the company affected) on edge. I don’t know, no one does, but if we begin to drift back into a place where instead of high confidence in the job market, worries and fears start to creep in, we are going to have to exercise new muscles of settling people and convincing them that a company Prorogue isn’t in the making.
I know that before I can be a peacemaker, that I must be at peace. I know that before we can sing in harmony, we need to be on key. In our workplaces one of our roles as believers has to be that we are willing to be the peacemakers. It is the way of our Lord. But to do that, to be led to do that, we must be at peace ourselves. In Isaiah we learn that we can be kept in peace if we trust and keep ourselves fixed on Christ. If we aren’t at peace today, then it could be that our focus and thoughts are in the wrong place.
Reference: Isaiah 26:3 (New Living Translation)
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day 2585: Putting The Band Back Together
“Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark.”
I’m working with a new startup that I am so excited about. It will soon be announced and come out of stealth mode. It is something I’ve been wanting to see tackled for a long time. So, it’s all good and energizing. But, what is best of all is that there is a group of us who have known each other for a long time, some of us worked together back last century and the new people in are connected to one of us in some similar way. What it feels like is that we’ve brought the band back together. I’ve been catching up on the Oscar nominations and saw “Bohemian Rhapsody”. When Queen broke up and then came back together for the Live Aid concert (yes, I remember watching it live) it was as if they never missed a beat or a day together. If you notice in the movie they referred to themselves as a family first and a band second. There is a lesson in there that those who consider themselves family and friends first become the band that might not be able to be broken. And when they do, if they come back together, then they pick the beat right up. It should make us evaluate are we trying to build bands or something deeper that then turns into the band?
Barnabas was ready to go with Paul and he wanted to bring John Mark along. He was putting the band back together. Paul didn’t end up seeing it the same way, but Barnabas saw past whatever lack of loyalty that Paul felt and paired back up with John Mark and went on to do amazing things. We have brothers and sisters in the Lord who we work with. We won’t always see eye to eye and we might go through phases of not getting along or working as closely, but if we allow God to move first within us, then we will always come back to a beat that is within us that wants to have the band play for glory of God. So, let’s stay close to our sisters and brothers today as we go through our work time. God wants to do something amazing with you and them.
Reference: Acts 15:37 (New Living Translation)
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