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Loving Monday: The Power of Story

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On a recent walk in an unfamiliar part of town, my husband and I passed an interesting place of business. Jesus Is Your Answer boasted the sign. Underneath this bold statement was the name of the company and then: Doing Business God’s Way. We had a chuckle at such an outspoken assertion and I peered through the window, curious. What does a company look like that does “Business God’s Way”? And, if I--as a Christian--find this establishment’s evangelistic methods somewhat amusing, what do nonChristians think?

It’s a tricky thing, this work and faith. How do I carry my beliefs into my daily toil and use them not only to benefit me--to keep my attitude Christ-like--but also to shine a light into a dark world? Is it enough to let my actions serve as an example to others? Or must I carry a sign boldly declaring “Jesus Saves”? These are some of the questions that came to mind when I picked up John D. Beckett’s Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business without Selling Your Soul. It’s our new book club book and I’m excited to see what help it offers in this enigmatic area. We are discussing the first three chapters this week.

The introduction, The Flight Plan, makes a promising statement. I’m convinced that truth applied produces results. You will find new and fresh ways to bring energy and meaning to what you do day in and day out. Your customers will notice, and your fellow employees will see the difference… That promise has me hooked. I want that in my work. I want that in my life. So my expectations are high for this read. Let’s jump in.

In chapter one, Peter Jennings’ Magnifying Glass, Beckett tells us about a news segment ABC did on his company, R.W. Beckett Corporation. They came calling after he spearheaded a national effort against some of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission’s (EEOC) guidelines that many feared would restrict religious freedom in the workplace. The news report went well--ABC cast a positive light on faith in the workplace and viewers responded enthusiastically. From that interview, I learned something important about John D. Beckett. When the correspondent asked him about his life’s purpose, Beckett responded: My main mission in life is to know the will of God and to do it. An honorable statement and one that piqued my interest even more about this successful business man.

In the next two chapters, we learn more about John Beckett’s beginnings. He tells us about his principled parents, his Episcopalian background, struggles with reading and relating the Bible to his life. We learn about his college days, how he met and fell in love with his wife, Wendy, and the beginning of his engineering career in the aerospace industry. He tells us about joining the family business with his dad, how his lukewarm faith is ignited by a challenge to read the Bible every day, and how this helped him through his father’s sudden death. Yawn. By chapter three I’m expecting some good juicy tips for transforming my work life. My expectations are high, remember? I’m not interested in a biography. That’s when it hits me. Perhaps this is where transformation begins--in sharing our story. Beckett is laying a foundation. In sharing his story with us, he opens the door to trust. And no message--no matter if it is given by example or if it screams from a billboard--no message will be received if trust is not there. Sharing our story is a good place to start. Hmmm. I’m going to keep reading. Next week, chapters four through seven.

Each week I will pick out a few discussion questions from the ones listed in the back of the book. I hope these questions will guide our discussions, but feel free to post your own thoughts and reactions to the reading material.

  • List a few specific ways your basic beliefs have a bearing on the way you go about your work.
  • Would you be excited or troubled if a national TV network wanted to do a story on how your faith relates to the way you do business?
  • Think about your personal history. List a few pivotal points in your life…How have they impacted your life and led you down certain paths to where you are today?
  • Describe your pattern (your regular discipline) of Bible reading and study. Do you consider it a delight, a burden, or is it basically nonexistent? Why?
  • Describe a particular time of crisis or trouble that you have experienced along your life’s path, especially in your work. What have you learned from crisis or trouble that can help you in the future?

Related posts: Loving Mondays: Show, Don't Tell by L.L. Barkat of Seedlings in Stone ; Loving Mondays by Glynn of Faith, Fiction, Friends

Post by Laura Boggess

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