Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” ~Henry Ford
Last week, I discussed the merits of authenticity in both our professional and personal lives. For the marketplace leader who follows Jesus, the case for authenticity is even more compelling. Put simply, Jesus commands His followers to make Him known in the following statement, “You are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Note that the command implies that leaders should let their light shine not only on weekends but throughout the work week. Put differently, we are not called to be secret agents! It also implies that the light we shine in the marketplace should draw attention to God rather than ourselves.
Because of the hostile environment frequently encountered in the 21st century by people of faith, can we assume that this command does not apply today? Surely Jesus would understand if we chose not to let our light shine given the potential negative repercussions! As it happens, God has granted us free will because He loves us. As a result, He won’t force us to do anything. Given the prospect of potentially career limiting consequences, why should we stick our neck out?
The answer to this question is found in Jesus’ response to a lawyer who asked which of God’s commandments is the most important. His answer: “love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy and love others as well as you love yourself.” By letting our light shine at work, we tangibly demonstrate our love for God and our fellow marketplace leaders.
But how does shining our light at work show love for God? In the opening quote, Jesus links our love of God with obedience. In essence, we love God not by professing love for Him but by obeying His commands. And among His commands, we are to let our light shine at work, including sharing our faith.
Just as we love God by obeying His command to let our light shine at work, so also we love others when we allow His light to shine through us. Penn Jillette of the well known entertainment duo Penn and Teller posted a YouTube video several years ago exhorting Christians to share their faith. In the video, Penn makes the following (unsettling and politically incorrect) statement, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” What powerful words, particularly since Penn is an outspoken atheist!
Here’s a thought. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all! Is Jesus Lord over your professional life?
Having made a case for why marketplace leaders who are followers of Jesus must let their light shine at work (i.e., the previously quoted “Great Commandment”), I will next address how we do this effectively in light of various obstacles.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.