It’s that time of year again- time for your annual tax
return filings. As I recently worked on mine and chatted with a friend, I reflected on my 2006 "life W-2."
Early last year, I realized there were other things I wanted on my
W-2 – more freedom, more time with my family, more time to
pursue educational opportunities, more time to myself, and more
time to feel rested and refreshed. In the frenetic pace of the
church ministry where I served, I was losing the ability to have
those other things I needed.
I began my ministry consulting firm shortly afterward. As with
all new businesses, it’s a lot of work in the “building mode,”
yet I totally enjoy it. I have the freedom to serve in
ministry, but also to do the other things God has called me to
do. And while I may temporarily sacrifice some amount on my
W-2, the rewards are more than worth it.
I further reflected on this idea of my life W-2 when I saw an
interesting show on MS-NBC recently called “Catch Him
If You Can.” I believe it was a true story of a con-man named
Christopher Rocancote, who passed himself off successfully for a
number of years as Christopher Rockefeller, of the well-known
Rockefeller family. Before being caught, this man scammed
millions of dollars from many, inviting them to participate in
joint ventures where he promised great returns.
When the journalist asked how it was possible for him to get away
with this for so long, Rocancote remarked that he played off of
people’s greed. He said the people who were the wealthiest
still wanted more, and their greed blinded them, allowing him to
continue to deceive them. These people lost all of the money
they invested with Rocancote, along with experiencing
humiliation due to their naiveté. Many did not sue him out of
their personal embarrassment.
Clearly, these people measured, to a great extent, their
significance and personal worth by the amount of their financial
holdings. This is an easy trap to fall into, as we all receive many marketing messages about what we own, what else we need to be happy, and so on.
How about you? Where do you place your personal worth, and what
messages do you receive every day about your significance? Are
they based on the amount on your W-2, or even the size of
your church or ministry? Many can struggle to feel significant if their focus is on these things.
Although many of this publications’ readers are around the
country, many reside right here in Washington, D.C. This city
is a place where affluence, but most especially power, reigns.
Many of the nation’s best and brightest come here to be
significant – to make their mark and to make an impact in the
nation’s capitol. And they are willing to sacrifice much to do
so – sometimes too much.
Yet Scripture tells us it is God who grants us significance and even to earn the wealth that we do. Deut. 8:18
teaches, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives
you the ability to produce wealth….” And God is the One who
gives us our skills and either allows or prevents us from
gaining prominence…..”Do you see a man skilled in his work? He
will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men
(Prov. 22:29). Prov. 8:15 reinforces this, “By me [God] kings
reign and rulers make laws that are just, as does Jer. 1:10 –
“See, today I [the LORD] appoint you over nations and kingdoms
to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and
Where then is the right emphasis for our personal worth? Where
can we seek and find significance? Scripture has helpful
guidelines we can follow. Jer. 9:23-24 tells us not only where
not to place our pride, but where we are to place our focus and
energy. “This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man
boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or
the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast
about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the
LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on
earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.
We learn that our greatest joy is in knowing God and in our relationship with Him. His promise to us in this relationship
is that …”neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither
height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
Perhaps many of you have never experienced this type of unconditional love and acceptance. If only those individuals deceived by Rocancote knew God in a personal way and that
they could already have significance as a child of His, perhaps
they would not have been as vulnerable.... Maybe they would not
have felt compelled to seek significance apart from Him.
Many of you have the daily privilege of helping others find this relationship with God as part of your role as pastors. Others
who receive this may still be searching for that personal
relationship. The wonderful offer Christ gives to us is that through a personal relationship with Him, we can have eternal life forever in heaven with Him. We just have to ask Him into our hearts and trust His promises. As we do so, and keep our focus on Him and His priorities for us, we'll find we're more than satisfied with our "life's W-2."
Maximizing Tomorrow's Leaders Today
March Teleseminar - Is Your Leadership Culture Healthy?
Monday, March 5, 2007, 7 pm - 8 pm EST, 6 p.m. CST / 5 PST
Our guests will be senior pastors, Chuck Larsen of Country Bible Church in Blair, Nebraska, and Will Langstaff of The Servant House in Lewisville, Texas. Chuck and Will were on the team with Suzanne as they studied a dynamic Texas church featured in January's issue of Leadership Tips. Pastor Chuck and Pastor Will plan to talk online with Suzanne discussing the journey this Texas church took in the areas of empowering leaders, community outreach, and financial stewardship. These key changes have enabled this dynamic church to become the healthy and thriving ministry it is today.
Some of the leadership lessons learned in this church can apply to leadership teams in corporate or other organizations as well.
When you register, you'll also receive a complimentary copy of this case study and a CD of the call for your future use.
To enroll, purchase Teleseminar 2: Is Your Church's Leadership Culture Healthy? from shop.
Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in next month's Relationship Tips. I always want to hear your feedback and desire for this e-zine to enrich your lives and relationships.
Relationship Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.
You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.
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