Finishing Strong!!! Part 3 of 5

Everyday this week I am sharing one of five parts of a dialogue that took place through email and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. The reason for this dialogue-taking place in person, email and FaceTime is that we live nineteen hours away from each other and it was a progressive conversation over several weeks. My intent in sharing this dialogue is that it might be used by God to encourage a mom, dad, son or daughter to keep the doors of communication open. I do have Jody’s permission to share this series of articles.

Today I am sharing part three of our dialogue.

The following is an inside view of a dialogue through email and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. My intent in sharing is that I hope it may encourage a mom, dad, son or daughter.

This past Spring my youngest son Jody and I took time to visit and write about finishing strong. You see, at that time he was one year away from graduation at Liberty University. It is often said you will be remembered more by how you finish than how you start. I knew we were on the eve of Jody completing his third year at Liberty and thought this would be a good time to encourage him how the next twelve months have the potential to shape the rest of his life.

I challenged Jody in five areas to finish stronger at Liberty University.

Yesterday, I covered the challenge for Jody to finish strong in his academics requirements.

Today’s post covers the third area that Jody and I discussed last spring. The third area Jody and I discussed was expectations and work ethic. I am thankful that Jody has a desire to work and that he is a hard worker. He has held several jobs prior to the start of college and throughout his college days including multiple jobs at the same time. While in college he has been part of the Music and Student Staff at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Dillwyn, Virginia where he has served along side his brother who is the Senior Pastor. He has worked as a retail sales person for a Sporting Goods Store, a handyman at the American Association of Christian Counselors office, landscape work, and a free-lance photographer.

Our conversation about expectations included both the acknowledgement of written and unwritten expectations that exist among family, friends, employers, co-laborers, roommates and yes-even spouses. We both agree that it is important to know or discover expectations and to give one’s best to meet them.

In our discussion about work ethic I reminded him that this means being the same person if you were alone or in the crowd of one hundred. We also discussed that as a leader this includes being on time if not early in attendance for classes, meetings and appointments. I encouraged Jody to be prepared for meetings, assignments, etc. in addition to being on time for them. Our conversation wrapped up with a discussion about completing assignments as a student, employee or whatever the occasion by the appropriate deadline.

As a part of this discussion on expectations and work ethics we discussed communication and its importance as a leader. Our communication discussion included the subject of response. This included responding to people in timely manner when they have contacted you via phone, postal mail, email or social media. We also discussed the importance as a leader to help team members prepare for whatever responsibilities they have by planning, communicating and equipping them so they can accomplish what has been asked of them. Some examples include daily responsibilities, worship service planning and project management.  I told him doing this does not mean you are a high performer in your work. However, it does bring to the table the best experience for everyone on your team to be and do their best for God.

Through the years we have had family discussions about work ethic. I have confessed to our family and reminded Jody that sometimes I have been hard on myself as it relates to expectations and work ethic but never have I intentionally tried to transfer my personal expectations on others including my family. I told Jody that while we may put high expectations on ourselves the bottom line is do we have a work ethic that honors Jesus Christ that results in one given their best for Him.

Here is how we prayed about this matter: Lord, we praise You for the gifts and talents You have given us. May we use them to glorify You and may we see others as You have created them. In the name of Jesus!

Today’s Take-Away for you to consider:

Be the same person behind closed doors that you are in public!

Leviticus 19:11; Romans 12:2; Proverbs 11:1

I hope this series of articles brings encouragement to you. I also hope that it opens a door of communication within your family. Leave a comment on my blog at

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

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