Author: Paul Redwine

Whatever is Admirable

When you think of someone who is admirable, or of “good report,” what comes to mind? Why do you admire that person?

Is it, in fact, admirable? Why is that particular person admirable? What’s admirable about his actions? While we may admire someone for his or her accomplishments, we often think about specific qualities someone possesses.

We are told in Philippians 4:8 to think on those things that are admirable — another quality that is “excellent or praiseworthy.”

Admirable Qualities

If a someone is good at sales or administrative work, we may note that admirable quality. However, admirable characteristics such as humility, honesty, and generosity should be observed. For example, we may admire someone who stands to benefit monetarily from an ill-gotten gain but instead chooses to do what is right. We admire those who unselfishly put others before themselves. We applaud those who make sacrifices instead of serving self-interest.

To be admirable, or of good report, means, in the original language of the New Testament “well reported,” referring to someone or something of which is “well spoken.” Other translations use the words “commendable” and “of good report.”

In Acts 6, a problem arose in the church as the number of converts was increasing. The complaint was that needs in the church were overlooked, particularly those of widows in need of food. The solution was to select seven men who would fill this need. These men were to be men “of good repute” — they had to have good reputations, people of whom were highly spoken.

Alter Your Atmosphere

In the previous podcast/article, I encouraged my listeners to “alter their atmosphere” by promoting those things which are lovely. After all, in the workplace, there can be an atmosphere that lends itself to negativity, gossip, course joking, hatred, and selfishness.

In the marketplace, you can help change the climate in a positive way by speaking about those things which are commendable or admirable concerning your employees and coworkers. Point out those things that are commendable regarding their job performance. Point out those things that are admirable regarding their actions and personality.

Such encouragement will go a long way. As an employer, this helps to build morale and camaraderie in the workplace. It can significantly contribute to the atmosphere. For example, when an employer, manager, or boss commends people in front of others that also goes along way.

Speaking Words of Admiration

Here’s a good exercise for you: start putting together a running list of admirable qualities of those with whom you work. Write down their names and a description of their admirable qualities. Use that list to later express to them in words or notes of encouragement.

Expressing words of admiration about those excellent qualities of others can certainly go a long way!

Whatever is Lovely - Philippians 4:8

Whatever is Lovely

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of admirable, if anything is excellent and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Today we consider whatever is “lovely.” If something is lovely, it is worth embracing. It is something dearly prized. It is something that is pleasing or agreeable (Thayer). The word used for lovely in Scripture comes from the word “phileo” – the brotherly love described in God’s Word.

There are many things worth embracing. There are also many things we need to expel from our lives; thoughts and actions that we need evict from our minds and lives.

What Do You Embrace?

Among the many lovely things in this world, nature is one that often comes to mind — the world God created. Psalm 8:3-4: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?”

We can witness the loveliness of God’s creation in His intelligent design of the world — the mighty oceans, the majestic mountains, the bright stars in the cosmos. We look at God’s creation and see that which is lovely.

Music can be lovely. It can be used to glorify God, to praise Him. Literature can be lovely — writings that speak of God’s great character. Our actions can be lovely. Music, literature, and actions can also be ugly, evil, course, unpleasant, and hateful, among many other things.

We would be well served to embrace wisdom. The writer of Proverbs said of wisdom: “Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her” (Proverbs 4:8, ESV, emphasis added).

You can also embrace that which is evil. The writer of Proverbs also asks rhetorically, “Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?” (Proverbs 5:20, ESV).

Do you spend your time thinking about the ugly things in life, or on those excellencies that are worthy of embracing? Do you focus on what is lovely, or what is ugly?

Cultivating a Christ-Like Thought Process

I encourage you to develop a Godly thought life. Cultivate a Christ-like thought process. This is what it means to “think on these things.” We can focus on many of the ugly things in the world, or we can concentrate on that which is lovely.

A. W. Tozer said, “To be right, we must think right.” He also said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 admonishes us to develop a thought process — a positive process of reflection, focusing on that which is excellent or praiseworthy. As a result, our actions line up with God’s will. Our actions become a result of our thought process.

In the marketplace, we need to focus on those things that are excellent and praiseworthy. When we target positive things, we do not so much have to dwell on the negative. When we focus more on the positive, lovely things, we naturally drown out the negative.
Alter Your Atmosphere

In the marketplace, there can be an environment that lends itself to negativity, gossip, course joking, hatred, and selfishness.

You can make help promote a proper environment in the workplace by focusing on and speaking about that which is lovely. You can help cultivate an atmosphere by pointing out the beautiful things — those positive, excellent and praiseworthy things which should be promoted in the workplace. Point out the affirmative, lovely characteristics and actions of others. Speak lovely words.

Earlier I encouraged you to cultivate a Christ-like thought process. Here’s a good exercise to help you do so: make a list of things that you should embrace, as well as a list of things you need to evict from your life. If something is lovely, it’s worthy of embracing. If something is ugly, it needs to go! If it is lovely, think on that!

Purity

Whatever is Pure

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When it comes to impacting others in the marketplace, what we do is not the only thing that matters. An emphasis should be placed on character development because what we are will impact what we do. We know that good character leads to good works.

We read about the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Scripture. Just as it is easy to identify a tree by the fruit it produces, believers are identified by what they do; what we do is the fruit. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree. The fruit is a result of its DNA, or what is is at its core. A person of Godly character provides evidence for who he is. For example, if we develop a Christ-like character, people will see the fruit of love. Jesus said, “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

We should not just try to “do” good things without working on our character — on what we are. When we set our minds on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, we are building character.

Unstained, Unblemished

We now look at one of the excellent and praiseworthy things Paul lists in Philippians 4:8: purity. The word used for purity is similar to the word used for the word “holy.” The word holy means “set apart,” “unstained,” or “unblemished.” A holy person is set apart from others in that he or she is more like Christ. There is, therefore, a noticeable difference between someone who has a relationship with Christ. It is what distinguishes us.

To be pure means to be clean, or blameless. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices to God were to be unblemished and without defect. We too are called to be unblemished by the world, as we strive for purity.

This begs the question: Are we participating or being influenced by those things that are impure? What thoughts are occupying our minds? Does the company that we keep in and around the workplace have a positive or adverse impact on our character development?

One way we work on becoming pure is by not putting ourselves in compromising situations or in an impure atmosphere. We must be careful when it comes to relationships in the workplace — relationships that could harm marriages, for example. Heed the words of 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (Berean Study Bible). Ask yourself, therefore, “What company am I keeping? Is it impacting my character?”

We must always guard our character. For example, we must be careful when traveling for business. When traveling and you are away from your spouse, do you watch or participate in things that are impure?

Your Influence: Positive or Negative?

We would also be wise to ask the question, “Am I shaping the world, or is the world shaping me?” Is my influence positive or negative?

We frequently see “how the mighty have fallen” — men and women in the public eye who were supposedly leading pure lives, but their impurity became public. Their effectiveness has been, to say the least, hindered — even destroyed because their lack of purity became public knowledge.

For this reason, if you are in a position of leadership or influence, I especially urge you to strive for purity — to think on what is holy, what is pure. After all, if your impurity is exposed, there could be devastating consequences.

What You Need is What God Wants From You

Micah Stamply wrote a song that was recorded by many Christian music artists. He wrote “Holiness
Is what I long for; Holiness Is what I need; Holiness Is what you want For me.” He goes on, petitioning God, saying, “Take my heart and mold it. Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, conform it to yours.”

It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul, when writing Philippians 4, said to “think on these things” — to arrive at a logical conclusion concerning those excellencies that are — among many others — pure.

Whatever is Right

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How do we know what is right? In this world, that which is “right” is defined in many different ways. We live in an age where many believe that truth is relative. Moral relativism is the belief that moral judgments are true or false based on a certain standpoint. Relativists view moral values as being applicable within certain cultural boundaries only. One widely-held belief says, “if it’s true for you, then it’s true. If it’s not true for you, then it is not true.”

Those who subscribe to this belief — that truth is relative — naturally come to the conclusion that you really cannot determine what is right or what is wrong, at least not universally. To determine what is right, or to make a distinction between what is right and wrong is not only a meaningless pursuit in their eyes but something that should be avoided altogether.

The Bible teaches us that there is absolute truth and that we can tell the difference between right and wrong. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 to think on whatever is right; to reason to a logical conclusion that which is right, or that which is just, as some translations put it.

Approved By God

The word for right in our “whatever” verse (Philippians 4:8) refers to that which is approved by God. It shows that the standard for what is right comes from God Himself. Simply put, if God defines it as “right,” then it is right. Therefore, we cannot define what is truly right based on our individual human standpoints. Moral relativism, therefore, goes against scripture; it goes against God.

There are many scriptures that speak to this principle of righteousness, showing the universal truth of what is right. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, was described as a righteous man. Jesus said that God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” indicating that there is a contrast between what is right and what is not. Paul says in the first chapter of Romans that righteous people live by faith. We are told that we are made right when we place our faith in God.

God has standards! He defines what is righteous, and calls us to be righteous. He will make us right if we make Him Lord of our lives. We are also told that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and that He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

To say that we need to do what is right may sound oversimplified to some people. The Apostle Paul apparently saw righteousness as one of those things that fit into the category of something that is “excellent or praiseworthy,” and as something that we should ponder. Jesus spoke about righteousness as did many other authors ofthe the books of the Bible.

. . . But To Do Justice

Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (NASV).

In the marketplace, we find that many people will define what is right, what is just according to their human, earthly standards. Their actions may often reflect a distorted view of righteousness. You may be faced with having to address these issues in the workplace as well, whether you are trying to determine what is right, or helping others understand that righteousness should be defined by God’s standards, not ours.

Today’s Takeaway: God determines what is right. We are to conform to God’s standard of righteousness, not man’s. In the marketplace, there are many situations that may put us in a position to where we may need to make difficult decisions. That’s why it is imperative to think on that which is right.

Whatever is Honorable

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things. — Philippians 4:8 (emphasis added).

As we continue to look at this “whatever” passage, we see that another thing on which we should think is “whatever is honorable.” The New International version, as well as some others, uses the word “noble.”

Paul also uses the same word that is used for “honorable” in 1 Timothy 3:8, saying the deacons, like other leaders, should be “men of dignity,” or in other words, “honorable” men.

Bible commentator Albert Barnes speaks to this concept, saying “The word was originally used in relation to the gods, and to the things that pertained to them, as being worthy of honor or veneration . . . The word, therefore, does not express precisely what the word ‘honest’ does with us, as confined to dealings or business transactions, but rather has reference to what was regarded as worthy of reputation or honor; what there was in the customs of society, in the respect due to age and rank, and in the contact of the world, that deserved respect or esteem. It includes indeed what is right concerning business transactions, but it embraces much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God.”

So, Whatever is “honorable/noble” includes being honest in business transactions, but it means much more. We need to think on those things that are worthy of a good reputation or is honorable. If someone or something is worthy of respect, we are to respect that person or thing. This goes a long way in the workplace, as employers, employees, co-workers all appreciate this characteristic in others.

I like what Steven J. Cole said concerning this: “Christians are to take life seriously. We are not to be silly goof-offs, who treat life as a perpetual joke. We live in light of eternity, keeping in mind the uncertainty of this short life and the reality of heaven and hell.” – https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-25-christian-s-thought-life-philippians-48

He also states that this doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate appropriate, clean humor. However, when humor gets out of hand and reverts to coarse joking, sexual innuendo and other inappropriate behaviors, it creates an ungodly atmosphere.

As Christians, we need to think about what is honorable, or noble because in doing so, we also show respect to God.

As Christians in the marketplace, we should not put our thoughts on undignified things, on the mundane, silly, earthly things. After all, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for our Savior. . .” (Philippians 3:20). Also, as Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on the things above, not on the earthly things.” Right before that verse, the Apostle Paul says to “seek the things above.”

Seek, in this context, means to “get to the bottom of the matter.” It is the idea of seeking something in order to find and often involves meditation and reason. In a previous post, we looked at the phrase at the end of Philippians 4:8, “think on these things.” We realize that when Paul uses the word “think,” it means to “take into account,” “reckon,” or “reason to a logical conclusion.” Therefore, when we “think” about, or “dwell on” something in this sense, it means that we are to reach a logical conclusion concerning those excellent things.

This is part of the seeking process. When we “think on these things” and “seek the things above,” we will find what we are looking for. After all, as Jesus promised, “seek and ye shall find.”

Today’s Takeaway: We need to both think on and seek those things which are honorable instead of dwelling on the mundane. The more we dwell on anything that is excellent or praiseworthy, we are seeking the things above. As we seek, we know we will find. Additionally, we need to share what we find, in our daily lives as well as the marketplace.

Whatever is True

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things. — Philippians 4:8.

We’ve been looking at some “whatever” verses in scripture, and now our focus turns to Philippians 4:8. The Apostle Paul says, “if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things.” When Paul uses the word “think” in Philippians, it means to “reason to a logical conclusion.” Therefore, when we “think” about, or “dwell on” something in this sense, it means that we are to reach a logical conclusion concerning those excellent things. We consider whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.

We are told to think upon that which is true. The word Paul uses means “something that cannot be concealed or hidden.” If we look at Scripture, we find many truths. The more we look at scripture — the more we become familiar with God’s Word — the easier it is to come to the truth.

Spotting the Counterfeit

We are able to spot that which is true and that which is fake. A friend of mine described a bank teller who was counting money. The teller quickly sorted through the money, when all of a sudden she dropped the bills on the counter and pulled out a counterfeit bill. She knew instantly that the bill was counterfeit simply by feeling it for just a fraction of a second! She didn’t need to hold it up to a light to tell that it was a fake, nor did she need to take out a special pen to mark the bill to determine its authenticity.

The point my friend made was this: The teller was so familiar with the real money that she could spot a fake instantly. I’ve been told that those who can spot counterfeits can do so because they have a profound familiarity with the real currency.

When we are exposed to falsehoods in this world, we can best spot them if we have a familiarity with what is true. When we are familiar with God’s Word, we’re able to spot the counterfeit, the fake, much more easily.

This is what happens when we think on “whatever is true.”

The Truth Will Set You Free?

Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” Many who are not familiar with scripture has heard this quote before. Many people will quote “the truth will set you free,” but they leave out what Jesus said right before that.

Here is the context in John 8:31: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Note that Jesus said if “you are truly my disciples . . .” Jesus is using the same word that Paul uses when he admonishes us to think on whatever is true. We are truly Jesus’ disciples if we abide in His Word!

So we must abide in His Word in order to know the truth. The presence of truth in and of itself does not set us free. Abiding in the Word, thinking on whatever is true — as a way of life — is what leads us to freedom.

The first Psalm speaks of the man of God who “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” He ponders, meditates, all the time, on God’s Law. I don’t believe that this psalm is mandating that we have a specific time of devotion and meditation in the morning and then one again in the evening. That would be a great discipline, but I believe that what the psalmist is saying is that the man of God whose delight is in the Law of Lord thinks about God’s Word on a regular basis. He heeds the words of the Apostle Paul: “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.”

Today’s Takeaway: As Christians who study God’s Word, we are able to spot falsehoods. In the marketplace, this becomes particularly important, as it helps us to discern what direction we should take in the workplace, the kinds of transactions we should make or avoid, whether or not we should hire a particular person, or what kind of company we should align ourselves with concerning our jobs or careers. Become intimately familiar with God’s Word, thinking on that which is true. Avoid the counterfeits, knowing that if you abide in God’s Word, you will be free!

Whatever Bytes

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things. — Philippians 4:8.

We continue in our “Whatever” series. So far, we looked at a couple other “whatever” verses:
1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (NASV).

Something to Think About

In Philippians 4:8, Paul mentions several “whatevers” on which we should think. About these things, Paul says, “think” or “dwell” on them.

What’s interesting about the Greek word used for “think,” or “dwell” in this verse comes from the word Logos, which the Gospel writer John uses when He says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the word was God.”

When Paul uses the word “think” in Philippians, it means to “take into account,” “reckon,” or “reason to a logical conclusion.” Therefore, when we “think” about, or “dwell on” something in this sense, it means that we are to reach a logical conclusion concerning those excellent things. We consider whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.

Computer Brains: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Consider the lyrics to Petra’s song, Computer Brains: “Everything that you do and see, one more event in your memory. Every bit takes another byte without control over wrong or right. You must screen every entry made, the consequences must be weighed. The only way to security is every thought in captivity. . . Computer brains, put garbage in; Computer brains, get garbage out. Computer brains, programming you. . .”

The lyrics most likely reference 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (ESV).

Our brains are like computers. You put garbage in, you get garbage out. Everything we put into our minds, whether those things are pure, or whether they are are garbage, is programming us. When you think on those things which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, you are putting great things in your mind, and your actions will reflect those things. The output is positive, uplifting, and God-honoring.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I putting in my mind? How am I programming myself?
  • Am I thinking/dwelling on what is true, honorable, right, and pure?
  • Am I programming my mind to think pure thoughts or am I inputting garbage?
  • Are my thoughts and actions toward others, whether in the workplace or in other situations, positive and uplifting or are they destructive?

The main purpose of this podcast/blog is to bring to light Biblical Principles for marketplace missionaries — principles that will help improve our character. When we think/reflect/dwell upon those things that are excellent or praiseworthy, our actions follow. We must first be concerned with our character. Knowing this, we dwell on those things that make us become more of what God wants us to become and to do those things God wants us to do. We’re to develop a mindset that is more like Christ.

Today’s Takeaway: When looking at Philippians 4:8, we see a list of “whatevers” to ponder. At the end of the verse, Paul says “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (NIV). This suggests that there are many excellent things to ponder that are not mentioned in the verse. The idea is to be constantly thinking about the many excellent principles found in Scripture.

In the next blog/podcast episode, we will look at the first “whatever” of Philippians 4:8: Whatever is true. Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” Many who are not familiar with scripture have heard this quote before. Many people will quote the saying, “the truth will set you free,” but leave out what Jesus said right before that. We need to look at how we come to the truth, as well as the importance of meditating upon that which is true.

Whatever: Heart and Soul

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In the last podcast/blog, we looked at 1 Corinthians 10:31, which reads, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We learned that we should give God center stage, putting Him first in our lives and in the workplace. In any business transaction or interpersonal relationship, we need to remember that God is suppose to be center stage. The focus is on Him.

In this episode, we look at a text that speaks specifically as to how we are to perform our work in this next “whatever” verse. Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (NASV).

The Berean Literal Bible translation reads, “Whatever you might do, work from the soul, as to the Lord and not to men”. Other translations: “work at it with your whole being,” “work at it with all your heart,” and “work at it wholeheartedly.”

Heart and Soul

This “whatever” verse reminds me of the phrase, “Heart and Soul.” Colossians 3:23 basically says that we are to put our whole selves into working for the Lord. There is an old song from the 1930s called Heart and Soul. Many beginning music students are taught the tune as a duet to play on the piano.

In our “whatever” verse, where the Apostle Paul says to work wholeheartedly, he uses a word that means “to breath,” indicating the “breath of life” that Thayer describes as “the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing.” The word is also where we get the english word “psyche,” which is the soul, and more specifically, the person’s unique identity. The implication, then, is that we each put ourselves — our whole being — into working for the Lord.

Passion

Rick Warren said, “ In America it’s ok to be passionate about anything except God. That is not politically correct — to be passionate about God. I can be passionate about movies. I can be passionate about sports. I can be passionate about politics. I can be passionate about fashions and clothes. I can be passionate about restaurants. . . but I cannot be passionate about God. That’s a no-no.”

We know that scripture tells us otherwise. Our passion, our hearts, our souls, should be in the Lord. In the marketplace, we work first for the Lord. We work with honesty and integrity. We work in such a way that our bosses, clients, customers and co-workers will trust us because we have put our trust in God.

Consider these parallels found in Scripture:

Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is perhaps the most popular verse in the Bible that speaks to the “heart and soul.” Jesus refers to this verse when He answers the question regarding the greatest commandment in the law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.”

When speaking to slaves in Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul says, “but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” The New Living Translation says, “Try to please them (your masters) all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart” (Parenthesis added).

Ask yourself this: Do I work differently when management or a client is watching me work than when they are not watching me? The answer to that question should give you some insight as to whether or not you are truly working for the Lord.

Geoff Moore and the Distance also performed a song called “Heart and Soul”. The lyrics reflect the sentiments in the gospel story recorded in Mark 12 and Luke 21. Geoff sings, “I passed a church one time where a rich man filled the plate, but he gave just a piece of what he had. An an old woman . . . didn’t have much of anything, but the little she had you know she gave. She gave everything . . . be it great or small, a little love can break the wall between us.” At the end of the song, Moore sings, “I passed a hill one time. A man hung in silhouette as thunder rolled across the sky. That man he had no plan, (I) never can forget his words: ‘Not my will Lord but Thine’.”

We know that Jesus gave His heart and soul on Calvary. God calls us to give it “Heart and Soul,” no matter what we do. No matter if we’re in a great relationship with someone or if we are in a poor relationship. No matter if we’re in a job or a career we love or in a situation that is less than ideal.

Today’s Takeaway: Are you an employee or a manager working for someone else? Do you own a company, someone who is in business for yourself? Whatever your workplace or career situation is, remember who you are ultimately working for: God! You may receive wages from a company or from clients, but remember that it is God who ultimately provides us with everything. So, to God, in whatever you do, put heart and soul into your work.

Whatever: Giving God Center Stage

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“ . . . whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

We begin a new series called the “ ‘Whatever’ Series.” The focal point of this series is the verse I just quoted. Whatever we do, whether it is in the marketplace, at home, at church — wherever we are — and whatever we do, we do it all for God’s glory.

In terms of our walk with God, there should be no separation between how we are to conduct ourselves, whether it is within or outside the context of the marketplace.

There are several “Whatever” passages in scripture. Today, we look at the phrase “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Whether we eat, drink, play, worship, enjoy recreation, or make a business transaction, we do all to God’s glory.

Glory

The key word I want to focus on in the passage is glory: Do all to the glory of God. Glory, in the context of Scripture refers to a radiance, a brightness, a splendor. Moses saw God’s glory, or His splendor/brightness on Mt. Sinai. In fact, God’s splendor was so great that Moses was not permitted to see God’s face — he would not be able to handle that much splendor. Exodus 34 says that, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD” (Exodus 34:29, NIV). The next verse says, “When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.”

The word is used when honoring or recognizing someone because of his or her merit. God certainly has merit, so He is worthy of glory. This Greek word used for glory is also used in the word “Doxology.” You may have sung the song that is simply called The Doxology: Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.

There are several doxologies in the Bible. For those of you familiar with the Biblical Principles for Business Professionals podcast, at the end of each episode, I have been quoting what is known as the Jude Doxology, found at the end of the book of Jude.

Some other doxologies: Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” These verses shine light on God because of His merit, because of who He is.

Giving God Center Stage

When the actors come out onto stage after the conclusion of a production in what is known as the “curtain call,” they take a bow. The audience applauds the actors, often giving a standing ovation. During the curtain call, the main character is center stage.

If you are the person who is in charge of the lighting during a theatrical presentation, your job is to shine light on the person speaking, where the light should shine. When the focus is suppose to be on the main character, you would put the spotlight on that person. Our lives then should reflect the light of life’s main character — God, who should take center stage of our hearts.

That’s what it means to give God the glory! To cast forth the light of our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer. We put God center stage in our lives.

A friend of mine owns a construction business in Northern Kentucky. When he has meetings with his team, he almost always reinforces his mission: “To treat every property as if it belongs to God Himself.” He constantly reiterates to his team that God is at the center of his business.

In the marketplace, we do this first by setting an example. Our conduct is very important. Therefore, we walk the walk. Additionally, we also “talk the talk,” because both are important. What we say and how we say those things are important as well.

It’s Not About Us!

Therefore, we put God center stage by taking the focus off ourselves. We give God the glory He deserves, shining forth the spotlight only He deserves. Also, we love God by loving other people, and treating them accordingly. After all, the two greatest commands, boiled down into one imperative sentence is, “Love God, love others.” When putting God center stage, we echo the sentiments in the old hymn, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.”

How do we apply this in the marketplace? Before addressing conflict in the workplace, for example, if you first take a moment to humble yourself and put God first, you will be much better off when addressing conflict. Also, when making a business transaction, remember who should be at the center. When you are asked by your superior to contribute in a new and different way, or when you are addressing concerns with a client, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Today’s Takeaway: Think of one or two ways in which you are going to take the spotlight off of yourself. You are not God, so you should not be center stage. Scripture teaches us that we are to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. You will be rewarded for doing so as He will lift you up. But don’t do it just to receive that reward. Do it because God deserves your glory; God deserves center stage!

Building a House

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1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” The Apostle Paul uses the words “encourage” and “build up” — two very similar words, but with some differences. The first word Paul uses means “to call to one’s side” in the Greek. It means to admonish and comfort one another.

The writer of Hebrews instructs believers to never give up meeting together, but to be “encouraging one another.” He speaks of the importance of being around other believers so that all can receive encouragement.

Building a House

The word Paul uses for “build up” when addressing the Thessalonians, literally means to “build a house.” The word is used by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount when he talked about how the “wise man built his house on the rock.”

When someone is building a house, he starts with a firm foundation and frame, then continues to add more and more to the house, until it is complete. The walls, roof, insulation, plumbing, and electricity are added. Appliances and furniture are brought in until it becomes a nice, intimate place in which people inhabit.

We’ve discussed in previous podcasts/blogs the need to build relationships in the workplace. We also know from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that we are to encourage/build-up others. One way we can establish meaningful relationships in the marketplace is to simply do what Scripture teaches us: build up one another.

In doing so, we must remember that such encouragement/building is ongoing. Paul acknowledges that the Thessalonians were already doing that very thing, so he encourages them to continue that action. After all, houses need maintenance and repair. People need continual encouragement.

The Emotional Bank Account

Many writers, preachers, coaches, and motivational speakers have taught about what is called “the emotional bank account.” When we make deposits into someone’s emotional bank account, we are saying/doing things for that person that establishes trust, among other things.

Stephen Covey says, when relating the concept to families, “Similar to a bank account, you can make deposits or withdrawals from each of your family relationships. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful deposits in your relationships.”

Of course, this applies to all facets of life, in all relationships, including the marketplace. If we are to make a difference in the workplace, it will be because we have built relationships with others. Therefore, we need to make regular deposits.

Here are just three examples of how you can make deposits in one’s emotional bank account:

  • Empathize / listen actively to others
  • Write someone a note of encouragement – “I noticed that you did a great job…”
  • Say something nice about the person in front of others

More Than Just Keeping the Account “In the Black.”

Don’t just keep an emotional bank account in the black, but keep building. Keep making deposits. Obviously, a bank account with a large sum of money is better than one with a low balance; one that is in danger of going into the red.

By making consistent, even small deposits, the account grows steadily. Small deposits are very important and they are easy to make. When making small deposits into someone’s emotional bank account, they notice, especially if you make regular deposits.

Today’s Takeaway: Choose two or three people in your workplace setting in whom you will invest. In other words, set up two or three emotional bank accounts with two or three people — people you will encourage, build up. Commit yourself to making small, consistent deposits into those accounts. Encourage them; build them up so that they feel loved and appreciated.