Weekly Thought – May 11, 2021
Fred valued brevity. He is well-known for pithy one-liners with great punch. The campus ministry (BWFLI) knows them as Fred Saids. It is not surprising he respected William Barclay’s five phrase prayer: “Lord, grant us: In our work, satisfaction, In our study, wisdom, In our pleasure, gladness, and In our love, loyalty.”
The focus of BWF Project, Inc. will pivot toward “preserving the work” during the next twelve months. Over 10,000 3×5 index cards with observations are now available. They will be archived for your benefit.
In Our Work, Satisfaction
William Barclay constructed a powerful prayer with minimum words and maximum impact. I want to think with you about the phrase “in our work, satisfaction.”
We all have to work; but unfortunately, we don’t all experience genuine satisfaction. Peter Drucker opened a lecture, “Gentlemen, let the task be the reward.” In these few words he pointed out pay is never the full reward for our work. It is a necessary secondary reward, but not the primary.
I played golf with a CEO after an 80 million dollar business loss. “I wasn’t in it just for the money. What I have done will live on in the industry.”
Mothers understand the emotional cost of raising children. They are not in it for the money. Mary Alice and I were in Blowing Rock, NC sitting across from the ice cream store and people watching. One young boy fussed and fumed as his Mother told him they were going home. “I don’t like you anymore,” he shouted. She quietly responded, “I will always like you, and we are still going home.” She understood the satisfaction of good parenting.
We who spent a great part of our lives building GENESCO lost a great deal of our personal money that we invested in the stock. When we get together, loss is not the major topic. We talk about “we did it” – going from 75 employees to 83,000. We took the volume to nearly $1.5 million in the 1960s. We were a bunch of Southern boys invading New York City and the world of apparel. When we got into the shoe business some of us had to learn to “wear ‘em, as well as make ‘em.” Often we would go to the plant, work all day, and then call each other at night excited about building a great corporation. That was satisfaction.
Professor Young at the 150th celebration of Guilford College stood, watching the procession of classes move through the auditorium… he was looking at forty years of students whose lives he had influenced. He knew satisfaction. Our host was Seth Macon, chairman of Guilford’s Board and recently retired SVP of Jefferson Pilot Companies. When I asked about his satisfaction in work he immediately said, “The present leaders are those I selected and trained.” He, like great dancers who leave their legacy on the stage, or artists who leave something great on canvases or composition paper have much in common with teachers and parents whose legacies are built into people.
Four elements of satisfactory work:
1) Sustainable income – though not primary, a life-supporting income is important.
2) Serves the common good – when our work has value for others we do what the Puritans called “fulfilling our calling.”
3) Sense of significance – what we do must have meaning and we are making a difference.
4) Stretches our development of personal uniqueness – our work should be founded on our talents, gifts, and design. If we do not make our contribution through our God-given uniqueness, we are wasting our life.
This week think carefully about: 1) How satisfied am I in my work? 2) What elements of my work need fine tuning to maximize satisfaction? 3) Who could benefit from these thoughts?
Words of Wisdom: “Often we would go to the plant, work all day, and then call each other at night excited about building a great corporation.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NET Bible)