“Wow – what an impressive set of talented young people!” a senior business leader told me recently, after looking at their profiles to prepare to speak to them.
I so agree.
And we get to speed them on their way! We in Boston Fellows get to help them walk with God. Help them grow in trust in Christ at work, home, play. Help them think and act more Christianly. Give them a context of peers and more experienced Christians as fellow pilgrims on the path.
They are doing so well. And we echo Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians: “Excel still more.”
“Work, study, pray, in community” is one of our mottos.
“Pray” refers to the spiritual disciplines, beginning with required daily devotions of Bible readings and guidelines in prayer. It is the least visible dimension of the program, but probably the most important. Twenty years from now, the habit of daily time hearing from God and bringing needs to him will no doubt have more impact that anything else they do in these nine months.
We call it “off-the-job training” (following Dallas Willard) for work and life. In a crisis, we are sometimes told, ask, “What would Jesus do?” But that’s usually way too late. It’s a poor substitute for training our thinking and emotions—knowing what Jesus would have me do—long before the challenge comes.
To illustrate, the army doesn’t tell soldiers, “Be brave when under fire!” No, it drills them in totally-counterintuitive responses, until these become a second nature, first during exercises, then in an actual firefight.
So also with Christians training for spiritual battle in the workplace.
We are in the final stretch of the year. These past nine months we have walked together through many job changes, through proposals of marriage, the frustration and futility of work in a fallen world, but also seeing dreams becoming reality.
One Boston Fellow just took a job as Finance Director for the fashion company Armani. His wife, also a Fellow, is launching a social entrepreneurship startup to train at-risk Latino teens as computer programmers. Another is carefully assembling a team to launch a for-profit, community-building coffee shop. Still others work in consulting, in marketing, in design, in education.
All are learning to serve God and neighbor in the working world, day-by-day.
We say: Do excellent work. Be faithful in little, if you want to be entrusted with much. Equip yourself. Work for an audience of One. It’s all about stewardship, not only of our finances, but of everything entrusted to us.
We say: God has a province for you to oversee in his kingdom!
I thank God for my work, for the privilege of setting young professionals on a career path that won’t necessarily show up on their resume. Thank you for praying, advising, encouraging, and giving.