Discussing ministry in the workplace – “Whatever your passion is, that’s your vision”

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Off the beaten track

My husband had to be at church early last weekend and as it was the most beautiful cool crisp and clear winter’s day, with the sun shining, I asked my husband to drop me off at a park nearby so I could go in search of a Flame Robin I’d seen there a year before.  My plan was to walk to the church after about a half hour or so of photography.

I was not only rewarded with seeing the robin and his new family but also some sacred ibis in flight and a swan and its mate and their three cygnets.  Plus beautiful views in the park throughout.

I trod along the paths that were set there for everyone to walk on, but I only got to see most of the ‘treats’ by treading off the beaten path.  I thought about that as I walked along and felt that God was speaking to me once again.  It was almost like I could hear His voice in my head telling me that it was ok to go ‘off the beaten track’.

Often when we talk about going off the beaten track it can mean people going astray or as we say ‘going off track’ but in this case I believe God meant that by not following the world, but by following Him we are moving ‘off the beaten track’. There are times when we will do things that seem averse to the way of the world and what is commonly accepted practice.  As Christians we are expected to shine a light and be aware that our actions are always on display.  Instead of travelling on ‘the beaten track’ we are to follow the path that Jesus led which was very much off the beaten track.

As I walked off the beaten track last Sunday in the park I was delighted with things I would not have seen had I stayed on the track. Two of those items are pictured below.

Are you travelling the path that God would have you travel or are you travelling the one that the world would have you travel?
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This Flame Robin could not be seen from the path I was walking on, it wasn’t until after I’d left the path and ventured towards a fence that I saw the robin on the ground beyond the fence.

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This family of swans were hiding in the reeds and it wasn’t until I drew closer to the water that they moved out so I could see them.  Had I stayed on the path up the hill I would not have seen them at all – or only specks in the distance.

Isaiah 42:16 … along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

A recent discussion with my husband made me realise just how much people who work behind the scenes are not recognised or even ‘seen’.  And there are times when they do need to be acknowledged, especially at times they are hurting.

We’d been having a discussion with our Pastor and his wife about a family matter and they were asking about things they knew I’d been doing (my new book being one of those things) but they didn’t have a point of reference for asking my husband about things he does.  They did ask about his job but because it’s very ‘techy’ it tends to go over most people’s heads.

I’m very proud of my husband and although I don’t understand all the technical aspects of all he does I do appreciate and understand that there is a lot that people all over our country use online and via phone which my husband plays a part in making sure works properly.

At church once again my husband is someone who works behind the scenes. He operates a TV camera on roster or works the CCU (Camera Control Unit) which is completely outside of the auditorium and not visible to anyone in the church. There he monitors the camera activity on 4 screens and has a big panel board of switches and controls, ensuring that the services are being recorded to DVD with correct lighting, sound and other aspects of recording.

What he does is important to the end result of being able to produce a DVD and down loadable video from the church website so that those who could not attend the services for whatever reason can still watch the services from their computers at home or work.

Whilst it’s important we don’t blow up the importance of who we are and what we do, the reality is there are always going to be people in the front line who are visible to the public and get a large portion of acknowledgement for what they do.  We need to remember though, those who work behind the ‘front line’ and frequently ‘behind the scenes’ and are not visible but all the same still very important, so that the whole picture of what takes place is seen and appreciated.

In Corinthians 12:12-31 we are told about how we’re all part of one body made up of many parts. And that no one part is more important than the other. Think about how our eyes and ears and mouth are more visible to others and that many pay attention to how we look or use those visible portions of our bodies. But what about our mind, our hearts, and those internal organs that are not visible but just as important and possibly even more so, in order for us to operate?  Often people are assessed on ‘face value’ at first meeting and it’s often not till a relationship has been developed over a period of time that the lesser seen aspects of someone (their heart, their mind, etc) become something more visible to the unseen eye.

At our church they have a monthly event called ‘unsung heroes’ where they do applaud those who work behind the scenes in the church and make sure those who are usually invisible to the congregation at large are recognised for the part they play in helping our church to run smoothly.

Have you considered who are ‘behind the scenes’ and are ‘unsung heroes’ at your church, or your workplace or even perhaps amongst your friends and family?  These people don’t seek the limelight but deserve to be recognised, and particularly if it’s at a time when something has happened in their lives and they need extra special care.  Why not think about that today and pay someone some special attention just because of who they are?

Our senior pastor has been preaching a series on ‘church without walls’ but I hadn’t thought about it a great deal in my own daily activities.   I had thought about it with respect to reaching out to local community and outside of our church building but let me explain what I mean.

Recently some friends of ours at church were unwell and the wife had been in hospital.  I received a call from our church office asking if I’d be willing to make a meal for their family.  I accepted quickly and was delighted I’d been asked.  Whilst I’ve been involved in leadership and departmental activities I’d never been asked to take on a pastoral role like this one before and I was thrilled at the prospect.  Such a simple thing to do but it means so much to those who have need.   For me it was a short-term commitment and because I was home and available, it was easy to organise.

When I delivered the meal I didn’t want to stay long and intrude on the family but I was invited in to chat with the husband and wife for a time. They were delighted to see me and very grateful for what I’d brought them.  They asked me how my business was going and I told them about some recent events that had taken place.  And then Janet said something that I later repeated to my husband and didn’t fully comprehend until I said it.  She said ‘Some women return home to escape from the outside world.  You returned home to reach the world’.

Graham and I discussed this and he said he felt that Janet often had very insightful comments.   It is true that through my business, my writings and through speaking at churches and seminars that I have reached many, many people and yet that had not been my goal or my intention when I first came back home to work over 14 years ago.  I was fed up with the corporate world and was anxious to be home for our 5 daughters.  But God turned that into something far beyond my dreams.  All those years of experience, trial and tribulation have brought with it lessons I can share with others.

As mentioned above, our senior pastor has been preaching a series on ‘church without walls’ and I can truly say that through my working at home, and in sharing with and caring for others online I have truly reached out beyond my own walls.

As you are reading this right now it means you have internet access.  How many people do you think you can reach and touch through the ministry that God has planned for you?

Do you ever feel like you just can’t get it all done but you’re not sure what to do about it?  I’ve been like that lately, lots of stuff crowding in – work stuff. I love what I do but there’s so much coming at me lately that sometimes I feel like I don’t know what to grab next.

I get regular daily devotionals via email and also have a perpetual calendar on my desk in front of my computer monitor, with daily scripture and commentary.

Two of these bible messages and a chance question from a prospective client made me realise that God has been trying to get a message to me – I just needed to listen.

That’s when I had my sudden revelation, an epiphany. Here I am, a Virtual Assistant of many years standing and I own and run a network of VAs. But I was still trying to do everything myself!  It’s a matter of control and learning to let go and delegate.

A few nights ago I had dinner with a woman who was insisting that I look after her, rather than one of my team members.   She’d been referred to me and the person who referred her spoke very highly of my abilities. That’s all well and good but when you’re stretched to the limit, you really just want to be able to refer clients to your support team instead.

And then she said to me, after I’d told her for probably the 3rd or 4th time in a week that I just don’t have the time, ‘can’t you just manage it all and then get some of your team to do what you can’t?’. There it was… out in the open!  It kind of hit me between the eyes and I gave her question some serious thought later that evening.

And then I rediscovered a message that arrived the previous night and which only really could have come from God, well one of his messengers anyway.  I receive daily devotionals from MarketPlace Leaders (I get Volume 2) and this one is on Time Management. I’ll let you read it for yourself:

David accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. However, he also understood life had an end to it and he wanted to make the most of it. He learned to use his time wisely. And so should we.

Peter Drucker was a renown management consultant to major corporations and authored many bestselling business books. He suggested three activities that might help busy executives better manage their time.

“First, do not start with the task. Start with your time. Determine where your time is going. Then, attempt to manage that time and cut back unproductive demands on your time. Consolidate your ‘discretionary’ time into the largest possible continuing time units.

Drucker refers to the second step as time management. After listing the activities to which we devote our time, he suggests that we ask three questions about each of these activities to help us minimize the amount of time we waste: “What would happen if this were not done at all?” And if the answer is, ‘Nothing would happen,’ then obviously the conclusion is to stop doing it. Next, which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better? What do I do that wastes my time without contributing to my effectiveness?*

Drucker closes by saying ‘Know Thyself,’ this old prescription for wisdom is impossibly difficult for mortal men. But everyone can follow the injunction ‘Know Thy Time’ if you want to, and be well on the road toward contribution and effectiveness.”

Why not evaluate how you are spending your time and ask God how to better use your time.

There was a message on my calendar too, which made me realise that God was planning on getting my attention!  ‘it is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself ‘. Interesting passage which is taken from Proverbs 11:24-25.

To top it off, this week has been an extremely strange one with lots of things happening that needed my urgent attention (like my web server crashing and needing to help clients, etc) which added to my workload considerably. Definitely time to hand over what I can to my team so I can concentrate on managing, rather than doing what others can do for me.

Our Pastor has been doing a wonderful series on ‘church without walls’. That is, ministry in the community, workplace, at home, anywhere outside the walls of our church.

He took us through a few challenging items this morning and I’ll share on each one in separate posts. Today I want to concentrate on Working With Honesty, and in particular, with our own energy.

He told us how, in the Australian economy, about $10billion a year is spent in dealing with problems caused by lack of sleep. That’s an astronomical amount of money. We were encouraged to think carefully about how much sleep and rest we get when we are not working. This relates to both employees, employers and the self-employed.

If we are not well rested and arrive at work having been up all the previous night at a party, or dinner, or something else, then it’s reasonable to expect we’re not going to be able to give of our best during the business hours. Our energy is spent and just not available.

When we arrive at our job or our business, our boss, colleagues and clients should receive the best possible service and performance from us. But frequently they don’t. We’re being paid under false pretenses and the company we provide a service to is getting inferior performance. Not to mention the problems that arise health wise from extended periods of lack of sleep and resulting accidents on the job or on the road. Just look at what happens with the truckies for example, if they’re doped up (pardon the pun) on drugs to stay awake so they can get their deliveries made.

So, are you getting enough sleep and rest at night and on the weekends so you can turn up to work on Monday fully rejevenated? Or are you letting your workplace down? Worth thinking about. If you’re ‘stealing’ the energy that should be available for your job you’re not only letting the workplace down, you’re also letting God down.

 

About Author

John 5:17
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

My name is Kathie and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I grew up always knowing that God was with me and formally accepted Christ as my Saviour when I was 14 years old. I have had many experiences where God has been involved at my places of work and amongst my work colleagues.

A few years ago I heard the founder of Australian Christian TV speak - I don't remember a lot of his talk but I do remember one particular phrase that has stuck with me ever since. He said "Whatever your passion is, that's your vision" . It struck a chord with me and I realised that the very things that made me passionate are the same things that I do daily in my business, and through those things I know I touch many lives. I believe I am where our Lord wants me to be.

 

I've recently been reading Faith & Work: Do They Mix? by Os Hillman. Excellent book and it was whilst reading it, I got the idea for this blog - and was pleasantly surprised that this domain was waiting for me to purchase. I will be sharing what I've been learning through reading and research in the hope that it will also provide answers to your searches and prayers. Would love to hear from you. Bless you, KMT