Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Working with People

The hardest part of life, work, and ministry…hands down…is working with people. People are crabby, impatient, imperfect, cranky, hard to please, demanding, selfish…need I go on? I think you get the picture. Yeah, sometimes people are great. On those days everything is great. The question is,

“How do you work with people when things aren’t great?”

Christiana’s Keys for Working with People
1. Be Patient
2. Show them the Love of God
3. Treat them how you would want to be treated

Be Patient
“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29
“A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

I know, this is easier said than done, but this doesn’t make it any less important. God shows us patience daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute. If God wasn’t patient, He would have wiped the earth clean of mankind a long, long time ago. He even thought about it a few times, but in the end He chose to show patience mixed with grace and mercy.

Show Them the Love of God
“You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” Matthew 5:43-46

A couple of weeks ago, I had a run in with a man on a motorcycle. My husband and I were driving home and were preparing to exit the highway when a guy on a motorcycle must have thought that I cut him off on purpose. Needless to say, he did not re-act very well. He sped up to be equal with Jimmy’s window and began cursing and flipping us the bird. Not satisfied with the reaction he received, he proceeded to pull in front of us and slam on his brakes. This continued for about 5 minutes and I almost rear-ended him several times. All the while he was still cussing up a storm and giving us profane hand signals. Finally, satisfied that he had traumatized us enough he sped off into the distance and we were able to safely exit the highway and proceed home.

I was really shook up by this encounter. I was thankful that God allowed me the presence of mind to keep an even temper and to not give the man’s poor behavior back to him. By the time he left I was really ready to rear end him. If I had done that it wouldn’t have brought any glory to God and could have caused serious injury to the man on the bike as well as Jimmy and I. I did my best to show him the love of God by not getting upset or cursing or flipping him off or hitting him or calling the cops. Hopefully he will someday learn about the love of Christ and will begin showing others the grace of God.

Treat Them How You Want to Be Treated
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

We have all heard the Golden Rule. Did you know that it comes from the Bible? I could go on and on and on about the way that Bible permeates pop culture without people even knowing it, but that’s a tangent and I will save it for another time. Anyway, this is a good rule of thumb on how to deal with other people. Seriously, why would you treat someone else in a way that you yourself would hate?! Yet, we do it ALL the time! I know that I really need to work on this principle. If we treated others with the same kindness, deference, esteem, and respect that we show ourselves then there wouldn’t be any wars or fighting or world hunger or people taking advantages of others. Wouldn’t that be great?

Christiana's Challenge to You
This week let’s start practicing patience, start showing others the love of God, and start treating others how we would want to be treated. It can only make the world better!


  1. We moved to a new church field. The people were fussing and fighting over a bus that had been bought and some thought it should be sold because it was a frivilous expense. My husband set about finding out about the bus ministry and started a wonderful ministry that reached out into the community. I found a teaching job, and we went about our business. I decided to invite the WMU to our house, since the church had purchased a new house when we went there with our four little kids and we didn't all fit in the ill-designed older parsonage.

    One of the "pillars of the church" came-- a lady who had taught Sunday School for years, worked in every facet of the church, etc. I still can see her as she walked past a shelf, looked at it in a disdainful way, and said, "Tell me, Mrs. Nobles, do you work because you want to or because you have to?"

    My first thought was to say, "If you would pay my husband what he is worth, I wouldn't have to." No, think of something else.

    "I really enjoy it". No, not a good answer.

    I finally said, "If I had my first choice, of course I would stay home, but I work because we need the money."

    Sometimes a pastor's wife has to use a lot of restraint.

    Juanita Nobles

  2. I totally know what you mean. Thankfully, I have never had that happen in my house before (of course our apartment is so small that we barely have anyone but students over) because I don't know if I would be as well "behaved" as church. It's just so much easier to blow a fuse and say the wrong thing when you are in your own home. Isn't that sad?