“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.”

— Luke 12:2


Recently I was talking to a young person, Rebecca, whom I had helped start her career. She was working for a large, well-known company. It was a great place for her to start. In this counseling session, she mentioned that she and some other employees had recently been discussing a senior manager in an unfavorable light. I immediately stopped the flow of our conversation and focused her in on that conversation about the senior manager. I cautioned her not to engage in conversations with others in the marketplace about her personal feelings. It was dangerous. She should always assume that whatever she said would get repeated. 

“In the marketplace the difference between a secret and a general announcement is that the secret gets told to one person at a time.”

In the marketplace the difference between a secret and a general announcement is that the secret gets told to one person at a time. Whatever we say, we should be willing to have everyone hear. Many times these conversations are innocent at first, but they can take on a life of their own. Many of these secrets are passed on with embellishment as well. By the time the offending person hears the story, it is louder, more critical, and certainly not reflective of the original intent. These conversations can end careers. 

“Jesus implores us to consider carefully what we say.”

In today’s verse Jesus is very direct with this assertion. Jesus implores us to consider carefully what we say. But the verse is also about where our heart is. Are we sure when we say something that we have both sides of the story? Is this venting just to fit in with the crowd? How would the other person feel if he or she knew? These are questions that should be asked.

“If we feel strongly enough about something, we should have a warm and assertive conversation about it with our colleagues and superiors.”

If we feel strongly enough about something, we should have a warm and assertive conversation about it with our colleagues and superiors. When conversations like the one Rebecca mentioned occur, we should gracefully bow out. This is the reminder Jesus is giving all of us. And all of us have engaged in these backroom exchanges.

Jesus always wants us to be kind to our neighbor. A simple question we can ask before we get to deep in these conversations is how is the person going to feel when they hear our observations?

Today, let us consider our conversations and determine if they are wholesome. Let us remember that what we consider innocent could be volatile. Let us remember that our superiors, other workers, customers, and vendors have a point of view as well.

Resisting these negative conversations is hard, but Jesus reminds us, all will be uncovered.


Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman



What do these conversations sound like?

How do we defuse these conversations, by reframing or by being silent?

How would the other person feel?



“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.”

— Luke [13:24]


Peter Drucker, the famed business advisor, says, “The key to success isn’t what you learn in success, but what you learn in failure.” Consider the following. Winston Churchill was banished from his political party for a decade before he became prime minister. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he wasn’t smart enough. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he lacked imagination. We all know the happy endings these stories have. The key ingredients were not giving up and continuing to strive!

“We all want to be successful, but are we willing to put in the effort?”

Most start-up businesses have great ideas. They are led by people who are seeking to grow and create. But 80 percent of these businesses fail. The reason for most is a lack of striving. Many of these businesses fail to connect with their customers. They don’t walk the thousand miles their customers do. In turn they don’t know what their customers want. Many also fail in the first three years because of a lack of time invested, or because they don’t know the hard details of their business. They don’t know why their value proposition needs to be different. In summary, striving is as important as seeking. We all want to be successful, but are we willing to put in the effort?

“When Jesus says go through the narrow gate, he is telling us to avoid the easy way.”

This is what Jesus is getting at in today’s verse. Many of us want success, peace, health, and a strong connection with God. These are things we all seek. Dreams and ambition are critical to moving forward. Wanting to be a good person or good at your craft is a great start. But in our business, personal, or spiritual life success requires effort. When Jesus says go through the narrow gate, he is telling us to avoid the easy way. He is telling us to respect what we seek. He’s asking, are we willing to put the time in?

Larry Bird, the hall-of-fame basketball starter from the Boston Celtics, would show up four hours before practice and games. He would often run laps in the balcony, spend an hour shooting at the basket. Often he arrived many hours ahead of the other team and his own teammates. He wasn’t fast. He wasn’t tall for his position. But he was committed and prepared to be the best.

If our dreams are our passions and aligned with God, Jesus tells us to use the narrow gate. The gate that requires us to strive to be our best.


Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman



What are our individual dreams?

What do we have to do to be an achiever?

How do we respond to failure?  



“Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

— Matthew [26:27]–28


David Steward’s lowest point came when his car was repossessed from the parking lot of the company he owned. His business was $3.5 million in debt. Quite a fall for the person who at one time had been FedEx’s number one salesperson. David had left FedEx a few years earlier to start his own business called World Wide Technologies. And here he was with no car, a failing business, and a dark future.

An African-American, David grew up in a heavily segregated part of Missouri. Through sheer will and determination he went on to college. He found his way onto the school’s basketball team, in spite of his high school coach saying he wasn’t cut out for basketball. When he graduated, he sent out over four hundred résumés before landing a job. He had spent most of his life overcoming obstacles others had put in front of him.

And here he was in one of life’s most difficult spots. He had fought hard to get ahead and now it was all crumbling around him. Through prayer and by turning to the Lord, he discovered he had made one mistake during his miraculous life. After leading a life that rose above his circumstances, he had built his business on a bad foundation. He viewed his customers, vendors, and employees as instruments for his success. They were there to serve him. In effect he had begun chasing net worth and not self-worth.

“Through prayer he asked for a second chance.”

Through prayer he asked for a second chance. He changed his life and business model to one of serving his customers, employees, and vendors. He changed his businesses purpose to one of providing great service. Almost overnight his business changed. Today it is one of the largest privately held businesses in America. 

“We have all been given a second chance.”

In one of Jesus’s final times with the twelve, he reveals his purpose. At the Last Supper he tells them that he has come to forgive their sins and ours, through his death and resurrection. We have all been given a second chance.

But there is more to this story. While we have been given a second chance, if we continue to make the same mistakes we will still end up in the same place, requiring forgiveness again. Change on our part is required to lead a different life. Perhaps a breaking of old habits or an acceptance of a new course in life.

Many people confuse the meaning of the word “repentance.” Repentance isn’t just admitting to ourselves and Jesus that we were wrong. It also means we are sincerely willing to change.

Repentance in Greek means just that: “a sincere desire to change.” Through this genuine desire to change, the gift of forgiveness becomes real.

Through prayer, David acknowledged that he needed to change. Instead of thinking internally about himself, he had to learn to think about others first. He had to become external with others, putting them first. His focus became self-worth and not net worth. 

Forgiveness is the gift of a second chance, but it’s only valuable when we change.


Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman



How hard is it to change and admit we need a new direction?

What prevents us from changing: pride, habit, or letting go?

Where do we need change in our lives to make forgiveness become real?