Aug 24, 2020
S = Something on My Heart
See 8/16 Pastor Adam Cook message from Union Church on the Power of saying Thanks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAcuskM-0nY. I've spoken on this podcast before about the importance of being grateful to God about all of life but particularly as it relates to your heart while you're working. I've talked about how work is a gift from God, how work is so important to God that it's the first thing he did after creating Adam and Even was to give them something to do. Work is inherently good and something we should be thankful for, and not just thankful for the money that it produces, though that should be part of what we're grateful for. Pastor brought some fresh insight from his sermon that I wanted to pass along and add my own additional thoughts as well. I'll provide a link for this sermon in the show notes. First of all, Pastor Adam said that gratitude is not a one-time "Thank You" but a mindset and a way of seeing the world. Probably the most often referenced scripture about giving thanks is 1 Thess 5:16-18, in the NIV version says "Rejoice alaways, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". One thing I like about this verse is that it specifically says being thankful is God's will. I know I often struggle with wondering what God's will is for me and my life, and I think it's a good practice to particularly note verses that connect our actions to God's will. Being grateful is one of those things that you dont' just hear about in the Christian world, people with all different belief systems talk about the power of having an attitude of gratitude. You hear it in self help books, on motivational posters in the workplace, and on social media memes. If you think about it, other than thanking another person for something they've done specifically, having an overall attitude of gratitude doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you worship a God who has the abliity and has proven to have chosen to be a giver, a giver of all the good things in life. Pastor Adam suggests 2 ways we can be grateful. The first is to eliminate when/then thinking. This is all about being present and being grateful for and appreciating and enjoying where we are right now, rather than longing for something that may happen in the future, or for something we had in the past. It's easy for us to point fingers at the Children of Israel who complained about only having manna to eat int he wilderness and longing for when they were slaves in Egypt and had other food to eat. The reality is I have been guilty of this type of thinking my whole adult life to different degrees and at different times, in my personal life and my professional life. If I talked to my Mom when growing up about something that I should have done in the past or something that might have been, she would wisely respond "Oh shoulda-woulda-coulda". With my own kids, I've more often tried to pass along in a similar situation the wise advice that they should do as Boston says and "Don't Look Back". We can all think of things we don't like about our work. That's easy. What takes effort is to purposely focus on the good in our work. There's the income, of course, but there's also the feeling of satisfaction for a job well done, the opportunity to interact and collaborate with others on a common goal, the chance to sharpen our skills and get better, it provides a sense of purpose, and ig gives us unique opportunties to share our faith with others and to just love on them. Psalm 118:24, in NKJV says "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it". As my Pastor said, we should thank God not just for what He did, but for what He is doing TODAY. In John 5:17, Jesus said "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working". The 2nd suggestion Pastor Adam had for being thankful was to be the one who circles back. In Luke 17:15-18, after Jesus heals 10 lepers, "
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” I did one thing right this past year in this regard. After finishing a project, I sent out an email to each of the contractors who had done work on the project and thanked them for the work they had done. Sure, they had gotten paid for their work, and sure not everything went exactly as planned and mistakes were made, but I could not have completed the project without and I wanted to take the time to specifically thank them. Someone once said to me that it's a good idea to email a thank you after someone does something for you at work. In my Handy Tips section I've been talking about how to be more effective with the use of email, and a big part of that is not sending out too many emails. I think this is one exception, and its worth noting that you don't have to use email to say thanks you can pick up the phone. If someone regularly does helpful things for you as part of their job, you may want to occasionally thank them rather than every time they do something, and when you do so try to be specific about the work they do, noting anything that is unique about what they do and how they do it. When I sent the email to my contractors I didn't just thank them, for each of them I pointed out specific things they did that made a difference. The great thing about circling back is that it will likely make a big impact on others, because most people, like the 9 ungrateful lepers, don't do this. A few final thoughts on this issue. First, Pastor Adam said that every blessing in life that is not turned into praise is turned into pride. We could spend multiple Selah episodes talking about the danger pride and the scripture that demonstrates that Gods hates it when we're prideful. I think this point is a powerful motivator for us being thankful. Yes, being thankful is the right thing to do and will produce great fruit in our lives and the lives of others, but if we dont' do it, it can and will lead to pride will create destruction and should be avoided at all cost. Another thought I have is while we're focusing on being thankful for our work and thankful to our co-workers, remember at the end of your work day to be thankful to your wife. There's a temptation to bring our best selves to the workplace and then only bring our frustrations and judgmental attitude to our wife and kids. Whether she's out in the marketplace working or a stay-at-home Mom, our wives deserve our thanks every day and in a way that's meaningful to them. For my final thought, I heard a song by Jeremy Camp called Keep Me in the Moment on the radio today on my way home from church and I'd like to read some of the lyrics from that song.
Pretend CC doesn't exist, thing long and hard about who you're sending your email to. Why is each and every person on there. There should be a reason you can explain. I do use the CC but I'm trying not to use the CC. It's used to keep people informed, to cover our butt by making sure those cc'd know that we've done something, sometimes used to get someone in trouble or to point out to someone what someone is or is not doing. We can very easily damage relationships and trust using the CC the wrong way. Another danger of using CC is if the email turns into a back and forth, some higher upper people that you just wanted to keep informed end up being dragged through a bunch of back and forth emails that you may not be able to stop or control.