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Getting More from Work Than a Paycheck: Tim Kimmel & Michael Tooker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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November 11, 2022 3:00 am

Getting More from Work Than a Paycheck: Tim Kimmel & Michael Tooker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 11, 2022 3:00 am

Feeling so over your job? On FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson host authors Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker, who talk about ways to bring grace to work and radically change how your look at your job.

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There are those people that I think they show up for work in the t-shirt or they've got the placard on the wall with some scripture or they're, you know, handing out cards inviting people to Easter service. But I think there's also some that there's such a compartmentalization of their faith that nothing of their faith comes to work.

So people may not even know that they're a Christian or somebody may be nice on the weekend and serving in a soup kitchen or, you know, leading a Bible study or something during the week, but the second they, you know, park the car in the parking lot and head into work, there's a complete disconnect. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Dave Wilson. And I'm Ann Wilson, and you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So I don't know if you remember this, the year we started our church, 1990, probably six months in, we're at a restaurant.

You probably don't even know this happened. In the suburb where we started our first campus, a guy came over and said, aren't you the pastor of this new church, Kensington, just down the road? And I'm like, yeah. He goes, our owner wants to talk to you, the owner of the restaurant. And I'm like, what in the world? So I go over and he goes, hey, we have a young guy here.

He's like just out of high school. He's like a busboy here and he goes to your church. And then I'm thinking, oh no, what did this kid do? And I want to talk to you about him. And I have no idea who this guy is. And I go, what'd he do?

What's wrong? He goes, no, nothing's wrong. He is the best worker we've ever had. He shows up early. He shows grace and he loves everyone here. He's excellent. He's meticulous. He works late. I mean, he's changed our restaurant.

He has this, I don't know what do you call it? There's something about him that's just, I love this kid. And I go, well, that's great. Why are you telling me that? He goes, well, I want to know, are all your people like that?

And I'm like, probably not. But you know, there was something about he saw this and attributed the way this kid worked and treated people to Jesus. He connected. Yeah. It makes you take a second look like, how can they work like that with that good attitude? They love people. They bring an atmosphere with them that's like one of joy. Yeah, that's compelling.

Yeah. And we're going to talk about how do you work as a Christian? And we've got two guys in the studio that wrote a book about it called Grace at Work. We've got Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker in the studio. We've already talked to them for one day, but welcome back, guys.

Thanks for having us back. I mean, when you hear a story like that, I mean, what do you think? Oh, he nailed it. That's exactly what... That's what this book's about.

Yeah, he could have wrote the book. This book is about when you go to work, you need to treat the people you work with the way God treats you. And God is dealing with us in grace. And that means that, you know, you have all kinds of quirky people showing up for work. You have people with chips on their shoulders. You have people with agendas. You have overbearing people, high controllers.

And you know what's interesting about work? It has something in common with family and that you usually don't get to choose who you're stuck with. They just show up. The kids, the relatives and so forth. I can unfriend a friend.

I can go to another church if things get sideways enough. But work, I'm stuck with them. And these are the very things that I think steal a lot of the joy of people. You gave some statistics in our last show about how many people are considering quitting their job. And there's this huge resignation going on right now in our country. And a lot of it is because the culture of the marketplace is so uninviting and toxic and it doesn't bring the best out of you. Well, we can change that.

And we're not just talking to people that own the company. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a chance to go to work and turn it into something far more than a paycheck. But I need to clarify something before we go, because some people think, oh, this is one of those books about us going to work and witnessing and doing Bible studies and inviting people to church. This is the absolute opposite of that. We're not being paid to do that.

We're being paid to go do a job and work. But what God has called us to do, he made it real clear, and he doubled down on it just before Jesus went to the cross, is to love people. This book isn't about modeling Jesus at work. It's about following Jesus at work. He said, anyone who comes after me, take up your cross and follow me. And then what's the next verse?

What did he do? He showed his love towards us by dying for us. When I think of the Son of God hanging there, nailed to a cross, drenched in his own body fluids, as his way of showing how much he's going to do to care for us who do not deserve anything from him, then the least we can do is show up to work and love that list of people that sometimes don't love you back or are hard to love, but that's what we're called to do. And the people that take this to heart, the person that's going to get the most out of it is that person. But also, God's going to do some great things in the other people, too.

Like that busboy. Yeah, I mean, obviously something was going on in him of understanding. It wasn't just, I invite the people I work with to church. Like you said, he is going to work in such a way that honors Christ. And I could tell from what the owner said, he's loving the people there.

And I'm sure there were people there that weren't lovable, and this kid was loving it. I mean, I've never forgotten that story because it's so inspiring to me. You know, one of the beautiful things of yesterday was, you know, Michael, your story of finding Jesus, finding grace. And then the two of you have been doing life together for years now, write this book, Grace at Work. And you just sort of explained it, but help our listener understand, okay, what's grace?

And then we'll get to, okay, how do you apply that at work? So how would you define or get our arms around this big idea of grace? There's a lot to grace. In maybe its simplest form, you might say something like it's God gives us something we don't deserve. Right?

It's that unmerited favor. But then when you think about, okay, so what does that actually look like? And that's what we do in the book is we unpack it and we try to describe what are all the different levels at which it operates and the different elements or dimensions of it. And so there's four different levels of it, but at its foundational level, God meets our most important inner needs. We talk about some of the freedoms that God made us to want freedom and he died so that we would have freedom. And so we go on to talk about what does godly character look like and what does it look like to kind of point your life at greatness over kind of earthly success?

And so that's how we kind of start to describe in the book how does it operate and the different elements of it. As Tim described just a minute ago, it's treating others the way God treats us. And so if we can, many times people, they don't really understand how God treats us. Or we may read about God's promises, but we kind of leave it there and say, well, but not me.

I don't have that level of mercy or grace or God's favor. But if we can really start to understand how does God love us? And then when we go into work, just say, look, my job under God's power, I just want him to shine through me so that others can experience that same thing under his power and really feel that from us. And I think as you described that young man at that workplace, that's the way the owner described it is what he was describing was God's grace is it was outwardly focused. It cared about other people. It was sacrificial.

It was all these different things. And so I think that's how I would say it's that unmerited favor, but it operates at so many different levels. And that's what we unpack in Grace at Work. I want to be a conduit of God's heart when I come to work. And I realize that everybody I work with has a need to know that they're significant. They have intrinsic worth and value. They need to know that they're stronger, sufficient for the moment they're in, but they don't feel that necessary. But I can help meet those needs by giving them a secure love, always voicing a significant purpose into them and representing a strong hope.

That makes such a difference. As you used the word conduit, I'm also thinking how important that abiding in Christ is, that connection. Absolutely. If we're not connected to or abiding with Christ and our relationship with him, can we give grace or is that really important? No, no, actually, that's a phenomenal question because all we can really offer is human nice. And grace and nice are not synonyms.

Because if you think you can do this on your own steam, all we just talked about is going to be cosmetic at best. There's a source of this. And, Anne, you're hitting right on that source.

It's about Jesus. And we spend some time talking about how that is maintained on an ongoing basis. But that's the same thing in our marriage and our relationship with our kids. That's the most important factor. But that's how I can find joy in a really crummy job.

I mean, it's part of it how you walk in. I know for 12 or maybe 13 years, I coached high school football at the local high school, public high school. And I saw it as a ministry. I'm a football guy. My kids were going to play there. So it was great to be there with my sons.

But I know this. Every day that I walk down, I didn't go every day. The head coach was great. He's like, any day I get Dave Wilson is a good day. So I could show up once a week or four.

So it was awesome because I had another job. But as I walked down this little ramp to the practice field, every time I walked, I prayed. And here's my prayer.

Lord, I want to be a light today. I want to love these boys. A lot of these boys I don't like.

They're not great. You know, it's just like I know there's going to be pushback and things going on. Give me a heart of love and grace for these boys. I want to shine today. Don't let me forget why I'm really here. It isn't just to win football games.

It's to build men of Christ. Is that something that a grace at worker has got to have? Absolutely. You've all mentioned the word love, right? And I love the way Tim defines love, which is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interest regardless of the cost. Okay. Say that again. The commitment of my will to your needs and best interests regardless of the cost.

And I add to that the cost to me. And as you describe walking down that tunnel, your prayer covered both. You were talking to God, so you were loving God. Because we also talk about this notion of what is the greatest commandment? It's love God and love others.

Vertical, horizontal. Right. And so there's this notion of love. And so I think if as you're walking down that runway and you're talking to God about loving others, that should be our disposition or our attitude as we go into the workplace. Because these people, as Tim said, they're not lovable. And if in every interaction I have, I'm putting myself in the position of saying, what's best for Dave or what's best for Ann?

And how can I inconvenience myself to help you get what's best for you? And sometimes it's just kindness. Sometimes it's toughness.

There may be a difficult conversation we need to have or there may just be some kindness that I can share with you or extend to you. But that's really what we're saying is it's all about loving God and loving others. And so if we can do that, to Tim's point, it's very others focused. It's not easy, particularly if we do try to do it on our own strength.

But if we let God power that for us. Yeah, that was part of my prayer is I knew I can't do this. I want to do it. I can't. And I need the Holy Spirit power. When I'm in a situation where I'm going to be represented, I always look at my shoes and I say, okay, I put those shoes over feet of clay again today. And I can't pull this one off on my own. Help me be very passionate about what you're asking me to do here, but also very compassionate.

And I want to treat them the way God deals with me. We tell a story about a young man that he came up in poverty and lived in the worst section of town and it was generations of this and no one had ever broken out, but he was good at math. He had a teacher that encouraged him and he got a job at a good company. He had just gotten married and they went and bought some khaki pants and pennies and a couple of button-down shirts. That was kind of the uniform of the... And he goes to work and they introduced him, but people were snickering and he couldn't understand why. He went into the lunchroom and walked by a couple of ladies, smiled at them and walked in there, they're snickering. And then later on that day, somebody came by and said, yeah, we were down at HR, they've got your name plate for you.

And it said 3830 on it. And then he finally got home and his wife said, oh, honey, I didn't see this when you walked out. And it was a little thing on the back of your pants.

It shows what your waist and your hand seam is. And they were all snickering. And by the way, the way he was taught to handle this is take them one at a time and just hurt them badly. And he thought, I was coming to this big professional place and they were just mocking me and humiliating. Then he came in and he wanted to talk to his manager, right? About his upline supervisor, a lady. And he said, hey, I got to talk to you about yesterday and the name tag. And she said, oh yeah, I heard about that 3830.

Man, you made quite an impression. And obviously she was part of the thought it was funny. People are so vulnerable. So fragile. And some of this is stuff caused by the work industry.

Some things is stuff they had that's outside regardless. They come with hearts that are so tender and sensitive and they're hurting. Well, grace gives people the freedom to be vulnerable.

It makes a safe place and doesn't take advantage of that. And there's so many people that we could be showing God's grace to around us at work that are hurting like that. What if you or I or one of us were there, walked up to him and said, hey man, good to meet you. Glad you're on board. Hey, let me help you on something. Pull that thing off. Hey, you know, yeah, I've done that myself. And just bring them back into it.

We have a chance to do that. And then I think people don't feel they have any voice. Grace gives people the freedom to be candid. It's hard in the workplace to make mistakes, to be imperfect because you realize this could cost you greatly. And I think a grace-based person gives people the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to be imperfect. Well, you know, I'm thinking, Tim, as you're telling that story, I hope I'm wrong, but my first thought is many Christians are known in the workplace or anywhere really not for grace but for judgment. It's like our badge. Some would say that's what I'm supposed to be known for. But we should be known.

Judgment doesn't compel people to Christ. Yeah, I mean, like, we shouldn't be part of that. And we should be the place, the cubicle, the office in the building where if somebody's really struggling, they want to come to our office because they don't even know why. It's just like, man, when I'm around you, I feel a sense of acceptance. That should be rather than I'm going to run from that guy because he's a Christian guy. He's got the Christian t-shirt, and he's always trying to invite me to church.

And all he does is make fun of me, or he joins in with the clique that is. Rather than being the grace act. We should represent a very safe place for anybody to work through all the dangerous junk in their life with. That's who we should always be.

It doesn't mean we have to have PhDs in counseling or anything. It's just loving people the way they are. Jesus got down on his knees and washed the feet of these people. And by the way, he washed Judas' feet. Judas is going to go out and sell them out. That's grace.

And so we have a chance to be humble people representing his heart. And when we bring grace to work with us, it's contagious. Yeah, I think part of what you were saying, Dave, too, was there are those people that I think, they show up for work in the t-shirt, or they've got the placard on the wall with some scripture, or they're handing out cards inviting people to Easter service. Which is great.

What's wrong with that? Yeah, but I think there's also some that there's such a compartmentalization of their faith that nothing of their faith comes to work. So people may not even know that they're a Christian, or somebody may be nice on the weekend and serving in a soup kitchen, or leading a Bible study or something during the week. But the second they park the car in the parking lot and head into work, there's a complete disconnect. And so that's one of the things that Tim and I talk about is your whole life has to be just kind of saturated with this love of Christ and the following of Christ. And so when you walk in the front door of your workplace, you're bringing that with you in every interaction that you have with everyone.

Everybody has those dark places in the back of their mind where they go. And the unfortunate thing is that's where the enemy's prowling around, right? Seeking people to devour is when they can't be honest about their emotions, or they can't be candid about the things that they need to be working through with their supervisor or their colleague. And so I think if we can just be people in the workplace that are helping people, pulling them out of those dark recesses of the corner, allowing them to be vulnerable, allowing them to be candid, and really helping bring out the best in everybody, that's ultimately what we're talking about is how do we as Christians bring out the best in everybody in our workplace? Because so often we're insecure ourselves. And so when we're insecure, we either self-protect or self-promote. And we don't have our eyes on the people around us. And everywhere we go, there are people that are hurting.

Michael, like you were hurting in your marriage relationship. And that's what I love about Jesus. He sees people. We have the ability with our words just to speak life into people. I remember saying that to this girl one time who was at our church. And I said, I see so much greatness in you.

She instantly tears up. And she said, what are you talking about? Do you know what I've done? You know where I've been?

Do you know what's been done to me? And I said, no, I don't know any of that, but I see such greatness in you. And it's amazing how she lifted her head.

She stood a little straighter. We have the opportunity as believers, as you're saying, to get our eyes off of ourselves, to put them vertically on Jesus. I love all of you guys saying, and I walked in and I prayed before I walked through those doors. We forget the power of the Holy Spirit living in us that can change people as we see them the way Jesus did. One of the things I love about this woman is she does that everywhere. And I didn't used to, Dave, because I was so insecure I saw them as my competition, which we do at work especially. Yeah, and you just see that whoever it is, they light up.

And I'm like, that's grace. That's what Jesus would do. I don't want to throw in, there's certainly no ulterior motives, personal selfish ulterior motives, but there's some great benefit. The marketplace is hungry for people who are not all about themselves. They care about the company, care about the reputation, care about their fellow workers, care about the customer, care about the money, the assets of that thing. And when we come to work like that, that's job security like nobody's business. And there's a good chance that that'll get noticed. You've been faithful in this.

I'd like to give you a little more responsibility. I'm not saying that we do any of this for our personal benefit, but I'm just saying that God blesses faithfulness. In the culture that we live in now with social media and so much about me and myself and my selfie pictures and what's going on in my life, just acting that way is even more noticeable now because it is so rare. And it's unfortunate.

I had somebody in my career once, it's a great expression, happiness is a low bar. And in some respects, as Christians, we should say the bar has been lowered so low that we have such an opportunity to be a light upon a hill. But we don't bring that to work.

We fall victim to culture, and we're worried about ourselves. And if we're focused on what do I get from the job and what is this going to do for me and my career and my family and my paycheck or my bank account, we're just doing what everybody else is doing. But if instead I say, hey, walk through those doors and say, man, what can I do to light up everybody around me? What can I do to like every single person?

We talk about this notion of a wins model, which is simple. We say that everybody has weaknesses, interests, necessities, and strengths. And if I study everyone around me and I know what those are and I approach them in such a way that I want to bring out the very best in them, as opposed to what you were saying, Nen, is when we're insecure and it's about us, we hold people down. But if we know they have those weaknesses, interests, necessities, and strengths and say my job coming to work as a believer is know everything that I can about people so that I can help them elevate, we're just going to shine. And there's going to be an amazing ministry that we can have that it's not about jamming Jesus down people's throats. It's about just being Jesus to the people around us. And I think that's what our workplaces so desperately need is somebody to show up, even if it's just one person like that young man in the restaurant.

One person at any level has the ability to completely change that. Yeah, I always tried to, and I don't think I did it very well, but as a pastor, I always try to tell our businessmen and businesswomen, teachers, you name it, that are out in the world working. You're just as much a minister as I am. You have a different place, but you have a call of God to be grace-filled and bring that grace to wherever you are.

Sometimes I got jealous. I'm like, I can work with Christians every day. You're beside non-Christians and they're like, I hate that. You know, this guy curses and looks important.

I'm like, yeah, he's looking for Jesus. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker on Family Life Today. We're going to hear a final word of encouragement from Tim on how you can have a profound impact through the avenue of the gospel in your workplace, no matter what that environment might look like.

That's in just a second. But first, you can pick up a copy of Tim and Michael's book called Grace at Work, Redeeming the Grind and Glory of Your Job. You head over to and pick up a copy there. And if today's conversation about the gospel and the workplace has been encouraging for you and it gets you excited about how conversations just like these can get into more homes with more coworkers, more cars, more neighbors, more AirPods, all for families who need the gospel applied to their everyday lives. We'd love it if you'd partner financially with us. And as our thanks, we'd love to send you a copy of a book written by some previous guests we had on earlier this week, Bob and Linda Laudick. They wrote a book called Simple Money, Rich Life. It's our thanks to you when you partner financially today.

You can give online at or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Okay, here's Tim Kimmel with a word of gospel encouragement as you think about your workplace today. What we've tried to do in this book is give people all the equipment they need to represent the heart of the Lord when they go to work.

And we talk about, yeah, but what about the people that are just absolutely impossible to work with? How do we keep our own life in balance and maintain equilibrium there? The cool thing is God wrote a book about it. It's not called Grace of Work.

It's called the Bible. And we're just building from that. But we have a chance right now, especially in this time when this huge time of everybody wanting to quit, give up, and just everything is about me. We have a chance in the middle of that to do something that I think could have such a profound impact on the gospel and individual people's lives. And Grace of Work is just one of the places Grace really works. Yeah, thanks guys. This is good. This is going to really help people. How do we lead our non-Christian friends to Jesus? It's an important question. Well, stay tuned because next week on Family Life Today, David Ann Wilson talked with Tim Muehlhoff who says, maybe it just takes eyes to see and ears to hear.

And when that happens, it draws others to the one who is the giver of all good gifts. That's next week. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. Have a great weekend. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-18 23:33:53 / 2022-11-18 23:45:33 / 12

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