Chapter 7 Exercises

God Revealed . . . in the Workplace

It seems that many well-intending, practicing Christians, struggle with bringing God and their faith into the workplace. Since the early days of my career, I have spoken to God and relied upon His guidance in the workplace daily. I must somewhat ashamedly admit, however, that I was more cautious about sharing the specifics of my faith in a workplace in which I had a leadership role and my employees represented virtually every imaginable faith tradition and denomination. Nonetheless, God was with me daily and the stories of chapter 7 reflect some of the more notable examples.

Avoiding Pride

In the story “Pride and Congressional Sausage-Making,” God’s hand seemed to be guiding me to a remarkable legislative achievement that significantly benefited my company in what could only be labeled a “pork-barrel” corporate tax provision. I struggled mightily: first, with the pride of achieving such an accomplishment, and then with the guilt of doing so for my personal gain and the benefit of only one single company—my company.

– Have you felt extreme pride in some of your own accomplishments?
– Do you struggle with the biblical admonitions against the sin of pride?
– Is it a sin to feel proud of our children and of others? Is there a better way than “pride” to express this feeling?
– Can you elaborate on the Bible passages you know of that characterize pride as sin (e.g. Mark 7:20–23; Proverbs 8:13; Romans 12:3) and tell us how you would interpret them?

Trusting God in Our Failures

In what we perceive to be devastating failures, we often lament that God simply wasn’t by our side and didn’t answer our prayers. Nonetheless, we often learn much and grow immeasurably from the experiences that we call “failures.” In the story “Trusting God to See Us through Failures,” I describe one of my most disappointing work experiences—leading a dedicated team that worked tirelessly on a major project only to see it thwarted by negative legislative action in the eleventh hour. In short order, however, applying what we learned from the experience, the team executed an equally impressive completed project. I’m convinced God was indeed in both the initial failure and the ultimate success.

– Can you identify something that was very important to you, which you initially failed miserably to achieve?
– Did you believe God had abandoned you in your efforts?
– Did anything good occur as a result of your perceived failure; did you in any way realize a later benefit from the earlier experience?
– On reflection, do you see that God’s hand may have been guiding you more than you initially realized?

Touching Lives

How fitting it is to end chapter 7 and the stories of this book with an example of how our acts of kindness can so positively — even unknowingly—impact other lives. In the final story, “Impacting the Lives of Others,” I learned nearly twenty years after a presentation I had made — a presentation designed to give back to my profession—that it had resulted in the establishment of a college degree program that impacted hundreds of students’ lives. Our actions, our words, and our testimonies can powerfully touch the lives of many individuals in ways we never anticipated.

– Has anyone ever told you years later that something you once did or said had a strong positive influence on them?
– Did such an experience ever relate to expressions of your faith or actions consistent with your faith?
– Can you think of times you held back for fear of how people might respond if you proactively expressed your faith in public?
– Will you resolve to watch for opportunities to share your faith in the future and act upon them? In so doing, you will please God and positively touch many lives.

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