There is an amazing spiritual principle we find in the Bible – transformed people transform people. Yes, when a heart is changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ, that life becomes a transformer of others. But how did this happen in the Bible? It happened because of what Jesus did with almost every encounter with someone in the scriptures - he solved a problem.
Solving a problem gives a believer influence
If you were to read the Gospels about the encounters Jesus had with people, you will find that Jesus did something in almost every case. He solved a problem. When the Roman Centurion met Jesus, he had a need for healing of a family member. What did Jesus do? He healed that family member when he saw the faith of the centurion soldier. When Peter had a need to pay his taxes Jesus told him to go catch a fish to find the coin needed to pay his taxes (wish I could do that for April 15). When the disciples were not catching fish, Jesus said to cast their net on the other side of the boat. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, who was obviously not of the political party of the disciples, He told her things about her life that caused her to believe in him. The entire city came out to hear him as a result.
Culture does not care who solves their problem, they just want their problem solved. If you happen to be a Christian, then Christ is glorified in that problem solving. And you gain influence in that life or that environment. If we are going to catch the world’s attention, we must manifest God’s presence in the area of our calling. We must move beyond words to tangible expressions of solving problems in the culture.
George Washington Carver Solved a Problem
George Washington Carver grew up at the close of the Civil War in a one-room shanty on the home of Moses Carver - the man who owned his mother. The Ku Klux Klan had abducted him and his mother, selling her to new owners. He was later found and returned to his owner, but his mother was never seen again. Carver grew up at the height of racial discrimination, yet he had overcome all these obstacles to become one of the most influential men in the history of the United States.
Carver was a great example of someone who solved a problem that existed in his day. He told the farmers of his day that they needed to stop planting cotton because the land could no longer support the crop. He recommended that they plant peanuts and sweet potatoes instead of cotton, but this led to his greatest trial. The farmers lost even more money due to the lack of market for peanuts and sweet potatoes and blamed Carver.
Carver cried out to the Lord, “Mr. Creator, why did you make the peanut?” Many years later, he shared that God led him back to his lab and worked with him to discover some 300 marketable products from the peanut and 100 from the sweet potato. These new products created a demand for peanuts and sweet potatoes, and they were major contributors to rejuvenating the Southern economy.
As he made new discoveries, he never became successful monetarily, but he overcame great rejection during his lifetime for being black. He was offered six-figure income opportunities from Henry Ford, and he became friends with presidents of his day, yet he knew what God had called him to do. His epitaph read:
"He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."
There are many ways you and I can be problem solvers in a life. Here are a few tips you can consider as a workplace leader:
- Be a Listener
When someone shares a need with you, make sure you listen and identify with their need. Offer to pray with them about the need right there on the spot if they will not feel uncomfortable. Few people will not welcome a prayer for themselves.
- Meet a Need
Meet an immediate need that someone has. It might be financial, it might be taking someone to the hospital, or it might be giving a gift that says you care.
- Write a note
In this quick fix email world the written note is becoming extinct. A handwritten note of appreciation to those you can affirm goes a long way for building deeper relationships.
- Relationship First
Today I find that most of us in business go to the transaction way too soon, before a relationship is really established. Make sure you invest in the relationship before you seek a transaction.
- Solve a Problem for Your Employer
Perhaps God will give you a solution to a problem in your workplace. Joseph solved a problem for his Pharaoh by interpreting his dream that led to his advancement.
By: Os Hillman
Os Hillman is Founder and President of Marketplace Leaders Ministries. He is also an internationally recognized speaker, author, and consultant on the subject of faith at work. Hillman has written 12 books on faith and work subjects and a daily workplace email devotional entitled TGIF–Today God Is First. For more information on Os and his ministry work, visit: www.MarketplaceLeaders.orgRead More Articles by Os Hillman