God’s ultimate calling on our lives is not first about career paths or accomplishments.
It’s Faith and Work Week at All Things New. We’ll be exploring how our work connects to God’s work through the inaugural season of the All Things New Podcast. Here on the blog, we’ll be posting excerpts from a handful of the 11 episodes. Today’s segment is from our conversation with Drew Yancey, president of Yancey’s, a produce distribution company in Loveland, Colorado, and entrepreneur-in-residence at Peak Solutions.
Drew Yancey: There are certain tensions in the workplace that we can manage but we can’t solve. And there are others where we do want to solve and move on. Just speaking from my own walk, most of the tensions fall into the first category—tensions that don’t have an easy answer but that, as we embrace them and pray over them and think hard about them and do all of this in community, we get to certain points where we can manage them.
Specifically, the obvious tension is money. It is indeed the most obvious in terms of the biggest discrepancy between what our surrounding cultures value, absolutely. money is high on that list. we look at the New Testament and the recordings of what Jesus taught, he approached money in radical ways. Radical to his original audience in the first century and especially radical now.
But as I’ve thought about that more, money is probably the lowest on the list in terms of the fundamental tensions that we can face. There are more fundamental issues.
Trevor Sides: You’ve identified those things more important than money as time and character. How do those relate to work?
Drew: The faith and work convo takes a pretty unique shape when we put it into the specific context of entrepreneurship. There are few words as positive in our society today as “entrepreneurship.” It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t believe in the power of entrepreneurship.
Trevor: It’s uber on the weekend, it’s the hustle economy.
Drew: Yeah, it’s a highly prized cultural value. What’s helpful is differentiating between entrepreneurialism
and entrepreneurship as a profession. I’ve been exposed to the highs of entrepreneurship and some pretty significant lows. I was involved in a company as an investor that didn’t do well at all.
So, time and character can help us draw distinctions between entrepreneurialism
and being a follower of Jesus. Entrepreneurialism
tends to start with a focus on what’s right in front of us. And that becomes our entire reality—in the way that it forces our hope to be placed in the things that we can see and the things that are immediate. This impacted me at some pretty significant levels—in how it shaped my desires, habits and will. When we look at the life and teachings of Jesus, we see someone who is announcing a culminating chapter to a very, very long story. To think of that in terms of time means that we can’t understand ourselves unless we understand where we came from and where we’re going. There’s a deep rootedness in the Bible’s story that is contrasted pretty heavily with the dogma of entrepreneurialism
The second area is character. What I mean by character is where we get our deepest satisfaction in life. Entrepreneurialism
and broader cultures that don’t necessarily share in the Christian tradition are so focused on the immediate that they look at the external reality of the world as the realm from which we’re going to derive our ultimate satisfaction. But that’s just not true. The older we get, the more perishable we realize the world is, the more limited and contingent we understand ourselves to be. And we realize more and more that it’s actually who we’re becoming, the type of person
we’re becoming, that will dictate our ultimate satisfaction. The teachings of Jesus show that the condition of the heart in relation to one’s God and one’s neighbor is hugely significant for what matters most in life.
Trevor: Snapchat has a limited timeframe and creates a limited kind of character. How do time, character and vocation fit together?
Drew: We need to be particularly attentive to the categories we bring when we read the Scriptures. The topic of vocation has a long history in Christianity, especially its Western traditions. Because of that, you and I tend to understand calling in highly individual and atomistic terms today.
Vocation tends to be described by types of professions. Let’s contrast that with a text like Ephesians. What has God called believers to? Ephesians is quite explicit that God’s call is first of all relational—it’s a call to individuals to be in a community, a church, the church, the called-out ones. It’s very much a call to unity, to act and orient ourselves in a certain way. It’s not completely irrelevant to talk about our calling in terms of special calls or where we might see God working in our lives. It’s just that those calls are to be understood in light of God’s fundamental, ultimate calling, which is this: For people to follow the model of his Son, knowing that that is a privilege given to us by his death and resurrection. We are to follow his model, through the strength of his Spirit, to become a certain type of person—not to go out and necessarily accomplish a certain number of things, but to ultimately to take on Christ, to become like him, in the way that we love others, in the way that we orient ourselves throughout earthly life, in the way that we think, act and behave. These are all internal qualities.
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