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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A flower bed
A real begonia "flower bed" we pass near Paradise PA
We have used this scene before when the bed is really covered with flowers later in the season in the early fall.

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"Servant Leadership"

"Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).

Yesterday a company we work for as chaplains had a picnic for their employees. Serving as business chaplains over the past twelve years we've attended a lot of company picnics through the years but this one was distinct in that instead of having the meal catered the Human Resource Department planned the event, and then prepared and served the meal. The company leadership got personally involved by grilling the meat which turned the usual machine like smell of the company into a succulent barbeque aroma that drifted throughout the air. We also noted the very intentional attempt by the leadership to express interest in the employees.

A term popularized during our lifetime is "servant leadership". The concept asserts that servant-leaders achieve results for their organizations by giving priority attention to the needs of their colleagues and those whom they serve. Servant-leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization's resources (human, financial and physical).

According to Robert K. Greenleaf who coined the phrase in an essay in 1970, "The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."

The particular issue I would like to discuss today does not necessarily impact every reader. But certainly a large number of you who receive these messages are in some form of people management. Most are also under a manager or supervisor and would like them to read and practice this Scriptural principle! It is greatly lacking in the secular employment world.

An effective manager needs to lead with confidence and authority. I have appreciated this quality in several of my employers through the years and in the company owners whom we have served with as chaplains.

We particularly remember our boss, Anthony Muccio, when we drove school busses during the early years of our church planting work in Northern Pennsylvania. He was a good administrator and there was no question as to who was in authority. Yet he was also very kind and treated his employees well.  (This was especially appreciated since he followed an owner who was very much the opposite.) Most all of us have had managers who arrogantly abused this authority and lorded it over their employees. They act as though they're superior because they're "the boss".

Jesus' statement in our daily verse is known as the "golden rule".
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." Can you imagine how different things would be if this rule was universally practiced in the workplace, the home, the neighborhood, the church, public places, etc? But today let's especially consider its application in the workplace.

Paul gives a directive to "masters" which I believe can be used in principle by anyone that has a place of managing authority: "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven" (Colossians 4:1).

As you manage today and every day may you put the teachings of Jesus and the Bible into practice! A powerful word from our Lord applied first to Kingdom living but really to all of life is, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35). Today let us make it our prayer, "Lord, make me Your servant!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I'm reminded of the acronym, JOY, which serves as a prompting to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourselves last. As we do so we find ourselves to be more like Christ who gives us fulfillment and joy as we serve others. We find the mysterious pleasure that comes with the Scriptural teaching, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." "Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." And once again we find ourselves acknowledging that Your ways are superior to the ways of humankind. Show us the many ways we can assist and serve others and help us also to joyfully receive from others when they serve us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Servant leadership - Company leaders cooking for employees
Here's a photo taken yesterday at the company picnic with the company leadership cooking the meal on the grill. Working the grill is Ron Hoover (left) Chairman of the Board and Joe Wetzel (right) CEO.  Mark Griffin, VP of HR, is talking to the chicken! Today we have another picnic (at a different location) and Ester is excited since she has been asked to wear the chicken costume! (In case you're wondering, among the product lines this company makes are products that go into chicken houses, such as cages, ventilation and water systems.)

Tractor seat on milk canLongtime readers know I like old stuff and I saw this  interesting stool at an auction. A tractor seat welded to an old milk can!

Celosia grown for wholesale
A colorful scene on our evening walk.
Last year a neighboring local farm was sold to a wholesale flower grower and it is beginning to really be interesting with a large variety of flowers they planted such as these long rows of green and red Celosia flowers, also known as cockscomb.  (You can imagine Brooksyne's pleasure when we arrive at this spot.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Make Me A Servant"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"Make Me A Servant"  Video  A children's song with a great message!

"If You Want To Be Great In God's Kingdom"  Video  Maranatha Country Praise

Finally today:

Horehound candySome of our childhood memories are actually our parent's childhood memories. When I was a kid I recall my Dad loved horehound candy and would tell us he always liked it as a kid.  Although it wasn't a popular flavor when I was young whenever I see some, as I did yesterday in an old-fashioned store, I buy some to bring back my own childhood memories of my dad's childhood memories and enjoy the rather unique taste! Here's an article about horehound candy for the terminally curious.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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