Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Independence Day

Volume 4 No. 226 July 3, 2014

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Jesus the Redeemer, Brazil
Statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the
World Cup Competition is being held in 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (July 6)

Bible Readings For The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_4th_sunday-after-pentecost.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (July 6)

Sermons For The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_4th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

3. Inspiration for Today: A Beautiful Doxology

Life is more than a grueling endurance test. Life is more than a survival game. Life is more than a coping competition. ..

4. Featured: Channels of Compassion: Reflection on St. Matthew 14:13-21

We'll probably never know for sure exactly what happened that day by the Sea of Galilee, but I think this might point us in a direction. When we remain excessively focused on maintaining our boundaries, when we stay in our fears that there will not be enough or perhaps we aren't good enough, when we just want to send others away to fend themselves, we inevitably withhold the loving kindness and compassion that we have been so generously given. On the other hand, when we let go our fears and concerns about our own well being - at least when the situation calls for it - and open our hearts to the people we encounter with a giving spirit, we become channels of the divine compassion that can have a truly miraculous effect. ...

5. Independence Day

If we spend some time reflecting on how we feel no longer to have to deal with judgment and burdens of guilt, then we can understand why Christianity is a religion of joy and confidence. It is a future oriented, not a backward oriented faith. It propels us away from ourselves to find those who themselves long to be set free. Such positive feelings clear the table for us as we seek now to understand oppression and freedom in the political sense. ...

6. Toward Freedom

But taking an honest look at how freedom is exercised in the Western world means turning a careful ear to this critique from those looking in from the outside. The belief that individual freedom to do, be, or say whatever we want is often cut off and isolated any thoughtfulness towards community consequences or responsibility. Sadly, freedom is rarely viewed as an opportunity to serve others. ...

7. The Sweetest Sound

There is a story that Hebrew families tell their children to help them understand the fourth commandment. The fourth commandment reads, "Six days you shall labor but on the seventh you shall rest." The story is called, "The Sweetest Sound." The main character in the story is King Ruben. It goes something like this. ...

8. Poem: The Irresistible Music of My Mind

9. Family Special: Your Unique Role

God has a unique place of ministry for each of us. It is important to your sense of fulfillment that you realize exactly where that place is. The key is to discover the roles you occupy in which you cannot be replaced, and then decide to be what God wants you to be in those roles. ...

10. Family Special: Work-Life Balance - Interesting Perspective from the CEO of PepsiCo

While interviewing Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, at the Aspen Ideas Festival Monday, David Bradley, who owns The Atlantic, asked two questions that elicited as frank a discussion of work-life balance as I've seen from a U.S. CEO. Below is a lightly edited transcript. ...

11. About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (July 6)

Sermons for This Sunday (July 6)
This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today: A Beautiful Doxology
Early one morning some years ago, Robert Raines got into his car and started driving through the mountains. There was no one on the road (at that time) as the mountains were quietly beginning a new day. The beautiful colors of autumn were splashed all over the trees. It was a magnificent and glorious sight as the early morning sun glistened upon the wonders of the mountains and the valleys below.

And then it happened… Robert Raines saw one of the most beautiful things he had ever witnessed in his life.

Right there at the very edge of that great mountain peak and facing the gorgeous valley below… was a young man in his early twenties with a trumpet pressed to his lips. And, do you know what he was playing? With his lungs expanded fully and releasing all of the energy in his soul, he was playing the Doxology on his trumpet!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

The point is clear: With all the stresses and problems in this life, still the truth is:

- We have so many doxologies to sing,
- So much to be grateful for,
- So many blessings to count.

The point is: Life is more than a grueling endurance test. Life is more than a survival game. Life is more than a coping competition.

So, you see… it's not enough to just escape the stress. It's not enough to just endure the stress. Thank God… there is another option…

Source: James W. Moore, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com

Featured: Channels of Compassion: Reflection on St. Matthew 14:13-21

by Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer, 2014

Gospel: Mt. 14:13-21 [1]

I think our generation must be the most analyzed generation of human beings in the history of the world. After all, psychology didn't even begin as a formal scientific discipline until the late 19th Century. And it didn't really take hold in our society as something helpful until the last 50 years or so. One of the results of the rising interest in the human being as a mental, emotional, and social creature is that there is now a fairly massive self-help movement. Much of this is good - for example various forms of 12-step programs have literally saved many lives. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be not so good.

One of the lessons of the self-help movement is that we have personal "boundaries" that we can maintain in our relationships with others. Again, this is a very healthy thing - especially in a culture like ours where people have been raised to be subservient to those around them, and wind up giving so much of themselves away that they have nothing left. But as with any helpful lesson, it has to be applied with care and thought, not just used as a hammer for any and every situation. When we apply that lesson with wisdom and compassion, I think we learn that there are times when we should maintain our boundaries and take good care of ourselves; and there are other times when we should set our needs and wants aside and offer kindness and care to those who are in need around us.

I think this is at least part of the lesson from our Gospel reading for this week. Jesus had given so much of himself to those around him that he withdrew to a deserted place to be alone. To make that happen, he took a boat from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. Now, I think we'd have to say that this was a good and wise choice on his part. He must have been tired from all he had been doing, and he was taking care of himself. But the crowds actually walked around the lake to find him. They literally took the long way around! And when they showed up, the Scripture says that he had compassion for them. It seems to me that Jesus' interaction with the crowds that followed him provides us with an example of the lesson that there is a time for self-care, but there is also a time for putting our own concerns aside and simply offering ourselves as channels of compassion for those around us who are in need.

The story that follows is intriguing, because although it is the only miracle of Jesus recounted by all four Gospels, there is also no mention of what actually happened to make the five loaves and two fish feed such a massive crowd! Some have suggested that the example of generosity inspired those in the crowd to share their food with others. We don't know that. Popular movies have depicted it as an instantaneous miracle - Jesus lifts the food in a basket to heaven to bless it, and when he brings it down the basket is overflowing with loaves and fishes. But we don't know that either. We really don't know and may never be able to explain how Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. [2]

What we do know is that initially the disciples wanted to send the crowds away. I would imagine they too were tired and wanted to have some down time. After all, the whole reason why they got in the boat and went to a deserted place was to be alone. Or perhaps, in their characteristic "little faith," they were afraid there would not be enough food. [3] Probably a pretty reasonable concern! And what we do know is that Jesus gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

This brings us no closer to explaining this story. But I wonder if it could be that it was in the act of the disciples being willing to put their own concerns aside and to simply give the food they had to the crowds that the miracle occurred? [4] We still don't know that for sure, but it does seem significant that the disciples who wanted to send everybody away turned around and served their food to the hungry crowds around them. And it would seem that the miracle happened somehow in giving. By setting aside their own concerns, their fears and their doubts, Jesus disciples became channels for God's miraculous work. Perhaps one of the lessons is that true miracles happen in ways we can never explain. [5]

We'll probably never know for sure exactly what happened that day by the Sea of Galilee, but I think this might point us in a direction. When we remain excessively focused on maintaining our boundaries, when we stay in our fears that there will not be enough or perhaps we aren't good enough, when we just want to send others away to fend themselves, we inevitably withhold the loving kindness and compassion that we have been so generously given. On the other hand, when we let go our fears and concerns about our own well being - at least when the situation calls for it - and open our hearts to the people we encounter with a giving spirit, we become channels of the divine compassion that can have a truly miraculous effect.

Our compassion, our loving kindness may be small and faltering, but if we will just give what we have, perhaps in the giving it will be multiplied to meet the needs. When we give compassion freely, it ripples out far beyond our ability to explain or even imagine. When we open ourselves to be channels of compassion, those streams of kindness and mercy that flow through us have an effect that only God knows.

References:

[1] © 2011 Alan Brehm. A sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Alan Brehm on 7/31/11 at First Presbyterian Church, Dickinson, TX and at A Community of the Servant-Savior Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX.

[2] Douglas Hare, Matthew, 165, says that all the efforts to "explain" the miracle "hardly do justice to the story in the Gospels."

[3] Cf. M. Eugene Boring, "The Gospel of Matthew," New Interpreters Bible 8:324.

[4] Cf. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 2.2:447, where he says that Jesus feeds the multitude "with the little that the apostles themselves have to offer them, and all that truly remains for them is to deliver and offer the much that He gives in the form of the little that they have to give."

[5] Cf. Charles L. Allen, "A Sermon: When Worlds Break Open," Encounter 65.1 (2004): 75.

Independence Day

by David Zersen

Gospel: John 8:31-36

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

FREED TO BE FREE

Introduction

Only once every seven years, the American Independence Day, July 4, falls on a Sunday. When that happens, Seminarians are usually taught to preach not about secular holidays, but on the assigned lesson for the Sunday. However, at times there are words and acts so profoundly religious in scope hovering around us, that if we don't reach out to grasp them and challenge their meanings, they will claim us for themselves - even take us by the throat.. Oppression and freedom are such words. These are words Americans have played political games with for centuries, but they have become urgent daily table conversation once again. That is not to say that we truly understand their meanings, however. Oppression is something we can only grasp in abstraction, so long have we lived free from it. Freedom, by contrast, is difficult to comprehend personally if we have not experienced its counterpart. Therefore, these two words to which the circumstances of the last year have given such importance, plead for definition. More importantly, they ask to be included when we talk about ultimate matters in the human community.

I would like to suggest that there are religious dimensions to these words, oppression and freedom, which we can indeed understand personally, and that without these personal understandings the more common secular or political definitions which currently fill our newspapers have no final meaning. We have, in fact, experienced dimensions of oppression from which we have been freed. The Scriptures are filled with such language, as is our Christian experience. Despite our occasional shyness about mixing matters of church and state, therefore, it would seem that a day when July Fourth falls on a Sunday is the perfect time to learn how our faith informs our life, especially in matters social and political.

Real Freedom is a Personal Experience

In our text, Jesus is talking to people who lack our contemporary heritage of freedom. Politically and economically, they were an oppressed people. They were subject to a foreign power and its imposed taxation. They could be enslaved if they were not Roman citizens, which few were. Women's, children's, and worker's rights were primitive by our standards. Religious freedom, although possible, met with careful scrutiny and could be challenged when Caesars expected their own persons at times to be venerated with divinity.

To people for whom oppression was very real, Jesus offered a radical kind of personal freedom in the midst of their ongoing oppression. He offered to set them free from their bondage to sin, free to exercise their birthright of a life of service to an emancipating God. Repentant sinners were declared righteous and set free from a need to use obedience to commandments as a way of achieving acceptance before God. As a result, they were able to respond with gratefulness, not obligation; with love, not fear.

It is an important truth for us to appreciate because we can be as spiritually enslaved and oppressed as were people in Jesus' world. There are demonic forces which surround us and dwell within us. We may live in the "land of the free, home of the brave," but we can be oppressed and enslaved by media propaganda which gives false impressions of the truth. We can be suckered-in by glitzy societal values which promise false notions of affluence and happiness. We can be enslaved by ruthless competition or ambition, by condescending prejudice and bias. We can become enamored of temptation and greed or made to cower with fear and anxiety. On July 4th, it's even worth remembering that we can be seduced by twisted forms of patriotism which encourage condescension to others and broad unilateral actions which endanger the larger world. In the midst of all such things which seek to make us less than we are called to be as humans, and precisely because of that, Jesus speaks a word of freedom which we can understand because we know all too well its counterpart.

The truth which sets us free is precisely the truth that is known personally in the midst of human bondage. Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran pastor who spent much of his time imprisoned for his faith in communist Romania, made a great case for such an understanding. Although behind bars, sometimes tortured, clearly oppressed, he yet knew a freedom which transcended the liberty we prize on July 4 th. He knew that regardless of whether he would ever be allowed to leave his prison, he was a free man. Paul, himself often a prisoner, had this same understanding. In writing, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1), he makes it clear that Christians who know they have been forgiven of all their guilt live now with a confidence and joy that is unrelated to their physical surroundings. Such an insight is important to establish as we seek to understand more specific meanings of oppression and freedom, especially those which are unknown to us or which we take for granted. A real understanding of oppression or freedom begins with a personal experience - and Christians have had this experience.

Real Freedom is a Posture of Positive Action

As Americans, we can lay claim to possessing freedoms. Our Bill of Rights guarantees many of them to us. However, just because we possess some of these, does not mean that we live as if we were free. In the name of freedom of speech, many people lie, slander and use perverse means of communication. In the name of freedom to bear arms, many have used weapons against people at times other than in self-defense. In the name of freedom of the press, media, supported by advertising in a capitalistic society, at times gives the public what it wants to hear rather than the truth it needs to hear. People who do such things are oppressed by misguided notions of truth or temptations to secure their advantage at the expense of others. Only one who is truly free is capable of reaching beyond herself/himself to be concerned about larger truths in society, those truths which seek the advantage of others beyond oneself. This kind of true freedom comes through faith in Christ who has canceled the power of sin and death for us and opened us to a future which knows no end. The world is crying out for Christians who know this freedom, who are freed to be free to live with and for others in the world. Everywhere, those who are oppressed with various forms of personal or societal bondage need to know how to

-- break through walls of resentment and retaliation with love,
-- recognize even in scoundrels God's good creation,
-- ask in cases of personal estrangement whether we too bear some built,
-- seek not merely to destroy an enemy, but to bring an enemy God's love, and to
-- approach the clefts of our divided world, working to build bridges and perform Samaritan service on both sides.

If there are Christians here today who know they have been freed to be free, but who are crippled by anxieties of one kind or another and find it difficult to move out in love, this is the day to name the oppressive demons which hold you back and call upon the Name who has and will again set you free. It is the time to cry with the lepers, the possessed and blind of the first century, "Jesus, have mercy on me. Set me free." Set me free to leave my guilt behind me along with my self-centered and self-serving interests. Set me free to make choices which serve the best interests of all those whom I encounter on a daily basis.

If we spend some time reflecting on how we feel no longer to have to deal with judgment and burdens of guilt, then we can understand why Christianity is a religion of joy and confidence. It is a future oriented, not a backward oriented faith. It propels us away from ourselves to find those who themselves long to be set free. Such positive feelings clear the table for us as we seek now to understand oppression and freedom in the political sense.

We have not known oppression from outside governments for a long time, and our hysterical reaction to 9/11 demonstrates how unaccustomed we are to dealing with oppression. We have so little understanding of what it means that 350,000 people in southern Sudan are about to be slaughtered in a form of religious hate war that we tend to push it out of our minds. On the other hand, there are freedoms known in some countries which may exceed our own. In the Scandinavian countries, for example, they enjoy a freedom to experience a quality of medical care with lower rates of infant mortality and higher rates of longevity than we have ever known. Yet our own privatized approach to medical care has so prejudiced our ability to accept this data that we waive such success stories aside and choose not to understand them. Oppressions and freedoms in the larger world are not always easy to understand. However, if we rely on our Christian experience, we can know that oppression is a burden and freedom brings joy. We can know that a global desire to be freed to be free is not only a virtue to be valued by us as Christians, but we can know how and where such freedom from oppression begins.

Conclusion

On July Fourth, we have a legitimate opportunity to ask ourselves as Christians how it is that we, who have a personal understanding of the meaning of freedom from oppression, can participate with people everywhere in a discussion of the question how our slaveries can be set behind us and all of us can be affirmed as members of the family. This is an enormous challenge for people everywhere and there are surely many ways to go about it. Knowing what we know about freedom from oppression in Jesus Christ, however, we may not/cannot use our freedom to tell others when and where they agree with us at the expense of having military or economic pressure placed upon them. Members of the family don't act that way over against one another, and those of us who have learned this, must call our government to account which it fails us in this regard. It is not that our government is expected to be Christian, per se, but that those who hold dear our own emancipation from sin to serve the greater needs of human kind, can call our government to an exercise of those standards which treat people everywhere as our equals.

July Fourth is an interesting day on which to gather to remember heritage and enjoy the company of family and friends. It is also an opportunity to remember that the understanding of oppression and freedom is rooted in a personal experience we have had with those concepts. Jesus is calling us to share the bold, yet gentle joy, the caring and serving love, which comes from such experience with all the members of the human family. May such insights lead to dialogues and debates, discussions and seminars, everywhere. May the meaning of oppression and freedom captivate us all. May terrorists and soldiers, housewives and businessmen, sit at table together. May war not an option to resolve suspicions, anger, or aggression. May we discover together what it means to be freed to be free.

About The Author:

Prof. Dr. Dr. David Zersen is the President Emeritus of Concordia University at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

Source: Göttinger Predigten im Internet., ed. by U. Nembach, J. Neukirch

Toward Freedom

by Margaret Manning

A recent article in Christianity Today Magazine caught my attention. Excerpted from his forthcoming book, 'What Good is God?', author Philip Yancey discusses his speaking and listening tour throughout several countries in the Middle East in 2009 (1). Part of his listening included hearing how the "Christian" West was viewed by those living in predominantly Islamic countries. Time and again, he heard a familiar refrain: freedom in the West was equated with decadence. Yancey writes, "Much of the misgiving…for the West stems from our strong emphasis on freedom…where freedom so often leads to decadence." (2)

Of course, Yancey would quickly acknowledge that the freedom we enjoy in the West is often taken for granted. In general, we are free to do and to be whatever we want. We move unhindered towards the achievement of our own personal freedoms and objectives, without worrying about impediment or coercive control from outside forces. Certainly, the freedom to move about countries and across state borders effortlessly is a gift enjoyed by many in the Western world. We have the freedom to worship, unhindered by government intervention. Many who have financial abundance are able to access freedoms that only money can buy. We are free to think as we want, speak what we want, and do what we want. In comparison with people in places where freedoms are curtailed, we have the freedom to…. fill in the blank with endless possibilities.

But taking an honest look at how freedom is exercised in the Western world means turning a careful ear to this critique from those looking in from the outside. The belief that individual freedom to do, be, or say whatever we want is often cut off and isolated any thoughtfulness towards community consequences or responsibility. Sadly, freedom is rarely viewed as an opportunity to serve others.

The apostle Paul raised this issue as he wrote to the early Christians at Corinth. In discussing matters of personal freedom he exhorted these early Christians that "all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his or her own good, but that of his or her neighbor….whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:23, 24, 31). In his letter to the Galatian Christians, Paul applies the gift of freedom to a sense of corporate responsibility: "You were called to freedom; only do not turn your freedom into and opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians 3:13-14).

Paul's definition of freedom for love and service seems to fly in the face of understanding freedom as doing whatever one wants to do, individually. And while deploring the restriction or oppression of human freedom as evidenced in totalitarian regimes and systems, might it also be prudent to deplore the unchecked, unthinking, and often self-centered understanding of freedom that occupies many Western societies and systems. We are called to freedom, freedom for others–and not simply as the individualistic pursuit of self-interest. Rightly understood, freedom is grounded in love for the sake of one another.

References:

(1) Philip Yancey, "A Living Stream in the Desert" Christianity Today, November 2010, 30-34.

(2) Ibid., 32.

About The Author:

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

Source: A Slice of Infinity; Copyright © 2014 Ravi Zacharias http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/International Ministries, All rights reserved.

The Sweetest Sound
There is a story that Hebrew families tell their children to help them understand the fourth commandment. The fourth commandment reads, "Six days you shall labor but on the seventh you shall rest." The story is called, "The Sweetest Sound." The main character in the story is King Ruben. It goes something like this.

The king asked his royal subjects, "What is the sweetest melody of all?" Early the next morning they gathered all sorts of musicians. The sound awoke the king and all morning he listened to their tunes. But, after listening to all of them he could not tell which was the sweetest sound. Finally, one subject suggested they all play together. It was so noisy the king couldn't think.

About that moment a woman, dressed in her Sunday best, pushed to the front of the crowd and stepped forward. "O, king," she said, "I have the answer to your question." The king was surprised since she had no instrument. "Why didn't you come earlier?" he asked. She replied, "I had to wait until the setting of the sun." The musicians were still playing and the king told them all to stop.

The woman then took two candles and placed them on the king's balcony rail. She lit them just as the sun continued to set. The flames glowed in the evening darkness. She then lifted her voice and said, "Blessed art thou, O Lord, Our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us with the commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights." She then said, "He who has an ear, let him hear."

Everyone was completely still. "What is that?" asked the king." He could not hear a sound. The woman then replied, "What you hear is the sound of rest, the sweetest melody of all."

Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This is also the sweetest sound any of us can hear.

Source: Keith Wagner, True Freedom

The Irresistible Music of My Mind

by Dr. Mercy Abraham

The irresistible music of my mind flows
Like a stream coming down from the lofty mountains
I hear the warble of the koyal across the forest
And the booming sound of the honey-bee
The humming bird makes a sound so pleasant
On the windowsill, as I listen to the sound
Of the orchestra natural, outside.

I hear drums of the distant thunder
And the flashing lights of the lightning across the hill
The rains come down in a downpour
Drenching the hotsands of the brawny earth
Soaking and cooling the atmosphere.

It brings home all the laughter of my childhood
The blooming flowers on the wayside
Colourful and gay, makes me smile
Butterflies and squirrels flip fast across the path
As I saunter through a lane on the countryside
The time is so pleasant and cheerful.

Here, where there is nothing to disturb the calm
I wish I can share these
moments of tranquility with you
Who have no time even to breathe
Running as if in a marathon race from morning
Till dusk, as if competing for a race.

I wish you could take time to be aware
And peaceful, living one moment at a time
And be grateful to god almighty who provide
Beauty to the lilies and scent to the roses
And bring laughter to the children
And peace and love to all innocent people
In this dark and callous world.

About The Author:

Dr. Mercy Abraham does not need an introduction for Malankara World Journal readers. She had written several poems that has been published here. Mercy, a medical graduate from Kottayam Medical College, works in UAE. The eerie landscape, the desert and the hotwinds inspire Mercy to write her poems. Enjoy.

Family Special: Your Unique Role

by Neil Anderson

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:20

We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

God has a unique place of ministry for each of us. It is important to your sense of fulfillment that you realize exactly where that place is. The key is to discover the roles you occupy in which you cannot be replaced, and then decide to be what God wants you to be in those roles.

For example, of the five billion people in the world, you are the only one who occupies your unique role as husband, father, wife, mother, parent, or child in your home. God has specially planted you to serve Him by serving your family and the community where you live.

"I don't understand women who are looking for fulfillment in the world in some meaningless job," said a mother of five children. "What could be more challenging and meaningful than raising five godly children and managing a Christian home?" I agree. Assuming the responsibility of our primary roles is too challenging for some, but it is the only path of fulfillment. You will never be fulfilled trying to become something you're not.

You occupy a unique role as an ambassador for Christ where you work and live. These are your mission fields and you are the worker God has appointed for the harvest there. Your greatest fulfillment will come from accepting and occupying God's unique place for you to the best of your ability. Sadly, so many miss their calling in life by looking for fulfillment in the world. Find your fulfillment in the kingdom of God by deciding to be an ambassador for Christ in the world. Paul said, "Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).

Prayer: Lord, keep me sensitive to the ministry You have for me in the ordinary places of my daily life.

Source: Neil Anderson's Daily in Christ

Family Special: Work-Life Balance - Interesting Perspective from the CEO of PepsiCo

Pepsi CEO's Mother Had A Brutally Honest Reaction To Her Daughter’s New Job

[Editor's Note: Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, was born in Tamil Nadu and is one of the most influential woman of Indian Origin in the US. The following true story describes an interesting way to balance the demands between career and family.]

While interviewing Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, at the Aspen Ideas Festival Monday, David Bradley, who owns The Atlantic, asked two questions that elicited as frank a discussion of work-life balance as I've seen from a U.S. CEO. Below is a lightly edited transcript. The second question was preceded by a brief discussion of Anne-Marie Slaughter's "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."

Q. You come home one day as president of the company, just appointed, and your mom is not that impressed. Would you tell that story?

This is about 14 years ago. I was working in the office. I work very late, and we were in the middle of the Quaker Oats acquisition. And I got a call about 9:30 in the night from the existing chairman and CEO at that time. He said, Indra, we're going to announce you as president and put you on the board of directors ... I was overwhelmed, because look at my background and where I came from - to be president of an iconic American company and to be on the board of directors, I thought something special had happened to me.

So rather than stay and work until midnight which I normally would've done because I had so much work to do, I decided to go home and share the good news with my family. I got home about 10, got into the garage, and my mother was waiting at the top of the stairs. And I said, "Mom, I've got great news for you." She said, "let the news wait. Can you go out and get some milk?"

I looked in the garage and it looked like my husband was home.
I said, "what time did he get home?"
She said "8 o'clock."
I said, "Why didn't you ask him to buy the milk?"
"He's tired."

Okay. We have a couple of help at home, "why didn't you ask them to get the milk?"
She said, "I forgot." She said just get the milk. We need it for the morning.
So like a dutiful daughter, I went out and got the milk and came back.

I banged it on the counter and I said, "I had great news for you. I've just been told that I'm going to be The President and will be on the Board of Directors. And all that you want me to do is go out and get the milk, what kind of a mom are you?"

And she said to me, "let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you're the wife, you're the daughter, you're the daughter-in-law, you're the mother. You're all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don't bring it into the house. You know I've never seen that crown."

Q. What's your opinion about whether women can have it all?

I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom. I'm not sure. And I try all kinds of coping mechanisms.

I'll tell you a story that happened when my daughter went to Catholic school. Every Wednesday morning they had class coffee with the mothers. Class coffee for a working woman - how is it going to work? How am I going to take off 9 o'clock on Wednesday mornings? So I missed most class coffees. My daughter would come home and she would list off all the mothers that were there and say, "You were not there, mom."

The first few times I would die with guilt. But I developed coping mechanisms. I called the school and I said, "give me a list of mothers that are not there." So when she came home in the evening she said, "You were not there, you were not there."

And I said, "ah ha, Mrs. Redd wasn't there, Mrs. So and So wasn't there. So I'm not the only bad mother."
You know, you have to cope, because you die with guilt. You just die with guilt. My observation, David, is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you're rising to middle management your kids need you because they're teenagers, they need you for the teenage years.

And that's the time your husband becomes a teenager too, so he needs you (laughing). They need you too. What do you do? And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they're aging. So we're screwed. We have no ... we cannot have it all. Do you know what? Coping mechanisms. Train people at work. Train your family to be your extended family.

You know what? When I'm in PepsiCo I travel a lot, and when my kids were tiny, especially my second one, we had strict rules on playing Nintendo. She'd call the office, and she didn't care if I was in China, Japan, India, wherever. She'd call the office, the receptionist would pick up the phone, "Can I speak to my mommy?" Everybody knows if somebody says, 'Can I speak to mommy?' It's my daughter.

So she'd say, "Yes, Tyra, what can I do for you?"
"I want to play Nintendo."
So she has a set of questions. "Have you finished your homework?" Etc. I say this because that's what it takes. She goes through the questions and she says, "Okay, you can play Nintendo half an hour."

Then she leaves me a message. "Tyra called at 5. This is the sequence of questions I went through. I've given her permission." So it's seamless parenting.

But if you don't do that, I'm serious, if you don't develop mechanisms with your secretaries, with the extended office, with everybody around you, it cannot work. You know, stay at home mothering was a full time job. Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all?
You can't.

The person who hurts the most through this whole thing is your spouse. There's no question about it. You know, Raj always said, you know what, your list is PepsiCo, PepsiCo, PepsiCo, our two kids, your mom, and then at the bottom of the list is me.

There are two ways to look at it. (laughing) You should be happy you're on the list. So don't complain. (laughing) He is on the list. He is very much on the list. But you know, (laughing) sorry, David.

Source: businessinsider.com

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