Category Archives: work

Overflowing Gratitude and Joy

In a world torn apart by both natural events and social contention, offering thanks is a good place to begin healing:
Thank you for…
…Every Mom and Dad that nurtures their marriage and children.
…Every ethical business owner creating sustainable work for their employees.
…Every pastor laboring daily for the flourishing of their congregation and community.
…Every artist making the world more beautiful.
…Every aid worker and first responder in Puerto Rico, Mexico City, Texas, Florida and 100s of other locales.
…Every public official stewarding our resources well.
…Every person of conscience doing today’s work well.

Joyful today:
Today, there are public and secret baptisms with thousands declaring their faith in Christ.
Today people of all political opinions are helping millions rebuild their lives in the wake of storms.
Today, communities are rising from the ashes of generational devastation as all social sectors unite and aim for flourishing.
Today, families are welcoming children into the world.
Today, pastors are comforting the afflicted, preparing meaningful messages and leading their communities toward wholeness.
Today, millions of people of conscience are awakening to the fact that their good work – paid or unpaid, labor or leadership – is the cornerstone of a better future.
Today: grateful.

Flip the Switch: Transforming Today

2014 begins with freezing temperatures across the USA, destabilizing governments in the Middle East, mixed economic news, a gridlocked federal government, and the normal hostility of elites toward any semblance of morality and common sense. In other words, just another day in our beautiful and broken world. 

Globally and nationally the cry of the populace is simple, “We need jobs!” The desire for meaningful, sustainable work is woven in to the fabric of Creation and found in every person of conscience. In spite of stock market gains and an explosion of billionaires, most of the nation and world are not feeling hopeful. this concerns offset somewhat as we discover that abject poverty is declining at a rapid rate and millions of new enterprises are beginning every day. 
The polarized political rhetoric and the simplistic thinking of the chattering classes Left and Right is not helpful in making this next year better. It is not enough to say, “more government ‘investment’ [read here more jobs for bureaucrats]!” or “the magic of the market” [forgetting that the rule of law, access to markets and personal virtue and property rights are necessary conditions for flourishing].”
As politicians maneuver for reelection, I propose a more radical approach to our future. No, it is not a bumper-sticker or a million-person march or even an Internet petition. Let’s start a revolution of humility and service through our everyday activity. Let’s “flip the switch” in our hearts and minds and recast our work – whether paid or unpaid, public or private – as humble service to God and for the common good. 
I am not suggesting an idealistic vision that avoids the drudgery and sweat of daily labor. What I am saying is that all moral and meaningful work at its core is service and when we think this way, there is more energy and wisdom that when we just do it for the paycheck. We should agitate for safe conditions and access to markets. We must uphold personal virtue and the rule of law against amorality and anarchy. We can resist the tyranny of encroaching government by exceeding standards of conduct and creation-care. 
Every company is serving the common good when they supply good jobs. Every clerk makes a difference in serving customers that contribute their resources to the economy. Volunteers sustain our communities as they offer care and services that help people thrive, from coaches to rest homes visitation. 
For people of faith, daily work is worship, as all domains are viewed  as doxological offerings to the Lord. For people of all faiths or none, an ethos of humility and service dignifies and empowers each person and helps erode the class divisions that arrogant elites and envious masses resent so much.
Let’s transform today from the inside out. Let’s offer each person we meet love and respect. Let’s give our bosses and full day’s work and our employees the resources they need for flourishing. Together we can transcend the pundits’ polemics and make our world better one decision at a time.

Observations

Observations on a Friday:

The human condition is summed up well by watching preschool children play. One minute they are hugging, laughing and sharing…the next they are crying, pushing and refusing to share.

Federal government leaders are like dieters confronting a box of doughnuts. They know they should walk away after eating one and sharing the box, but they end up eating all of them. Restraint is not an easy virtue.

“Redefining” marriage and family does not change the empirical and intuitive truth that humans are conceived by one man and one woman and children are best served by their biological parents staying together.

Just when I am about to embrace pacifism fully, Iran, North Korea and the Taliban do or say something that awakens a sensibility that we need military force in a fallen world.

But when the noxious odor of crusading and militarism appears, I realize that I am first a citizen of God’s kingdom and must love and pray for my enemies even as nations try to resist evil.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam see the world very differently, even as they share certain monotheistic and moral concepts. Civil discourse with love and respect is a must; pretending that “they worship the same deity” is intellectually and spiritually dishonest.

Academics are a funny lot sometimes. They love to rage against capitalism while teaching in buildings funded by people that were productive and employed others…and, gasp! – made a profit.

Why do so many environmentalists express deep concern for obscure animal species while allowing the elimination of unborn humans? Conversely, good ecology is good economics…if we care for creation, it will care for our posterity.

The local church can be the incubator of spiritual and social transformation. As people connect with God and each other, they become creative and productive and the world is better.

We cannot regulate all risk out of our lives.

Warm homemade bread and butter shared with people you love is profoundly gratifying.