Making Work Meaningful


by Susana Zepeda Cagan
Sr. Director of Talent Development & Studio Relations, Fandango/NBC Universal

meaningful-workI struggle at times in my work to find meaning in the day-to-day. The stalled projects, long meetings, endless emails and phone calls pile up like noise or a cloud covering the real work I feel called to do. And like many of you, I ask, “Is this what I should be doing with the time I have Lord?”

My friend, Jaki Granger, gave me a book years ago written by Pastor Lloyd John Ogilvie. He wrote a prayer that I read on days like this, and I’d like to share it with you. May it lift you up as it does me and realign your days of struggle . . .

“When I Need Meaning in My Work”

Gracious Father, who has given me life, bless me today in the work I will do. I praise You for work that can be done as an expression of my worship of You. I bring the meaning of my faith to my work rather than trying to make my work the ultimate meaning of my life. With that perspective, I seek to do everything to Your glory. I pray for mental alertness, emotional stability, and physical strength to achieve excellence in all I do.

Thank you for Your companionship in tasks great and small. It is awesome to contemplate that You who are in control of the universe have placed me in charge of what You want to accomplish through me.

Fill me with Your grace and make me a cheerful person who makes others happier because I am with them. Make me a blessing and not a burden, a lift and not a load, a delight and not a drag. It’s great to be alive! Help me make a difference because of the difference You have made in me.

Sometimes my long days of work and my nights of too little rest run together. I need You. I praise You for Your love that embraces me and gives me security, Your joy that uplifts me and gives me resiliency, Your peace that floods my heart and gives me serenity, and the presence of Your spirit that fills me and gives me strength and endurance.

I dedicate this day to you. Help me to realize that it is by Your permission that I breathe my next breath, and by Your grace that I am privileged to use all the gifts of intellect and judgement that You provide. Give me a perfect blend of humility and hope, so that I will know You have given me all that I have and am and have chosen to bless me this day. My choice is to respond and to commit myself to you.

I thank you for the attitude change that takes place when I remember I am called to glorify You in my work and to work with excellence to please You. Help me to realize how privileged I am to be able to work, earn wages and provide for my needs. Thank you for the dignity of work. Whatever I do, in word or deed, I do it to praise You. Amen.

Excerpts from Praying Through the Tough Times, by Lloyd John Ogilvie


The Power of Storytelling

by Ralph Winter, Producer (Captive, X-Men)


ralph winterStorytelling—it’s all around us. It’s in a courtroom, it’s in politics, it’s in our business, it’s in religion. It’s history. It’s what we’ve done around the campfires in teaching younger generations about life through stories. It’s cultural. It’s what we do at dinner when we have friends come over. It’s in movies and TV and social media. It’s in Instagram. The power and persuasiveness is front and center, and the best story wins.

At Sundance in January there was a fantastic film that will dominate the Oscars this next year. It’s called Birth of a Nation, the story of Nat Turner who led the slave rebellion of 1831. There were 1500 people in Eccles Theater standing and applauding and in tears at the end of this movie. And the director, Nate Parker, a strong Christian, stood up and told why he made the movie. He turned down an offer from Netflix for $20 million and took an offer of less money from Searchlight Pictures so he could stimulate dialogue about the content of the movie in community centers, churches, and theaters. It’s a pretty interesting, brave, and courageous choice in today’s market.

Sometimes the kind of things we do are not even on the faith community radar—but Mastermedia is there to support and understand what’s going on. I spend about 8-9 months a year on the road away from my family, and it’s people who pray for me and support me who keep me going. People like Buster [Holmes] and other friends, like my wife and my church community . . . people who hold me up while I’m doing this at a great distance, trying to make movies that have significance.

That’s one of the reasons to encourage and care for the filmmakers among us who are really “prophets” of the culture. In his book, Culture Care, my friend Makoto Fujimura says that believers who work in media walk in two different cultures—the secular and the faith community. They need encouragement, prayer, and people who understand what they’re going through as they prophetically try to show what the future is about.

In some ways, these filmmakers are like missionaries. They’re learning a new language and a new culture, and their values are different as they walk the border between two cultures. Let’s encourage our filmmakers as they’re doing that and being the prophets for this generation.