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What I Hold In My Hands

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Here at High Calling Blogs, we believe people serve God in their daily work. As Christians, we often struggle with what that looks like. Our current book club is examining this issue intimately as we discuss John D. Beckett’s book Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul.

Last week, we discussed three applications that set our work apart from the secular world: respect for others, using our gifts, and viewing trouble as an opportunity for growth. This week, as we discuss chapters 15-17, we look at three more ways to live out our faith in our work environment.

The application points Beckett illustrates in these chapters are:

  1. Compassion
  2. Extraordinary Service
  3. Giving Something Back

Compassion

In business, Beckett contends, compassion must be tempered with accountability. These two truths may seem to be opposites, he says, but in fact they are parallel.

Compassion without accountability produces sentimentalism. Accountability without compassion is harsh and heartless. Compassion teamed up with accountability is a powerful force--one which we have found can provide a great incentive to excel.

Beckett’s company demonstrated an extraordinary amount of compassion when they founded Advent Industries. Advent Industries is R. W. Beckett Corporation’s answer to a season of high unemployment in their community, and the realization that their community contained a high amount of unemployable people. The company formed an organization that trains high-risk individuals to do subcontracting work for them and other area businesses. This branch of the company has been highly successful for over twenty years now and has helped over a thousand people.

Extraordinary Service

John Beckett believes that a business firmly rooted in good service will be a powerful force. He believes this enough to make service the central idea in the company’s Corporate Roadmap--their statement of core beliefs and values:

We commit to being very attentive to our customers, going beyond servicing them to satisfying their highest expectations. We pledge to be responsive, following through on commitments while avoiding any kind of arrogance or indifference. We desire to be predictable, reliable and trustworthy, willing to go the extra mile for something we believe in.

Beckett describes several ways his company promotes extraordinary service and describes a personal experience at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Palm Springs, California in which he was the recipient of such excellent service that it made an impression on him.

As the recipient of excellent service, Beckett came to understand how providing such service makes an organization stand out.

Give Something Back

In this chapter Beckett reminds us that we are all stewards of what we have been given. Responsible stewardship always involves helping others, or “giving back”. In the Christian economy, the more one has, the more everyone has.

R.W. Beckett’s Corporate Roadmap describes their stewardship philosophy:

We are not an end in ourselves but a part of God’s larger purposes. As such, we are called upon to work as unto Him and to be wise and able stewards of the trust He has placed with us. We realize we are dispensable at any time in God’s economy, but that it is also possible to conduct ourselves in such a way as to please Him, and fine His continuing favor.

Beckett’s company not only chooses to “give back” through Advent Industries, they also are involved in many other programs locally, nationally and internationally that work to make a difference in our world today.

Beckett explores these three applications--compassion, service, and stewardship from a corporate perspective. But he also gives me some valuable advice that I, as an individual worker, can employ.

Beckett reminds us of the story of Moses’ call. When God told Moses to go before Pharaoh to gain the freedom of his people, Moses was reluctant (to say the least).

God asks Moses, What is that in your hand?

When Moses offered his simple wooden staff, God turned it into a serpent. Beckett says,

God was showing Moses that what he had in his hand was an instrument representing God’s power and authority.

It may feel like the things I hold in my hands are insignificant--that an individual cannot make a difference. But if I offer these things faithfully to God, He can transform them into a powerful witness of who He is.

I can always give compassion. It may be hard at times, but I have the ability to give extraordinary service. And when I give back to help others or help this world, I am demonstrating the faithfulness of God.

Next week we will finish up part three as we discuss chapters 18-21.

Discussion questions:

  1. Name a situation you are dealing with right now that calls for compassion. How can you best apply it in balance with accountability?
  2. How can you translate the principle of extraordinary service into your work?
  3. Name two or three ways you exercise generosity and maximize the potential of the resources God has entrusted to you.
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