Saturday, February 9, 2013
The Economics of the 10 Commandments (Part 3)
By setting aside one day a week to honor God we remind ourselves of values beyond our day-to-day existence. From those values we find wellsprings of honesty and restraint that keep us from putting material things above decent behavior. It also shows that we are not slaves to work; rather work (like exercise or food) is our servant and is meant to provide for our needs.
Some of us have jobs that require us to work on Sunday, which for most of us is the traditional Christian Sabbath day. Does that mean that we cannot live a good life without stopping our work on the Sabbath? Of course not, remember that the Rabbi, Priest, or Minister works on the Sabbath! Nurses, Doctors, Firefighters, Policemen and many others must work on the Sabbath day too. The key element is to remember to put God before worldly demands and ourselves. Doing this simple sounding exercise will help us to keep the worlds demands in perspective and guide our actions with honesty and fairness. These are an outward expression of the principles in our hearts.
In most Judeo-Christian faith traditions, one day a week is set aside to rest and honor God. It’s the one day a week we all should refrain from business, work or any activities that hinder our worship of God, works of mercy, and our mental and physical relaxation. The Sabbath should also be a day we spend nurturing our relationships with our families and loved ones. Like sleep deprivation, over the long run you’ll become burned-out and less productive if you don’t set aside one day a week—the Sabbath—to recharge your physical, spiritual and emotional batteries.
Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A restaurants, wanted to ensure that every employee and operator of his restaurants had an opportunity to worship, spend time with family and friends as well as rest from the work week; so he mandated that all Chick-fil-A restaurants be closed on Sundays. Closing all Chick-fil-A restaurants every Sunday makes the company a rarity in this day and age of corporate greed, but it's a little habit that has served the owners, managers, and employees of Chick-fil-A for over 50 years.
When Allen and I served in the military, we really came to appreciate our Sundays off (or half day off if we had duty). Even the U.S. Government has realized that you can't work your people to death. Solders, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are more effective if they're given at least one day off to rest, relax, and recharge.
In addition to honoring God on the Sabbath day, we should also try to set aside some time each day to remember God and keep him foremost in our thoughts. In that way, we will keep his precepts for living and it will help us overcome the temptation to take those shortcuts that lead to dishonesty, unethical behavior, and immorality.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The Economics of the 10 Commandments (Part 2)
The 2nd Commandment
Thou shall not take the name of the LORD in vain (Ex 20.7; Deut 5.11, NAB). You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not swear falsely…but I say to you, do not swear at all (Mt 5.33-34, NAB).”
Most people, even non-Christians, recognize that the words we use help identify who we are to those around us, and that many are offended by the regular use of profanity and obscenity. Speaking with thoughtfulness and respect draws people to us because they know, even if it’s at the subconscious level, that we respect ourselves, and with self-respect comes the ability to respect others.
For better or for worse, we judge the value of an idea by how well it is presented. The slicker the speaker, the smoother the presentation, then the more likely we are to accept what was said. The eye catching glossy brochure is more likely to sell us a product than a less well-prepared presentation. The words that come out of our mouths reflect the attitudes on the inside and we must guard against falling into the bad habit of sloppy speech. Most of us have misjudged another’s intelligence because that individual didn’t speak well, had a limited vocabulary, poor grammar, or a regional accent. By the same measure, we will be judged by those around us based on the words we use. In the letter from St. James (3.3-5, NIV) he describes an important corollary to this commandment:
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
This commandment is more than just not taking the Lord’s name in vain. By not using profanity or obscenity in our daily speech, and by keeping an attitude of respect for God, yourself, and those around you, you will automatically help create a more pleasant and productive working environment. This attitude of respect will also help you to act in an honest and professional manner when making business decisions.
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