Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

February 13, 2018

We’re having a terrific Tuesday!  Have you ever considered that one of the best places on earth to practice our faith and offer up a solid witness for Christ is the workplace?

          Yes, I know!  Who’d have thought?

Often times, we use expressions such as, putting on our Sunday best or allowing people to see our Sunday faces.  What this means of course is that we want to put forth our best effort to represent Christ, not only as we do in church but as we live, move and breathe in the world.

On Sunday, I traveled down to Carolinas Medical Center to check on  the condition of one of our church’s teenagers; and, the security down there has once again, ramped up!

Of course, this was the children’s department of the hospital; and, this was as it should be.

I presented my clergy badge, the one with the computer chip inside and photo I.D. on the front and the receptionist identified herself as new.  She began a frantic search at a computer terminal to ensure that I was registered in their system.

Time marched on.  An eternity went by as she agitatedly typed and clicked away at her keyboard.    

I was very calm.  I had on my Sunday face. 

My only concern was the status of the youth that I wanted to see.  Unfortunately, this did not seem to do much in the way of putting this receptionist at ease.

Finally, a seasoned worker saw the angst on this new lady’s face and quickly came to the rescue.  She looked at me and said, “Reverend Howard, we see you down here a lot, don’t we?”  I replied, “Yes ma’am.”

She indicated that something had gone afoul with their computer system and asked my permission to update my records.  Of course, I agreed and she proceeded, all-the-while maintaining the composure and patience of a saint.

I could not help but notice that this was a woman of faith, not so much because of the words that we exchanged but because of her Christ-likeness as she proceeded to help me; and she remained unflapped as the line grew steadily longer behind me and the undercurrent of rumbling, including some muttering and sputtering was detected.

Patiently and methodically this woman focused on each next right step until finally I was cleared to proceed to the elevator.  I thanked her profusely and expressed my desired for her to have a blessed day.

Yes indeed, the workplace is a great place to test our spiritual temperature.  And, here’s the deal, not even the CEO of Carolinas Medical Center possessed the power this woman had to either make or break my day at that particular time. 

Interestingly, I recently ran across an article concerning Isaac Tigrett.  Who?  No, I had not previously heard this name either.

Tigrett’s claim to fame is twofold.  For starters, this Tennessee-born entrepreneur married the ex-wife of Ringo Starr, Maureen Cox Starkey.  This is kind of a big deal but it isn’t the main reason that Tigrett is cited amongst world affairs.

What caused folks to sit up and take notice was that he was the founder of two very iconic restaurant chains, Hard Rock Café and House of Blues; and the business model that he used was well outside the box! 

Tigrett’s first venture into the restaurant business was to put spiritual values first and money-making as secondary.  He decided that the best place that faith could be practiced was at the workplace; and, the Hard Rock Café became the first classless restaurant in the UK during a time when class divisions were a debilitating factor for this country.

In his words, “Spirituality (faith) is not something you practice in meditation every morning when you get up or when you go to church.  It’s every waking moment.”

He describes his work, his ventures as “Righteousness!  Right-thinking and right action!”

Finally, in one last quote that I will leave you with, Tigrett said, “Evaluating everything on the amount of money you’re making as opposed to the amount of peace, love, righteousness and nonviolence created is detrimental.”

I have never eaten a meal at Hard Rock Cafe.  But, I now plan to, the next time I’m at Myrtle Beach.

What if…what if we saw love as not so much emotion as it is energy?  Have you ever considered that true love can also mean any work we do that we find energizing, renewing and regenerating?

I maintain that to practice our faith and spirituality at the workplace can make even a receptionist job at the hospital, life-giving.  The apostle Paul probably describes love more succinctly than anyone who ever lived:

 Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TLB).”

OK, now for some mechanics.  How do we pull this off?

We practice, speak and write from an inner truth given by the Holy Spirit where we express thoughts with kindness and compassion.  We weigh words before we speak in terms of how they will be heard by others; and, we seriously question the value of that next comment.

Will my next words be helpful?  Will they build up or tear down?

We practice gentle interactions with those we meet at the workplace every day, even the ones that get on our last nerve.  We issue uplifting thoughts through face-to-face conversations.

We maintain an awareness that people; do in fact, pick up on far more than our words when we communicate.  They sense anxiety, fear, anger and even vengefulness.

Body language and eye movement are also ways that we communicate what’s in our hearts.  This can be good or bad, depending upon our attitudes.

Finally, let us always remember the words of Philo of Alexandria, “Be kind!  For everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”  I add that it is often a battle for their lives.”

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