THE CHRISTIAN WORK ETHIC NEWSLETTER
In my book A Worker Need Not Be Ashamed, I refer to the sin of omission which is frequently committed by employees and employers. This occurs when someone tells part of the truth but leaves out pertinent information which results in a partial truth that can only be called a lie.
This ugly sin often shows itself when companies hide information concerning monetary matters that directly impact their employees. I know because I worked for one such organization which had an excellent retirement system.
Throughout many years, we were told that our retirement money was perfectly safe and if an employee left the company he or she could elect to receive an annual pension OR a lump sum distribution. Since inflation can eat away a pension that does not have an annual increase for cost of living, a lump sum far outweighs the alternative because it can be further invested for future growth. You can then pay yourself a pension from a continual growing plan.
Soon after my employer went into bankruptcy this benefit quickly became a hush - hush subject. However, I learned the rest of the story when an employee visited the web site of Pension Guaranty Insurance Corporation, a government agency which is suppose to insure pensions. To my surprise, I found that if a company finds it can no longer fund its pension plan because of financial difficulty or simply elects to terminate the benefit, workers may not be able to receive a lump sum payment including their own personal contributions to the plan. Furthermore, upon your death, guess who keeps all your money? Yes he is your Uncle Sam!
I also learned that if you want to find out if your company has sufficient funds with Pension Guaranty Insurance Corporation to pay out to terminated employees, this may be as difficult as getting an appointment with President Bush! It is one of the best kept secrets in America!
After discovering this truth on their own, hundreds and hundreds of worried workers left my employer because of the fear of losing control over their retirement benefit. This benefited the bankrupt employer since the hush-hush policy helped reduce the payroll without having to fire these workers. However, this was a sorry excuse for not being honest about the true status of one's future retirement benefit.
If Congress wishes to help the American worker, it should pass legislation requiring that this government corporation release information at least quarterly concerning the status of specific pension plans. American workers deserve no less than the full truth! If your company's retirement plan is under Pension Guaranty Insurance Corporation, I urge you to join me in contacting our respective congressional representatives and urge them to sponsor such legislation!
The Enron story should convince you that many companies can not be trusted to tell employees the rest of the story. Yours may be one of these so don't delay or you may have to pay a dreaded price!
A QUIET BUT WONDERFUL WORKER MINISTRY!
In February 2003, I left a corporation in which I had served as a Director of Human Resources Development for 32 years. Forty eight hours after leaving, I joined the staff of Blakey Hall, an outstanding assisted living facility in Elon, North Carolina.
This is normally my "quiet ministry" about which I do not engage in alot of publicity. However, during this celebration of Christ's birthday it is my pleasure to tell you that Blakey Hall has become one of my precious Christmas gifts for 2003.
Working as a certified nursing assistant, it is my pleasure to assist elderly individuals in numerous ways ranging from checking vital signs to serving meals.
After having taken care of my grandmother in earlier years, I feel I have adopted many grandmas and granddads! All of our residents are precious and wonderful people made by God. In addition, I serve along side some outstanding employees who have dedicated themselves to serving others.
This experience is giving me more humility and has further amplified to me what Jesus Christ meant when he said "I have come to serve - not to be served"!
A STRANGE KIND OF BUSINESSMAN!
Rick Martin of Burlington, North Carolina might be described as a strange business man -- strange because his brand of quality service has almost become extinct in America. When I first contacted Rick about my need for a web site, he spent several hours of his time getting to know me and learning about my ministry. As a Christian business person, he immediately identified with my obsession with the Christian work ethic and then worked many hours on this project.
Perhaps his greatest attribute is integrity. Because of the nature of the project, I had no choice but to trust Rick to deliver a quality product. This web site is proof that this individual subscribes to the Christian work ethic as he works feverishly to serve his customers!
Jesus Christ said that He came to this earth not to be served but to serve. All of us who serve customers have a blessed and unique opportunity to do no less in our mission on this earth!
Because he has found his calling and subscribes to this wonderful lesson from the Savior, Rick Martin is truly a worker who need not be ashamed!
A CHRISTmas MESSAGE
Wow! I can't believe Christmas is already here!
Sound familiar? So many of us live such busy lives, a year from one Christmas to the next often feels like a few days! Unfortunately, the pace of living further increases during the season which is suppose to be reserved for celebrating Christ's birthday.
In fact, it appears that CHRIST in CHRISTmas becomes so remote. The point is that we just don't seem to have much time for HIM even at his birthday because we're so engaged in buying presents, decorating trees, and engaging in other secular activities.
Suppose your friends and family ignored YOUR birthday! Do you suppose your feelings would be hurt?
Christ is not an object. He is an eternal being who also has enormous feelings about us and how we celebrate his magnificent birth.
Let me suggest that each of us workers slow down and reflect on the true reason for the season. For me, I have found that extending Thanksgiving into Christmas helps me dwell on the Christ child. It is because of the Christ in CHRISTmas that I can truly be thankful.
I am thankful that He came to this earth to save my soul from hell! I am thankful that He provided my Christian grandmother who raised me and instilled the value of the Christian work ethic in me! I am thankful that He has provided me with excellent health and employment since the age of nine! I am thankful that He has allowed me to work for managers who have recognized my strengths and helped me work on my weaknesses! I am thankful that He has enabled me to use my talents and abilities to create Worker Ministries through which I can serve Him by helping other workers all of the remaining days of my life!
Thank you Jesus and Happy Birthday to you my Savior and creator of the universe!
And, to my readers and clients for whom I perform consulting work, I pray that you will keep Christ in CHRISTmas and that you will have a safe and joyful holiday season!
Jim Hogsett, President/Founder; Worker Ministries and Writer for Guideposts Magazine