Tag Archives: work

Who Are You Cheating?

These are the notes I am teaching from tomorrow in Sunday School Class.  Come join us in the Couples For Christ Class at Trinity UMC in Huntsville, AL.

Reference:

Andy Stanley. Choosing to Cheat. Multnomah Books 2003.

Gather:

·         Come up with a working definition of “cheating”.

·         Do you work to support your family or your ego? Perhaps some of both?

o   Has your focus shifted with time? If so, how?

o   Are you prone to leverage the pressures and responsibilities of work as an excuse to spend more time there?

o   If you knew you were going to fail either at home or at work, where would you choose to fail? Would your spouse agree with the way you answered that question?

Warm up:

Everybody Cheats

 

The tension we feel between work and family is complicated by the fact that most of us love what we do at work and we love being with our families at home.  On top of that, both are ordained by God!  Who gets top billing?

 

Work:

·         We typically have more to do than we can ever hope of getting done.

·         There are always loose ends

o   Phone calls and emails that didn’t get returned

o   Meetings that were cut short or skipped

o   People that deserved and didn’t get my undivided attention

·         If you stayed at work until everything was finished…if you took advantage of every opportunity that came your way…if you sought out every angle to maximize your abilities,  improve your skills, and advance your career…Would you ever leave work?

 

Family:

·         Have your kids ever looked at you and said, “Hey Dad, We’ve played enough.  Why don’t you go back in the house and see if you can get some work done.”?

·         Has your spouse ever complained about you coming home early?

·         If you stayed at home until every ounce of affection was poured out in all the appropriate places…if you kept giving until every emotional need was met (every love tank filled)…if you did every chore, finished the honey-do list, and did everything necessary to ensure that everyone felt loved…Would you ever leave home?

 

Creating a healthy family environment is difficult because of the inherent selfishness of each family member.  Creating a successful career is difficult because of the competition in the market place.  Either one of these environments or the struggles related to both could consume our undivided attention.  We don’t have the luxury of allocating all of time to one or the other. So, we are forced to wrestle with the conflict.

Our knee-jerk reaction to this dilemma is to answer the call of the squeakiest wheel.  We run from fire to fire, troubleshooting our way through life, rescuing the needy and rewarding those who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.  Over time, our families learn that the only way to get our attention is to create a crisis.

Heavy Lifting:

 

Role of Work vs. Role of Family    

 

Role of Work: (Discussed in Lesson #1 of this series.) 

·         Refer to Genesis 2:15.  God created us to work!  Before there was a family to support, God put Adam to work.

·         Today, men and women get up at the crack of dawn to plow their vocational fields in order to produce a crop.

·         Work is task-focused. 

·         We tend to find our worth through accomplishment.

·         Rewards are tangible, progress is measurable, accolades are notable

 

Role of Family:

·         The family is relationship focused.

·         We find our value simply by who our relatives are.

·         Family is about “be-ing”

·         Rewards are intangible, progress is subtle, seldom given accolades

 

At work, I am expected to show up and produce.  My family is just happy if I just show up.

 

Taking your task oriented focus into the home causes things to fall apart.  Can you “fix” your family? Can you “fix” your marriage? Can you “fix” your kids?

 

You do your job.  You love your family.  If when we reverse the order that the tension escalates and the tug-of-war begins.

 

How many of us have taken the “good intention alibi” into the spiritual realm?  Do you strike a deal with God and pray the following prayer when you get extra busy or are having to travel a lot?

 

Lord, you know my heart.  You know how badly I want to spend more time with my family.  So while I’m away, please watch over and protect them.  Please fill the void that I have left while I am away.  Lord, You understand my love for them; help them to understand as well.

 

If you are expecting God to do you job for you while you do a job for somebody else, you have made an arrangement with God.  What is wrong with that?

 

1.      We are assuming that God could not just as easily fill the void at work as He could the void at home.

2.      We are asking God to fill a gap that only we can fill while we scurry off to do a job that a thousand other people could do.

 

We might as well pray

 

Dear God, You do what only I can do while I go do what many others could do just as well or better.

                                    

As a counselor, Andy Stanley states that he has never talked to an adult who reported that while growing up his father worked all the time, but God filled the gaps and there was no residual relational or emotional damage.  He has never talked to a mom who reported that her husband neglected his family for the sake of his career, but fortunately God filled in the void, and everything was fine?

 

If we can’t expect God to cover for us in a way that protects our families from the residual effects of our misprioritization, then what are we to do?

 

The answer is simple.  But it is simple in the way that telling a smoker the solution to their addiction is to stop smoking.

 

Cool down: 

 

Holding the Rock

 

Everybody is willing to be “understanding” when a loved one needs to cheat a little.  Why do they accept it? Easy, because they love us.

 

(Parable)

 

Your mental willingness was overcome by your physical and emotional exhaustion.

 

·         When we ask our husbands and wives to carry our load as well as theirs, it is like handing them the rock.

·         When we are absent at critical junctures in family life, they are left holding the rock.

·         When we find ourselves pointing to the future to somehow make up for the past and present, they are holding the rock.

·         When we assure our families that things are going to change and they don’t, they are holding the rock.

 

When the rock drops, it usually shatters into a million pieces.  The grip on the rock usually fails on something that seems to trivial.

 

What does your family want from you more than anything else?  Love, you say.  Yes, but it goes deeper than that.  They want to feel like they are your priority.

 

The problem is, you love your family in your heart, but you don’t love them in your schedule.  And they can’t see your heart.

 

Our family’s willingness to hold the rock for us is born out of their desire to please us. Part of their reason for wanting to please us is that in pleasing us they hope to gain what they value most, our acceptance.

Whenever you compromise – or cheat – the interests of a family member in order to fill gaps somewhere else, you shuffle your priorities.  Loyalty that was intended for a loved one gets displaced and given to someone else.  However small, it increases the emotional load they must carry.  It may not seem like a big deal.  But it sends the message: You’re important…but right now something else is more important.  When we take advantage of their willingness to support our dysfunctional schedules and misprioritization, we send a message of rejection.

 

And our actions speak louder than our intentions.

 

Assignment

 

This week try both of the following:

·         Spend intentional time with your spouse.  Really inquire about them and what they think. Taking time to figure a woman out makes her feel valued.  (Guys, this is why girls love the book/movie Twilight).  Ask your spouse if you (collective) are ok?  Ask if they feel like they are hold a rock in certain areas.  Be honest and explore this.

·         While tucking your kids into bed, as the following series of questions:

o   Is everything okay in your heart?

o   Did anyone hurt your feelings today?

o   Are you mad at anyone?

o   Did anyone break a promise to you?

o   Is there anything I can do for you?

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The Boss

These are the notes I will be using for the Sunday School Lesson tomorrow.  I am doing a four part series on When Work and Family Collide.  I am feeling pretty convicted on this subject right now since I am traveling a lot and missing some of the things going on at home.

References:

Andy Stanley, Northpoint Podcast “Taking Care of Business, Part 1: Meet the Boss”

Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat – Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?. Multnomah Books.  2003.

 

Gather:

·         Describe your first job.

·         Describe the worst job you ever had – what made it “that bad”?

·         Describe the best job you ever had – what made it “that good”?

Warm up:

·         How do we view work?  What are the important elements of your “job”?

 

·         How does God view work?  (Genesis 2:8,15)

o   Work for man was not a product of The Fall.  It existed prior to The Fall.

o   When God had everything perfect, 1st thing he did for man was put him to work.

o   When earth was perfect, mankind (the image of God) was working – as a gardener.

o   God loves it when we work!

 

We tend to place more emphasis on the “where” and “how much” aspects, while God just wants to see us work – where we are, whatever you do.

 

Heavy Lifting:

 

Paul addresses work in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 3:22-4:1).

 

·         Who does God address first?  —–Slaves

o   Colossians 3:22 – “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

o   Basically tells the slaves to be the best slave you can possibly be and work as if they are working for the Lord.

·         Who does God address last?  —–Masters

o   Colossians 4:1 – “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven”

o   Basically tells the Masters to be fair and good to their slaves because they too have a Master over them.

·         In between these two, he addresses us.  In reality, aren’t we all somewhere between Masters and Slaves in our jobs?

o   Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”

§  “Whatever” is significant.  It means what you are doing right now – not your dream job, not when you get to start your own business, not after that promotion you think you deserve, not once I get to leave my job and work in the home raising my kids.

§  We want to raise our hands and ask for a pass – Look at what I do, God?  “All my heart”?  Come on, All I do is ______.  The people above me don’t put their heart into it, why should I? 

o   Colossians 3:23 continued – “As working for the Lord, not for man”

§  What does “working for [the] man” look like?

·         Do as little as you can to get by, unless someone is watching.

·         Appear to be very busy, even if you aren’t.

·         Appear to be indispensible to the company, even if you are not.

·         Take credit for as many ideas as you can.

·         Jockey for position.

·         Look at employer as source of income and source of security.

§  This verse gives us a new standard – Do it as if you were working for God.  You are working for a big Boss in heaven, not for [the] man.

o   Colossians 3:24 – “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward”

§  Paul pulls us into a broader context.  As Christians, you will give an account for every single part of your life to the Lord.  We are rewarded for all parts.  We want to say, “I will put my whole heart into my family, worship, friendships, … but work?  All I do is ______.”

§  God does not compartmentalize!

§  In heaven (when God makes all things perfect again – like it was in Eden) we will have jobs.  We will work.

§  God is interested in our work.  He wants to know who the faithful workers are that can be trusted with greater accountability later on.

§  WHAT YOU DO IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU DO IT!

·         We focus on what and where

·         God focuses on how and your diligence.

o   Colossians 3:24 continued – “It is the Lord Christ you are serving”

§  Pretty blunt for those that haven’t understood the message yet.

§  We serve Christ in the job market, career, homemaking, WHATEVER.

 

Cool down:  4 Statements –

 

1.      Your work has eternal implications even if it appears it doesn’t have any eternal significant.

·         Everything has eternal significant – even though your “product” does determine eternity.

·         If I were a doctor, pastor, missionary, … 

·         God loves to see you work.

 

2.      How you perform at work is as important as where you work.

·         This should be a very liberating statement.  Is it?

·         We are all focused on the “where” – we all have friends with better jobs, higher paying jobs, … the grass is always greener.

·         God doesn’t mind you asking for a better job, but what about NOW.

 

3.      How you perform at work is as important as how you behave.

·         Have you ever run into the person at work that prides themselves on the Christianity they display, but at the same time feel like it’s ok to be a slacker.

·         Poor workmanship is never balanced out by good character.

·         “God doesn’t care about the secular world or the market place” – Yes, He does!

4.      Putting your heart into your work allows God to bless your work.

·         God does not bless disobedience.

·         God won’t give you success in areas that you are clearly violating His command.

o   Bless my marriage – Are you following the commands for marriage in the Bible?

o   Bless my finances – Are you stewarding your money according to the principles in the Bible?

o   Bless my family – Are you raising your family according to biblical standards?

o   Bless my work – When you do your job with your whole heart, as if unto the Lord, you make yourself blessable.

·         You can’t got to a job where you give half effort, ask God for something better, and expect Him to respond.

·         Invite God into the areas that you want blessed.  Think you will see a difference in the way you operate in those areas if you truly invite God in?

 

Assignment:

 

For one day this week, show up to work and work at it will all your heart, as if working for the Lord.      

 

Think through what this looks like:

·         When would you arrive?

·         How quickly would you respond?

·         How long is lunch?

·         Where would you go?

·         What does break time look like?

·         etc.

 

Try it and be ready to discuss it next week.

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Do What You Love Doesn’t Always Equal Making $

I saw Seth Godin present during a session at the Catalyst Conference last week.  I really enjoyed his blog entry this morning, so I thought I would share it with you all.

Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love

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Styrofoam Black-Market

It all started after Christmas.  I decided to start The Green Team at work to evaluate some of our corporate processes in terms of efficiency and waste.  Over the past six months we have held an e-waste pickup day and a hazardous waste pickup day – providing an opportunity for employees to finally rid there closets of old computer monitors and their garages of the quarter full paint cans.  We started recycling all of our paper products and our cardboard boxes.  And, what I thought was the most innocuous change of all, we got rid of all Styrofoam coffee cups and replaced them with nice ceramic mugs.  We have three dishwashers, so I knew we could keep them clean. They have the company logo printed on them, and I thought everyone would drink their morning coffee with pride – “I love the environment, this coffee is great, and, Man, I love my company!”  Little did I know that I had started a dark, underground foam market.

 

This afternoon I walked into the breakroom, and Rosalynn, building cleaning support, quickly crossed her arms with one hand hidden well behind her shoulder.  I asked what she was hiding (Rosalynn and I have a great relationship).  She showed me – the cup.  A single, white, immortal foam cup.  She then spilled the beans about what was going on.  When we got the ceramic mugs there was a box of Styrofoam cups left in the closet under the front stairwell.  Word got out that we still had some cups.  A few people started coming to Rosalynn to get their weekly supply of cups.  This group of five people kept their secret on the down-low for fear of ridicule from the Green Team.  It started out with a single cup in the morning that they would reuse during the day.  This got easy, so the upgraded to multiple cups a day.  Secret meetings behind the stairwell, bag handoffs in the hallway, Drop-offs in office chairs – many different ways the underground foam market propagated.  Well, the word is out – Rosalynn sang like a canary.  The underground foamers will be exposed!

 

I thought this was really funny.

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Busy Times

I’ve been very busy this past week with work and filling out a profile packet for Young Professional of the Year.  At work, I am managing numerous programs, and they all had major events in the same week (I hate it when that happens).  I am excited just to be nominated for YPOY in Huntsville.  I know some of the other nominees, and they are very talented and have done a tremendous amount for the community.  I enjoy working with these people on creating a vision for the future of Huntsville.  The application process was a fun exercise to go through – it’s always challenging to try to capture oneself on paper in an application.  The first half of the application focused on roles at work.  The second half focused on roles in the community.  After the profile was filled out it was great to take a step back and use it as a tool to assess where my priorities lie.  I highlighted my work as a technical manager at a radar hardware company, an education advocate in the community, and young adult leader in the church.  The profile illuminated one of my greatest weaknesses, which is a tendency to get involved in too many “opportunities” at the expense of my family.  I have to guard my time with the family and consider it holy.  My kids won’t ask me for an hour in my calendar – They just stare at me and watch.  I want to be the best father possible, but also want to demonstrate to them the importance of caring for your community and putting your faith into action.  This is difficult to balance at times. 

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