Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Called to Serve

I recently received a Merry Christmas message from Steve Rice, a friend and colleague of many years--great words for the close of this year:
Why am I doing this? We have all asked ourselves this question at some time or another in our work. It is usually at a time when things are not going well or the way we expected them. It is when morale is down and service has become a drudgery instead of a joy. We often can get lost in the myopic view of the every day and lose sight of the big picture.

So it can be helpful to stop in the 'busy'ness of service and remind ourselves why we work so hard and toil with such diligence. Why do we spend our time, our skill, our resources on projects that we may or may not see personal results from? The simple answer is we have all been called to serve.

We have been called to serve to make this world a better place. We have been called to serve our fellow men in all their plights. We have been called to serve each other and pass on to others as we have been given by those who first served us. As the old Navy ads used to say, "It's not just a job, it's an Adventure!"

As the holidays approach and we enter our busiest fundraising season of the year, it would be a good time to take a moment and remind ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. Let that vision of the results of service be your inspiration. Let it encourage you to deeper levels of service and commitment to your cause and give you strength and stamina for the days ahead.
You can find out more about Steve and his firm here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Being a Better Friend than Job's

Last Friday's tragedy in Newtown, CT has left a whole community (if not the country) reeling in waves of grief. How could this happen and why? Could something like this be avoided? How can we protect our children? How can we stop such violence? The onslaught of advice from experts in crime prevention, legislation, mental health, education, family counseling, medicine, religious groups and the like has been overwhelming. Most of it is well-intended and much of it can be beneficial, but could it be too much too soon? Rain is good, a torrent can be deeply damaging. This becomes clear when some use the occasion as a soap box for their social or political agenda. All kinds of issues are brought up that have little to do with the horrific circumstances. Thinking we know much more than we do, we end up sounding like Job's friends. At least they sat with Job in silence for 7 days. We could use more of that. Pause. Weep. Grieve. Listen. Lend a hand, a shoulder, a hug. Of course there is much that can and should be done in the wake of this tragedy, but we would be better off if we were "quick to listen, and slow to speak;" quick to comfort, before rushing to cure; quick to feel, before working on a fix. Perhaps in tragedies like this what is needed most from all of us is to take the time to learn how to love well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas List


Here are three simple items for my Christmas list this year:
To have more time with friends who have more faith than I do. It is wonderful to have a living,
breathing, walking example beside you as you walk through life. Faith-filled friends give a godly infection.
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3:17
Secondly, to get rid of everything doubtful in my life this year.
“Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”  2 Corinthians 7:1
I hope to avoid degrading and defiling entertainments and distractions that eat away at the life of the Spirit in me.
The third item is for mastery of my tongue.
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” 1 Peter 3:10
Here is a resolution for my kids to consider, a paraphrase of Jonathan Edwards’ statement in Religious Affections:

To maintain a conviction so clear as to induce me to venture forth with boldness, counting any problems insignificant in comparison to the joy of proclaiming Christ’s glory!