Revisiting Major Themes Amongst Global Workers

When I began this blog 9 years ago I wrote on 5 themes I had been seeing whilst working with cross-cultural workers around the world. You can find that first blog here.

I followed that up a number of years later with some fresher observations, you can see the start of that series here.

I’d like to nuance that list of 5 themes again. The observations I have written upon over the past years still stand. But I am looking for the deeper causes to these effects. Accordingly, I have come up with a new 5. There is clearly some overlap in these lists. I am trying to bore down deeper though. How do we get here?

Here is my current 5. These are part observed themes and part dangers to be aware of.

  1. Not taking one’s spiritual vitality in Christ and deliberate growth seriously enough
  2. Task over relationship – that goes for relationship with God too
  3. Inadequate (or absent) theology of suffering and understanding of spiritual resistance
  4. World/societal-values driven vs Kingdom-values directed
  5. Consequently, a deep abiding weariness that promotes self-preservation over overflowing self-giving

Over the coming weeks I will expound on each of these themes.

Today, I’d like to invite some self-reflection. Before you roll your eyes and move on over to instagram, consider….Self-reflection, according to Proverbs and other passages, is a wise spiritual practice. “Consider your steps” we are advised. The following is for your slow prayerful, consideration:

How is your spiritual vitality? How would you gauge that dynamic?

How are you growing in receiving the Father’s love to you personally?

How consistently and deeply are you receiving spiritual input, nourishment and renewal? What practices and sources are providing that for you?

How are the key relationships in your life fairing? Where do you sense lack? What do you yearn for?

What are the values that impact your daily actions and choices? (Values describe how one aspires to behave in all scenarios, but especially relationally).

Describe any level of weariness within you – physically, spiritually, emotionally, vocationally….

Take some time to reflect deeply. No shame allowed. Simply hold your reality before the Lord in this Lenten season. Confess that which is misaligned. Rejoice in the God’s mercy for whatever shines forth beauty, truth and goodness.

Next: The observation and danger of not taking one’s spiritual vitality in Christ and deliberate growth seriously enough.

This entry was posted in Living Wisely, Personal Vitality, Shepherding Well, Spiritual Vitality, The Shepherd's Health, Thinking Well and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Revisiting Major Themes Amongst Global Workers

  1. De La Cour, Faith says:

    Thanks for this, Scott. I often used your quote (which I think I first heard in Japan) of having a spirituality inadequate for my profession (I’m sure I butchered it today—I have it written elsewhere).

    As you know we’re in the middle of a new venture in life—but grateful for the years of God working his grace and faithfulness into our hearts and minds.



    • Scott Shaum says:

      Faith, yes you two are in the thick of it. May you both know the Father’s companionship with you. Good quote. Ill pick up on this concept of a spirituality adequate for our profession, for our very life (being a spouse, parent, friend, colleague….). Bless you both and thanks for the note. SS


  2. Traveler says:

    Thank you! Your list deeply resonates with me, particularly the primary emphasis on spiritual vitality and relationship. I’m looking forward to the series.

    I had wondered whether rest should be on the list — I have seen weariness be a challenge both for myself and others. However, I don’t want to displace any of these and I think rest is perhaps best framed in the context of spiritual vitality and relationship. I have started becoming more intentional about rest for myself because I’ve realized that while I can push through work on inadequate sleep, I really can’t be present with my family well. Rest can open the door for relationship.


    • Scott Shaum says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Right on. Rest is key. And it is a key part of spiritual vitality. I will expand on that more – but Rest is a Person. Jesus says come to me. Thus rest and spiritual vitality are significantly linked to our abiding with Jesus who is our rest, our life.
      Thanks for your note. SS


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