Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mission And Provision

I met my friend John Baker at his office this week. It was a special treat since we had lunch at a favorite restaurant in his building in Bellevue (and he bought).

I always enjoy talking with John. He’s been a friend for a long time, being among those who were with us when we launched the congregation that is now Pleasant Bay Church over ten years ago. He’s always been willing to help, serving in leadership and singing in the choir. He has a background in ministry, serving on a church staff and leading in para-church organizations.

These days John serves as Senior Vice President, running the Greater Seattle office for an international consulting firm that specializes in talent and career management for Fortune 500 companies. For example, John’s firm might work with a company to help align their workforce with their changing goals. If the new strategy results in needing to move some employees around, or even out, John's firm provides services to help transition people into new opportunities, and they work with the reorganized groups to help them navigate successfully through change and on to success toward the new goals. In addition to leading the office, John ‘s hands-on work includes strategizing with corporate leaders, leading workshops, and one-on-one counseling with people in transition.

During our conversation, John talked about work and calling, and the way experience and training and passion and interests coalesce into meaningful work. He said, “I’ve always believed that this work is right on the same trajectory that began with my volunteer work in campus ministry, that led to youth ministry in a local church, that led to work in Christian higher education, and on into my current responsibilities.” He identified the common thread in these expressions of his calling and vocation as “helping people make decisions at critical times in their lives that impact their entire lives and futures.” When John is working with people, it is often at a critical (and often times stressful) point of transition. He brings his education and experience to the table, helping folks make decisions and take steps that will set them up for a successful future.

In light of what I’ve been working on these days, it is hard to deny that John’s work is directly connected to God’s work.  Keller is right when he says things like “work – and lots of it – is an indispensable component in a meaningful human life. It is a supreme gift from God and one of the main things that gives our lives purpose.” So it is no stretch at all to determine that John’s work is at the center of God’s design for us humans.

Given John’s expertise in the topic, I was interested to hear what he is currently reading; these days it is So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. The subtitle helps us capture what is inside: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. The publisher’s description says, “In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that follow your passion is good advice.”

I like the way John put it when he said, “It is not just about pursuing mission; it is also about provision.” Provision… it is both a matter of providing for yourself and your family, and a matter of assessing the gifts and talents provided by God.  More than merely chasing after one’s dreams and desires, it is about determining how to be most productive with what one can do.

I really appreciate John’s practical approach. And I’m glad I have a friend like John with whom to continue this conversation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for posting a comment. This is a moderated blog, so your post will be published as soon as it is reviewed.