In today’s hectic, even frenetic, business world, it seems everyone is running, desperately trying to get to wherever they are headed as quickly as possible. Where are you running? And even better question might be, what are you running to – and what are you running from?
Len, a friend of mine, recently gave a talk and raised these questions. I asked if I could borrow his key points and adapt them for “Monday Manna.” He called the talk “Four Qualities of the Man of God,” and I thought they also would apply to “the business and professional person of God.” Even if you do not think of yourself in that way, stay with me because these principles have relevance for us all.
The talk centered on a passage from the New Testament of the Bible, in which the apostle Paul writes to his disciple, Timothy. After asserting, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs,” Paul adds, “But as for you, man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:10-12).
This passage raises four questions all business and professional leaders should consider:
What do you run from? We can run from many things – past failures; personal, professional, even financial obligations; bad experiences and unpleasant memories; stressful situations. But do we run from circumstances that tempt us to compromise our ethics or betray our convictions? This is why followers of Christ are admonished in 1 Corinthians 10:14 to “…flee from idolatry,” meaning anything that would draw them away from cherished beliefs and values.
What do you pursue? As we advance in the workplace, we can pursue numerous things, many of them being good things: promotions, more responsibility, greater contributions to the enterprise in which we are engaged. But we also can become consumed with the pursuit of power, position and possessions, things that appeal to pride. Do we find ourselves pursuing, as Paul urged the younger Timothy, “…righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11)?
What do you fight for? If our family members or friends were in jeopardy, we probably would fight for their safety and security. We often fight for the next sale or the next client, for “market share.” But as Paul urged, do we “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12)? Do we resolve to hold true to our deepest beliefs, even if that could require a professional or personal cost?
What do you hold onto? In the business world there are many things to hold onto – reputations, status, income, even a corner office or prized parking place. But are we just as diligent to hold onto things that are not as tangible but, ultimately, of greater value? As Paul wrote “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Timothy 6:12). Even if we did that, what would it look like in practical, everyday ways?
Interesting things to think about, don’t you think?
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.
1. Do you agree that it often seems that most people in today’s workplace are frantically running, even at times when they are no certain where they are going? What are some of your observations about this?
2. What are you running from these days – and what are you pursuing? Why?
3. Think of some things that, if necessary, you would fight for? Explain what they are and your motivation for fighting for them.
4. Imagine holding tightly in a clenched fist the most important things in your life and career. What would those things be, and why are you holding onto them so strongly? Are you holding onto anything that you could never lose? What does it mean to “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called”?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:
Matthew 6:19-24, 33; Luke 15:1-10; Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:7