Next month on Good Friday I will be participating in a breakfast meeting called “Hope in the Marketplace” in the Philadelphia area. The vision for this gathering is:
“to encourage and equip all Christian men and women in the marketplace, to take the next step in living out their faith right where they have been planted, to God’s glory for His Kingdom.”
I was invited to speak at this event and talk about how I live out my Christian faith at work. I’m always excited for opportunities to speak and, of course, accepted. At the same time, I was not exactly sure what I would share. Because Rick and I own our own company and it’s relatively small, we do not have some of the restrictions and challenges that others might face at their workplace. Then a friend suggested that I share how others in the marketplace have affected my own faith journey. Now that is something that I am excited about!
Five years ago when Rick and I were just friends, he invited me to come to his company retreat in Virginia. Each year the Beacon team and their spouses would gather for two or three days for learning and fellowship. I had recently been through a very bad break up and as a result had moved with my son to a new community. A few short months earlier I started going back to church after a 20-year absence. I remember being very nervous about meeting the rest of the team. What if they made me pray – out loud? What if they were judgmental? I just wasn’t sure what to expect.
What I saw that weekend was men and women of faith living in alignment with their values. The couples were attentive, affirming and loving toward each other. I was used to spending time only with couples where the men and women would split off into their own groups, often criticizing and complaining about their mates. During one activity, I asked every person to take 3 minutes and talk about the 3 most important people or events that influenced their lives. The spouse was at the top of the list every time! I very clearly remember thinking, “I want what these people have!”
Now you may think that this doesn’t count as marketplace influence because we weren’t actually at work. That’s what was even more telling for me. Have you ever been to an offsite event where all the decorum of the office went out the window and replaced with plentiful drinking and debauchery? Typically, people are not on their best behavior when they are at retreats and events outside of the office. What I witnessed there were people who were acting out of love, whether they were on the clock on not.
Do you act one way at work, and another outside the office? Do you always speak well of your spouse even when they are not present? No one is perfect, but you should know that others are observing you at all times. When I’m frustrated or angry, I often stop and try to think about how I can demonstrate love to others. In fact, this year at Beacon Wealth we adopted “Love” as our primary core value in our business. That means we go out of our way to show love to our clients and each other, handling even the most challenging situations we face in a gracious manner.
Some of us are called to evangelize, or to be teachers or missionaries. Even if none of those are your calling, you have an amazing opportunity to impact others just by living out your faith in the marketplace. So, how will you demonstrate love at work this week? How will your words, attitude and actions point a lost and hurting world to Jesus?
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)