Economic Decisions and Moral Consequences

I highly recommend a subscription to Comment from the Canadian think tank Cardus. In a recent article Bruce Webb commented on Pope Benedict’s latest social encyclical,  Caritas in Veritate (“Charity, or Love, in Truth”).

While one of Benedict’s proposed solutions is quite concerning, there are a number of points we should take to heart. Here is Webb’s comment on one that struck me as important.

We should also ponder carefully the claim that “every economic decision has a moral consequence.” How many of us take the time to consider seriously the moral consequences of our economic decisions to spend, invest or work at a particular job and for a particular company? Christians should devote more time to learning about the ways in which our economic actions either serve or fail to serve the common good and the well being of the poor.

The fact is that what we buy, where we invest, and who we work for does impact others. And in a global economy, our stewardship impacts a lot of people.

What do you think?

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Reflections on 38 years of Marriage

Bill and Kathy cut the cake

Bill and Kathy cut the cake

I was the perfect man: charming, irresistible, polite, discerning, protective, and passionate. I was a hunk and man of God rolled into one ideal package.

… at least in Kathy’s mind.

What she actually got was an amiable but insecure, protective but selfish, polite but socially clumsy, passionate but lustful, fit but undisciplined, pursuer of God with millions of miles to go on my spiritual journey.

I am always amazed at the faith women have in the belief that men will change for the better once the aisle has been walked and vows repeated. Fortunately for those of the male gender, the women who love us see us for who we could be, not who we are in reality.

Of course that can be dangerous for a woman. Besides the fragile grip on reality, it is fraught with temptation to take the taming of the cave man on as a woman’s personal mission and prerogative.

Actually I was significantly self-righteous for many years about the fact that I didn’t want to change Kathy—like she wanted to change me. I wanted the woman I thought I married. However, when I read Paul’s instructions to husbands in Ephesians 5, I see a different attitude commanded entirely. Being a good husband is all about helping to change the woman I married—not into the image I had in my mind, but into the image that God had in mind for her when he created her. It’s not about shaping her into the perfect woman who will meet my needs, but helping her become all she was created to be.

Today, as I look back on 38 years of marriage, I am so thankful that Kathy Peel is not the cute little adoring coed I married. Despite my help much of the time, she has become a beautiful woman of God: smart, winsome, fiercely loyal to our boys and their wives, committed follower of Jesus, tenacious business woman, graciously confrontive wife, and passionate lover—and did I mention, she’s my best friend.

Prayer for My Work

Ken Boa is one of the smartest and yet most humble men I have been privileged to learn from. Check out Ken’s website for a host of great resources that will aid you in your spiritual development. In Ken Boa’s recent Reflections Teaching Letter he published a prayer for work entitled “Work as a Mode of Worship.” I pass it on for your consideration.

You have called me to participate in Your purposes through the work I have been given to do during my earthly sojourn. May I do my work with care and excellence in the desire to be pleasing to You. I realize that all things become spiritual when they are done in Your Name. May I honor You in my choices and activities and view the works of my hands as a mode of worship. I want whatever I do in thought, word and deed to be honoring to You and edifying to others. I ask for a clearer sense of purpose and calling and for the power to accomplish that for which You have placed me on this earth.

May it be true for all who bear the name of Jesus in our daily work.

What Is the Recession For?

preacher1My wife Kathy recently began blogging for AOL’s Parent Dish. She offers great information for Family Managers who want to make their home a great place to be. But, it’s not surprising that her editors ask her to give her blogs an economic twist. Not a bad idea at a time when everything else sounds trivial compared to the economic realities we experience daily.

The economy is even making it into the pulpit. And I say thankfully so. We need to hear what the Bible says about what we’re all thinking about. A friend send me a copy of John Piper’s sermon from February 1, 2009 entitled the same as this blog. I highly recommend it for anyone not wanting “to let a good crisis go the waste.” Here are “some” of reasons for this economic downturn according to Piper:

  1. He intends for this recession to expose hidden sin and so bring us to repentance and cleansing.
  2. He intends to wake us up to the constant and desperate condition of the developing world where there is always and only recession of the worst kind.
  3. He intends to relocate the roots of our joy in his grace rather than in our goods, in his mercy rather than our money, in his worth rather than our wealth.
  4. He intends to advance his saving mission in the world—the spread of the gospel and the growth of his church—precisely at a time when human resources are least able to support it. This is how he guards his glory.
  5. He intends for the church to care for its hurting members and to grow in the gift of love.

What do you think?

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Pursuing Your Calling in a Down Economy

Job layoffs and an anemic economy are pushing many Christians to question the purpose of their lives, yet I meet very few who are thinking in terms of the “good works” God had in mind when he designed them. Each of us has a high calling we are obligated to follow, and when we do, this brings God great glory and us great joy.

The quest to discover our calling should begin with four facts we know for certain … To read more go to The High Calling.

Leadership Is Stewardship, Part 3

 This is the third of three articles I wrote on Leadership for The High Calling.

 To be faithful stewards, we must understand four important leadership principles.

3. The principle of accountability.  As we’ve learned, when a leader is given responsibility, he is accountable to the one who gave it. Paul reminds us “it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:2, NASB). Jesus told several parables in which he used stewardship as metaphor for how his kingdom operates. Each one ends with the steward giving account of what he had done with the master’s property. In the same way, we are stewards of everything we have been given, including our time, money, abilities, information, wisdom, relationships, and authority. And we will all give account to the rightful owner as to how well we managed the things he has entrusted to us.
Adam didn’t do so well when God called him to account for violating a direct command not to eat from a certain tree. True to form, those who want to avoid being held accountable blame others. She did it. Or even, God, it’s your fault. I don’t know about you, but this tendency toward blame runs pretty strong in me and many people I know. When something goes wrong, my default response is to look for someone else to point the finger at. Not that it’s always my fault, but that’s usually the last place I look. However, personal accountability must be a core value of leaders. Paul reminds us, like it or not, that we too will be held accountable.

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Rom. 14:10-12)

 

When we stand before God at his judgment seat, he won’t be interested in how difficult our spouses were to love, how uncooperative our children were to parent, how difficult our boss or employees were to deal with, how obstinate the people were at church, or how corrupt a culture we had to endure. We’ll give account for what we did with what he gave us. To read more click here to go to The High Calling

What’s on Your Balance Sheet?

42-15440756At a recent workplace leaders breakfast a seasoned real estate developer spoke about how God had carried him through the real estate catastrophe in the late 1980s. He said, “I felt as if someone had torn out the asset page of my balance sheet, leaving me with only liabilities.” But then he reminded the group that as Christians we each have “hidden” assets to draw upon. Here are some of those assets that God adds to our balance sheet that can never be taken away from us:

  • Scripture to remind us of the truth
  • Prayer to call out to God and ask for help
  • Abilities given by God to accomplish his purposes
  • A God who cares about our work and is personally present
  • Other Christians to encourage us
  • The Holy Spirit to remind us of the truth when we forget it during the day

You may be feel the same way when you look at your net worth these days. But don’t forget to add in the multitude of deposits Christ has made into your personal account. What else can you add to this list?

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.