field of red flowers

“When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi,’ (which translated means Teacher) ‘where are you staying?’”

— John 1:38

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, had a difficult life up to the age of sixty-five. He had countless jobs, was divorced, and had just received his first Social Security check of one hundred dollars. After a lifetime of failure, he tried one more business venture. He began traveling the back country to convince restaurant owners to buy his chicken recipes and his fryer. Many nights he slept in his car to meet the owners in the morning. Initially he received hundreds of rejections. Finally, a restaurant bought the fryer and the recipes, which led to other sales. Soon his business was earning him a thousand dollars a day. After only a few years he sold it for $2 million.

His pastor related, “He suddenly raised his head and looked at me and said that it was the first time in his life he had ever experienced the presence of Christ within his heart.”

Colonel Sanders had worked on the railroad, been a hired hand to a farmer, owned a hotel, and had many other jobs. At sixty-five, destitute, he asked God to help him with his business. For many years after he believed he was successful because of God. He gave to charity, tithed, attended church on a regular basis. But he still hadn’t fully grasped what he was looking for. There still was a void inside. At seventy-five, while attending church, he was asked to pray, to ask God to forgive him and take mercy on him. His pastor related, “He suddenly raised his head and looked at me and said that it was the first time in his life he had ever experienced the presence of Christ within his heart.”

“Like many of us, they wanted their hearts to be connected to God through Jesus.”

Jesus is walking on a road and is followed by two men. Sensing their presence, he turns and asks them, “What are you looking for?” It was the same thing Colonel Sanders was looking for. To be with Jesus and have Jesus in their hearts. They wanted to know Jesus, beyond just doing good. They wanted to know that they were forgiven and that Jesus would have mercy on them. They wanted to have the presence of Christ in their hearts. They wanted a deeper relationship than just knowing Christ existed and was good. Like many of us, they wanted their hearts to be connected to God through Jesus. They knew it was more than just doing good and working hard. It was a connection that creates a sense of finding what you are looking for.

One of Colonel Sanders’s famous quotes is “I lost half my vocabulary when I found Jesus, I had to stop cussing.”

One of Colonel Sanders’s famous quotes is “I lost half my vocabulary when I found Jesus, I had to stop cussing.” Matthew Henry called this experience “an awakened soul.” It is a communion between our souls and Christ. It is Christ who begins the conversation, by asking us, “What are you looking for?” When we hear this question in our inner castle, the process of fully accepting Jesus has begun. The conversation starts, and we begin the journey of leaving other thoughts behind. We begin to focus on answering this question. We search, we  look, and eventually we discover we are looking for the presence of Jesus in our hearts.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How do we feel Jesus?

What experiences of this have we had?

Have we found what we are looking for?

sunflower field

“And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.”

— Matthew 9:10

WHERE DO WE GET OUR INFORMATION AND JESUS

We are in the midst of a populist revolution. It is occurring in the worlds of politics, the marketplace, and our daily lives. Everyday people are changing the landscape of politics, both in the USA and the world. Companies that didn’t exist a few years ago are growing explosively. We can change a company’s direction with favorable reviews we post online. What is driving this democratization is our access to information and our ability to affect information. The Internet has allowed us to reach outside our own private sphere and state our opinions to a larger audience. The common person is emerging as a driving force for all aspects of our world.

“What and how we believe was modeled by Jesus, two thousand years ago.”

But we are at a crossroads. What do we do with all this information? Who do we listen to? Are we influencers or followers? The avalanche of information has transformed journalism into editorializing versus news reporting. We sift out what we agree with and ignore the rest.  Greater divides are being created within our society. Our religious elite assert what we should believe. What and how we believe was modeled by Jesus, two thousand years ago.

“Jesus knows that among the common people resides the majority of humankind.”

In today’s verse we notice Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners. In the ancient Judean world, the tax collectors were considered the thugs of the marketplace. Sinners ate with Jesus because they wanted instruction and guidance. The religious elite of this period frowned upon these dinners. They felt pure and righteous. Sinners were welcomed by Jesus because they had made an honest assessment of their spiritual state. They knew they were not accepted by the elite. They were tired of being told about their sin; they wanted a voice. Jesus knows that among the common people resides the majority of humankind.

“With the voice of the Holy Spirit we talk directly to God when we read the Bible.”

When we consider the original twelve apostles, we notice that none are from the religious elite. They are fishermen, a tax collector, a Zealot; they are from the masses. They were given the chance to be influencers. Jesus picked ordinary people because they knew the unvarnished life. They knew the details of everyday living. They knew the struggle of paying bills and tending flocks. In effect, Jesus “democratized” God for us. Today, Jesus is still with us in the Bible. Our direct source of information. Reading the Bible removes the requirement of listening to what others tell us to think. With the voice of the Holy Spirit we talk directly to God when we read the Bible. The information we most need is there.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What is a “red lettered” Bible?

Where do we get our Christian information?

Whom do we discuss the Bible with?

ocean scene

“Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

— John 2:16

DO YOU USE GOD OR DOES GOD USE YOU?

Strive Masiyiwa is one of the leading African industrialists. In the 1980s, while still in his twenties, he started a telecom company in Zimbabwe with seventy-five dollars. Over time the company grew and became a force in his country, until the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, issued an order that would effectively bankrupt Strive’s company. He went on to fight the ruling and win, while at the brink of bankruptcy. In 1998 the company, now called Econet Wireless, had its first cellphone subscriber. Econet has gone on to operate in twenty countries and was a key driver in bringing cellphone service to Africa.

During the recent Ebola outbreak, he set up funding sources to help fight the deadly disease. Amid all of this he reads the Bible every day.

What we should know about Strive is that he is a born again Christian. Each year he funds the education of forty thousand orphans. He has provided one hundred thousand scholarships. Strive is one of the ten members of the African Progress Panel that advocates for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. He is a member of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s initiative called the “The Giving Pledge.” During the recent Ebola outbreak, he set up funding sources to help fight the deadly disease. Amid all of this he reads the Bible every day.

Beyond the ethics of using God to take advantage of people, there was a defilement of the sacred. A dangerous game of commerce.

Jesus said today’s words when he discovered that the local merchants were using the great temple of Jerusalem as an ancient shopping mall. Beyond that, the merchants were taking advantage of those worshipping in the temple, by overcharging on items they needed for worship. Travelers would need to convert their foreign coins into the local currency, but were charged inflated rates. People would need to buy doves for worship, but were charged above market prices. The merchants had a ready-made market. God’s market. Beyond the ethics of using God to take advantage of people, there was a defilement of the sacred. A dangerous game of commerce.  

Jesus wants us to make a living by having God in our lives, but cautions us not to make a living at God’s expense.

Jesus wasn’t angry because of the commerce, Jesus was angry because merchants were taking advantage of people who were living out their faith. Certainly, Jesus knew people had to make a living. In fact, over 80 percent of his parables relate to the marketplace in some manner. It was how they were earning their livelihood that Jesus was railing against. On one hand we have Strive Masiyiwa, who became wealthy and gives back to God’s people. On the other hand, we have merchants using God to make money and take advantage of God’s people. Jesus wants us to make a living by having God in our lives, but cautions us not to make a living at God’s expense.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How do we make a living with God in our lives?

What is Jesus’s perspective on earning a living?

“The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’”

—Luke 24:5

REFRAMING OUR LIVES

In the business book Who Moved My Cheese? there are four characters: two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two humans, Hem and Haw. Each day the four went to a cheese pile and ate. Over time the pile dwindled and eventually disappeared. Hem and Haw, while noticing the pile was dwindling, did little to find more cheese. Sniff and Scurry set out and found a new cheese station. As time moved on, Hem and Haw became terrified, and resorted to anger, denial, and blaming to account for their situation. They debated and discussed their next moves, but couldn’t get themselves to move.

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Over time, as hunger became a real issue, they eventually started looking for a new pile. The process was laborious and tedious. They debated endlessly their various options. Eventually, Hem found the pile that Sniff and Scurry had told them about, called Cheese Station N. As their mindset began to change, Hem and Haw created quotes like “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” Slowly, over time, they began to reframe their view of life and to recognize the need to constantly look at things differently.

“The Angels reminded the women that Jesus had told them that on the third day he would arise.”

The women had arrived at the tomb of Jesus and found his body missing. Two angels suddenly appeared and the women were terrified. They had been looking for a body and it was gone! All they had known was in disarray. Where had the body gone? The angels gave them a clue, that Jesus was among the living and not the dead. He had risen. The Angels reminded the women that Jesus had told them that on the third day he would arise. They had heard this directly from Jesus, but hadn’t understood him. When he had spoken to them, what he said didn’t fit with what they had previously experienced. It was too hard to comprehend. But now they saw it and remembered his words.

“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”

Life is like this a lot. Change is inevitable. Those of us who can reframe the events of life quickly, move quickly. While others of us remain terrified of change. We stay rooted in the past and take on a cynical view of the change. We hem and haw about why we have to change. We resist, but change is inevitable. The more we resist, the greater our fear. The story of the risen Jesus changes this paradigm. It invites us to embrace change. As Haw said, “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” This is true with both the Resurrection and the smaller events of our lives. The Resurrection is a reframing of our relationship with God. A God for the living and not the dead. A hopeful future with Jesus. In the smaller events of our lives, this is true as well. When we reframe our circumstances, we reframe our actions. Many times it is fear that holds us back. Moving past this fear reframes our future.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What is our biggest fear?

How does a different perspective help with our fear?

Is our fear real?

“Pray then in this way: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

– Matthew 6:9-13

PRAYER

While I was discussing prayer with a business friend of mine, he related to me his morning practice. Each morning on his bike ride he would recite the Lord’s Prayer. Previously he had struggled with how to pray and what to pray for. He discovered the Lord’s Prayer and noted that this was Jesus’s example of prayer. So he incorporated this prayer into his bike ride and later would also say it in other quiet times of the day. Over time he felt that he was just reciting the lines and not being sincere. He began to change the words to reflect his understanding of the prayer. For instance, instead of saying “Our father in heaven,” he would replace it with “God our creator” or something similar. Or instead of saying “Give us this day our daily bread,” he would say “Feed me your words of wisdom.” This kept the prayer fresh for my friend and helped him explore his relationship with God.

The Lord’s Prayer appears two times in the Bible, first in Matthew 6:9–13 and a shorter form in Luke 11:2–4. The version in Matthew is part of the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke, Jesus uses the prayer to explain to his disciples how to pray. In both cases it contains the elements that are important in a prayer of petition. First, praising and recognizing God. Then petition. There are three petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. The first is for the substance to live a godly life, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This can mean food, spiritual guidance, or personal strength. The second is asking God to “forgive our debts,” or sins and that’s followed quickly by our taking responsibility for forgiving our neighbor’s debts or sins. The third petition is for protection. Protection from evil but also from the temptations of evil. Over time the prayer has morphed into longer forms that place further emphasis on the sovereign nature of God. For instance, many endings add something along the lines of “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever more.” The verse quoted at the top of the blog is a direct quote from the NKJV Bible.

“Jesus gives us The Lord’s Prayer as a basic prayer that will open up our prayer life.”

Many of us struggle with how, what, and when to pray. Jesus gives us The Lord’s Prayer as a basic prayer that will open up our prayer life. In the marketplace, where many are pressed for time, this prayer is easily memorized and can be said many times throughout the day. The prayer is easily adaptable to our personal circumstances. My friend learned how to say the prayer with creativity and tailor it to his day. God does not want us to just say the prayer from memory, God wants this prayer to be part of our personal relationship with him. It is okay to use the prayer as a template and expand it to fit into our own connection with God. Following the parameters of the Lord’s Prayer and remembering to say “In Jesus name I pray” at the end of every prayer were the only two things my friend needed in his prayer life.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Do we pray by rote or from our hearts?

Are we remembering to praise God?

Are we willing to accept God’s answer?

forgiveness

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

— Luke 23:34

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT

Printed on every receipt, L.L.Bean’s return policy reads: “Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that is not completely satisfactory.” It’s true, this is exactly what L.L.Bean means. There are countless stories about people returning things many years later and getting their money back. No questions asked and no hassles. Live Christmas wreaths that have turned brown or slippers worn out in the sole—L.L.Bean will refund you your money.

“Successful businesses index to trust and an attitude of forgiveness.”

Sure there has been abuse. You can read about these stories on the Internet. L.L.Bean sees it differently. They see a customer they have to satisfy. Each employee knows the rules and issues a credit with no questions asked. Successful businesses index to trust and an attitude of forgiveness. They avoid judging their customers and look for ways to give their customers the benefit of the doubt. They surely know there is abuse, but they look the other way. They look to satisfy and put themselves in their customers’ shoes. They believe in their customers and have done so for over 104 years. They remain one of America’s most successful retailers.

“Forgiveness is one of the major tenets of Christian belief.”

Jesus likewise implores us to have a forgiving heart. A heart that does not judge, but searches for a different view. With this attitude we take a position that all people have value. That people make mistakes, not because of inherent evil, but because of a lack of knowledge. Jesus says, “They don’t know what they are doing.” By admitting this, we make it easier to forgive. We assign a value of humanity to the individual. We avoid the argument of telling someone he or she is wrong. Instead, we provide an example of Christian action. Forgiveness is one of the major tenets of Christian belief. It removes judgment and seeks an understanding of the offender. For L.L.Bean, the customer is always right.

“Businesses with the most lenient return policies are also the most successful.”

How many of us have been duped? We know the cost, and it is the most difficult position to be put in as a business. A position where we have to make a decision out of anger or out of kindness. But what if we knew more about the offender’s backstory? What if we knew about why the person acted that way on this day? What caused him or her to behave in a way we found offensive? Businesses that have a reputation of good customer service choose to give their customers the benefit of the doubt. They know there might be abuse, but they also know they have to forgive. Businesses with the most lenient return policies are also the most successful. Their hearts are aligned with the adage “The customer is always right.”

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How many chances do we give people?

How many should we?

Do we know the rest of their story?

path to spiritual freedom

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

— Luke 23:43

THE CHOICES WE MAKE

A business friend of mine, Bill,  related to me his story of accepting Christ. He had been troubled for a very long time that his life was out of control. Bill’s business gave him a lengthy “to do” list every day. He had stocks he had to keep track of weekly. He was a father and a husband. He was constantly pulled in numerous directions by outside interests. He felt he had nothing left that was worthy to give. He described this moment in his life as one of abject despair. He wasn’t sure why he felt this way. His job paid well. His financial situation was strong. But his spirit was beaten. He needed to turn in a different direction. He began reading the Bible and attending church, to look for answers. Slowly he saw a different life. A life with Christ that didn’t require a hyper-vigilant focus. A life that was more outward and less inward.

“Bill had stepped back and his vision improved.”

Bill  gave up reading newspapers. He gave up creating lengthy “to do” lists. His focus on money abated. His list of worries dwindled. He became focused on his community and family. What he discovered was that he didn’t need to read the newspaper every day. Bill discovered that his employees could do their own “to do” lists. He discovered that his excessive attention to detail wasn’t needed. Life still came at him in waves, but he was better equipped to handle the stress. His focus became that of what he could control, and he left the rest to those who were better equipped. Bill had stepped back and his vision improved.

“The one who acknowledges Christ receives the path to spiritual freedom.”

Today’s verse was directed to one of the two criminals who were dying on their crosses next to Jesus. One man mocked Jesus and implored him to prove he was God, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other man rebuked his companion by stating that they belonged on the cross, but Jesus didn’t. In turn he asked Jesus to save him and let him into the Kingdom. Jesus agreed and spoke the words in today’s verse, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was simple for one and impossible for the other. The one who acknowledges Christ receives the path to spiritual freedom. The other remained stuck in his past and couldn’t accept there was a different way. A way of being released. A way of spiritual freedom. A way to see life from a different perspective.

“Jesus offers us another way to live life.”

Our challenges may be not nearly as dramatic as the scene on the cross, but they can require a change in the choices we make. We all at various times have to choose what we follow. Do we continue to be slaves to a world that pushes us into deeper detail? Do we choose to try and control every facet of our lives? Do we continue to let faraway events affect our being? Jesus offers us another way to live life. Another choice versus our current life. Jesus offers paradise. A way that will still have hardships, details, and worries, but will change our perspective on what is important. We will turn away from a world that we can never satisfy, toward one that holds promise. Life will still happen regardless of our choice, but how we handle life will change. Our choice will make us more available to our neighbor, a better parent, and a better spouse. We will turn from fearing that we have missed something to an embracing of the good we can do. We all have this choice.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What are the difficult choices we have to make?

How do we make these choices?

Can Jesus help?

cloud over the ocean

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

— Luke 22:46

STAYING AWAKE

As we passed each hurdle in our recovery at Foot Locker, I would often rest and reflect on what we had just accomplished. But as with any company in recovery, danger lurked around every corner. Inevitably, Giovanna Cipriano would come to visit and tell me about the next obstacle. I would become crestfallen and want to give up. But Giovanna was always clear that here was what we needed to do. I would eventually listen, gather up the team, and tell them about the next hurdle. They would grumble, saying things like “Here we go again.” A new goal was created and we had another trial to get through. We always grumbled and complained. But we always got through the trial.

“Her efforts to keep us awake were critical to our success.”

Giovanna was our lookout. An extraordinarily smart executive. She was promoted to being our chief accounting officer before the age of thirty. She was always on guard for danger and very adept at spotting trouble ahead of its arrival. Not only did she have my respect, but she had that of her peers and our board. She was always right. Her efforts to keep us awake were critical to our success. While I dreaded seeing her in my office, I knew after a certain amount of grumbling that I would have to respond. We survived because she kept us awake.

“Jesus tells us to get up and act. He knows danger is lurking around the corner.”

Jesus gives us very sound business advice: Stay awake, so that you don’t get into trouble. He implores us to act. Jesus tells us to get up and act. He knows danger is lurking around the corner. In warning us he gives us three directives. First, don’t fall asleep, don’t become satisfied with yesterday. Second, act, be aware of the importance of staying busy, continuing to work hard. Third, pray faithfully, petition God to protect us and guide us in our honorable activities, pray that we remain vigilant, active, and purposeful. In this remedy, we can avoid trial.

“Eventually, we were no longer financially troubled and actually thriving.”

At Foot Locker, it seemed that for three years we were always jumping to fix one crisis after another. After each of these events, there would be a period of relief, where we could take a respite. This was usually followed by Giovanna telling us about something new that threatened our existence. Eventually, we were no longer financially troubled and actually thriving. However, while our dangers became more spaced out, they still existed. Giovanna still warned us, we still acted. We thrived.

Jesus give us our remedy. To stay vigilant, to remain active, and to pray. With all of this we begin to avoid times of trial.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What are our trials and how could they have been avoided?

How do we stay awake?

hot air balloons

“. . . but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

— Luke 22:32

TURNING BACK

In the early thirties of the last century, Germany was mired in fourteen years of hyperinflation, political turmoil, and poverty, as a result of World War I. What emerged was a Nazi regime that slowly gained control over their society, led by Adolf Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young Lutheran theologian, stood up against this acceptance of the Nazis. He preached against them in the great Lutheran church in Berlin. Over time, the Nazis seized control of the Lutheran Church and were able to have the Catholic Church look away.  In response, Bonhoeffer helped start a new church, called the Confessing Church. He organized a clandestine seminary to train young German pastors. In time the Nazi regime then closed the seminary and tightened its grip on every aspect of German life. Fearing for Bonhoeffer’s safety, his friends encouraged him to go to New York City, were he would be safe. He went.

“Bonhoeffer could not shake the thought that he needed to turn back.”

While in New York, however, he remained unsettled. In spite of his wide acceptance and support by leading  American theologians, Bonhoeffer could not shake the thought that he needed to turn back. He returned to Germany in 1939 and continued to speak out against Hitler. He was part of one of many attempts to overthrow the Nazi regime. Captured finally, he was thrown into prison, but he continued his ministry there, with both the other prisoners and the guards. In fact, many of the guards went to Bonhoeffer for spiritual help. Two weeks before the end of the war and the elimination of Nazi rule, he was executed. His executioner described his death as one of peace. A peace the executioner had not witnessed before. Bonhoeffer had turned back.

“Giving up our safety for a noble cause is a hard decision, made easier when we follow the ways of Christ.”

Hidden in today’s verse are the words spoken to Peter by Jesus, “. . . and you, when once you have turned back . . .” Jesus knew that Peter would turn away. He was also sure Peter would turn back. He knew the crisis in faith would occur. Jesus knows that it will occur in each of us as well. Giving up our safety for a noble cause is a hard decision, made easier when we follow the ways of Christ. We want to be safe, but are left with a nagging feeling. We know we have let someone down. Our character fights with us. We are unsettled until we turn back and complete our task. When we do, we strengthen ourselves and others.

“…we all will have to turn back and confront our foe.”

Most people don’t have to confront the terror of Nazi Germany. But we will all have something we need to turn back to. A troubled friend or perhaps a difficult business situation, but we all will have to turn back and confront our foe. Jesus knew Peter would turn away and come back. Bonhoeffer also could never escape his mission. Similarly, we all have that thing that we need to turn back to. Maybe it isn’t as dramatic, but it nags us.  Our peace will only come when we turn back.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What situations do we have to turn back to?

What holds us back?

Why does going back soothe us?

ocean

“. . . and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.”

— Luke 22:11–12

AUDACIOUS REQUESTS

I remember seeing her, Beth Caulfield, in class at Drew University Theological School . I immediately knew she was from the business world. My old world. She was dutiful, serious, and committed to learning her new craft. I knew she would get an A. She did. Later, after we graduated, I received an assignment to assemble and hire the best Methodists in New Jersey for a new group being set up to help the larger church. The existing clergy gave me over fifty names to interview. I needed to hire five. I personally talked with all that were on the list and began to hire the five I thought were the best fit. Then Beth called and asked if she could interview. But she hadn’t been on the list. She persisted and I conducted one more interview.

“She wasn’t part of the crowd, but she knew that wasn’t important. What was important, she knew she could help.”

We hired Beth. But she hadn’t been recommended by the clergy, I was told. They also told me she was pushy and not part of the crowd. True she didn’t speak their language. True she was from a faraway place, called the business world. She wasn’t pushy, she was using her skills learned in another world. She wasn’t part of the crowd, but she knew that wasn’t important. What was important, she knew she could help. She wasn’t afraid of disappointment. Her past had told her to ignore rejection. Her past had told her to ask. But her past had also told her to be polite and humble. She was only following rules she had learned in a different place.

“Jesus knows that when we serve God faithfully, we are not disappointed.”

Imagine Jesus sending a few people into town to ask for a room. A room where he would meet for the last time on earth with his disciples. A request that we might view as audacious. But not to Jesus. He knew there would be no disappointment. He knew that the room was to serve God. Jesus knows that when we serve God faithfully, we are not disappointed. God emboldens us to make the request, and the request will be granted. Jesus did meet in this upper room. Beth did get her job.

“Fear of disappointment is the biggest obstacle to success.”

Fear of disappointment is the biggest obstacle to success. It is the fear of being rejected. Perhaps even humiliated. We all confront it every day. We have to ask and we get nervous. Rejection is a very high form of humiliation. Jesus modeled the ability to ask without fear. He put his purpose ahead of disappointment. His goal was divine and his request fit a practical need. In business, we don’t always have divine goals, but we always have goals. When our goals help our neighbor, our customers, or our company, we should ask. When our goals are honorable, we should ask. Our own fear of disappointment prevents us from asking, but Jesus modeled how to request, and Beth followed.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What do we fear when we ask?

Is our request honorable?

How do we ask?