TRA Wordtalks

Jobs Money Can't Buy
39/99 12/12/99 Scripture: Luke 9:10-17

PEOPLE today live under increasing pressure. More is expected of them in study, work, sport, marriage and business. They live constantly under the pressure to achieve more. Children find the demands of school and music lessons increasing. Even children's sporting teams have become more competitive with parents on the sideline screaming out for higher effort and more ruthless aggression towards the opponents.
Teenagers facing HSC and tertiary entrance exams live under the pressure from principals, parents, and their peers to achieve. Young people seeking to make a mark upon the world find they are expected to possess a good job in a country whose economy and practices ensure that over 25% of all young people are unemployed.

Middle aged business men find the competition becoming more keen with many businesses failing, with more government restrictions and levels of taxation than ever, and at the same time they must become more profitable than their competitors just to survive. Most businessmen are working long, hard hours just to achieve greater productivity while their family life suffers.
Mothers find themselves in an increasing bind between the expectations to earn an extra income, care for the family, be a super woman as portrayed in the TV commercials, be attractive as the magazine articles portray, and to live up to the expectations of liberated career women who make their choice to be the primary care-giver of a family seem second-rate.

Even older people who should be enjoying retirement, discover that the pressure is upon them to achieve more, to support their family while they struggle to make ends meet. Everybody is under pressure to achieve more, run faster, jump higher, ever upwards to meet the rising expectations. Something has to give. It does. Businesses fail. Marriages break up. Family life breaks down. People drop out, unable to cope with the pressure. Is there a survival technique for the Christian?

YES - it involves doing less while achieving more! What a concept! If we could market that concept we would be rich. Well, we can. But it only works for those who have faith and who are willing to follow the example of Jesus. Just to illustrate that what I am saying works in today's business world, I am taking some quotations from the best-selling management book in history.

Lee Iacocca, whose autobiography is the biggest selling book this century, is the most admired man in USA today. He was the president of Ford Motor Company, leading it to a $2.5 billion profit back in the 1980s. He then led the almost bankrupt Chrysler Motor Corp. turning it into one of USA's most profitable companies. He recently raised $100 million to renovate the Statue of Liberty. His face is one of the most instantly recognised on television. He enables people to be proud of being an American. His management concepts follow those demonstrated by Jesus. Achieving more while doing less, will require you to improve your personal efficiency and to involve others in achieving your aims. That is the kind of job that money cannot buy, and every one of us can have a job like that. Jesus achieved more while doing less in Luke 9:10-17.

The disciples faced a problem: hungry people in a desolate area needing food. They wished the problem would go away. (Luke 9:12) "The Twelve (disciples) came to Jesus and said, `Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.'" They had enough to do and were tired. Jesus showed them how to handle the huge problem with a minimum of effort. Here, from Jesus, are five significant principles.

Jesus looked and had compassion upon the people. (Mark 6:34) Jesus said "Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?" (John 6:5-7) He let others know His concern for needy people. People must be the object of your compassion. Trust God to see you through. Communicate your concerns and trust Him to lead you in fulfilling them. Go ahead in faith letting Him and others know of your concerns. You achieve when you communicate your concerns. The Newcastle City Mission closed its welfare doors for a short time because they had run out of emergency relief money. Both the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul have also restricted their support of the unemployed and poor in the city. Recently, I launched an appeal to Newcastle citizens to help the needy. When you communicate your concerns people who trust you respond.

Jesus involved His disciples with His concern for the hungry: (Luke 9:13) "`You give them something to eat.' They answered, `We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.'"
Poor managers become increasingly busy because they refuse to involve other people in their concerns. They refuse to delegate responsibility to others. But Jesus did not refuse to delegate His responsibilities. Good leaders refuse to be omnicompetent! Refuse to let your ego attract every task to yourself as being the only person who can complete them. Resist the thought that you are the one to solve every problem. Jesus did not take every task to Himself, nor solve every problem.
Lee Iacocca held two of the top management positions in the world. He had worked his way to the top. His salary topped millions of dollars a year. But his family life was his first responsibility. "For Mary and I the family was supreme.

Playing golf with the guys from the office has never been my idea of fun. Your home takes up enough time without having to short change your family. We really got close as a family. No matter what else I did I know that two sevenths of my whole life - weekends, and a lot of evenings - were devoted to Mary and the kids. Unless I was out of town, my weekends were devoted to my family." He was a good manager who achieved more by doing less. He delegated his responsibilities.

At this point poor managers make two excuses: "But I haven't got anybody to delegate responsibilities to" and "but no-one I delegate things to does them properly and I end up doing them myself." Both of those excuses are just that: excuses! The inability to share responsibilities and trust others is a direct reflection upon yourself. At this point you need the help of a good counsellor. You will achieve more when you delegate your responsibilities.

The disciples were overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task: (Luke 9:13) "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish - unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." There were about five thousand men there! How could Jesus cope with that situation? He had to involve many others. "Jesus said to his disciples, `Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.'" Jesus motivated the disciples to think positively. He motivated His disciples to follow His directions. Then He motivated His disciples to break the problem into manageable proportions.

Lee Iacocca says; "Managers have to be motivators. What makes managers strong is that they know how to delegate and how to motivate. They know how to look for pressure points and how to set priorities." (p64) You will achieve more when you motivate your companions.

"The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people." Jesus started with thanksgiving. Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this week. We thank volunteers tonight and staff next week. He was thankful for the gift of five loaves and two fish. But he gave thanks to God, the source of all good gifts. Jesus was willing to use what He had in His hands. Some people spend all their time wishing for more money or blaming their impotency upon the fact that they haven't enough money. Like the disciples they cry: (John 6:7) "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Jesus, appreciated what he did have, rather than wishing for what he did not have. We appreciate God and others for what we have. That is why we have invited you volunteers to our dinner tonight and give you a certificate of appreciation. We appreciate the gifts you have been given and the way you have used them. When you appreciate what you have been given, you do not allow waste. "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over." You achieve more when you appreciate your gifts, when you thank others, and when you are careful for your environment.

Jesus achieved because he was able to invigorate people to follow Him in faith. God moves with the movers, and Jesus was able to move people to accept His word, believe His witness, and to commit their lives to His will. Lee Iacocca says: "If I had to sum up in one word the qualities that make a good manager, I'd say it came down to decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers in the world and you can gather all the charts and numbers, but in the end you have to bring all your information together, set up a time table and act! The speed of the boss is the speed of the team" (p53, 100)

Jesus invigorated his fellows to act. He called people to follow Him. He never asked those who believed to admire Him - but to follow Him! Iacocca says "At some point you have to take that leap of faith. First, because even the right decision is wrong if it is made too late. Second, because in most cases there's no such thing as certainty." (p54) Jesus was the most efficient person because He had no ego problem thinking He was omnicompetent.

He involved other people in His aims. They accepted His word, believed His witness, and committed their lives to His will. When Jesus wanted to change the world, He started by changing the lives of a handful of men, and gave them the task of: communicating His concerns, delegating His responsibilities, motivating His companions, appreciating His gifts and invigorating His fellows.
Jesus achieved more than any other person in history. Never do we get the impression that His life was frazzled and harried. He completed the tasks before Him, because He involved others in the fulfilment of His aims. He did less while achieving more.

Now in turn, He calls you to share His concerns for he still looks upon this world with compassion. He desires you to share His responsibilities in reaching everyone with the Gospel message. Is He motivating you to join with His companions of the Cross? Do you appreciate the gifts you already possess in your hands? Are you willing to be invigorated in using them as one of His followers?
The work of Jesus is a job that money cannot buy. You work in the best company, your rewards are out of this world, and they last for eternity. From Jesus you learn to become more effective and more efficient. You achieve more by doing less. In His company you have a job that money cannot buy. It gives deep satisfaction and great reward. Give your life to following the way of Jesus now!

(References used in this sermon: Iacocca, An Autobiography. Lee Iococca Bantam 1984)

Gordon Moyes 1999

Gordon Moyes 1999

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