Tomorrow is the final work day of our 36th year in business. Our fiscal year-end is on March 31st and so this week has been packed with updating folders, paying bills, sending out invoices and making sure that everything is in order for the beginning of our 37th year in business on Monday morning. It is each year at this time that I reflect on the journey that we have been on all these years and, more importantly, where we are headed in the years ahead. God gas been good.
Even my vision has changed from the very beginning. At first, I thought that we would be a marketing company and help organizations increase the awareness of their products in the community at large. We had our first event at the 1983 Indy 500 race and to fulfill our obligation of handing our packets of information at the gates of the track, we needed to hire people who could work for us on a temporary basis. It was from this austere beginning that we actually became a staffing company – focusing in the areas of office support and, eventually, light industrial work. We even had a division that provided those folks that you see doing food demonstrations in grocery stores, or at Costco and Sam’s Club, on the week-ends.
We grew rapidly after the first several years but I could tell that something was missing from the formula. Eventually, I figured out that it was more about the people, our employees, than the clients and we improved our focus to match people with jobs that would best suit them. Throughout the years, we helped more than 15,000 people find jobs and had more than 60,000 people come through the company at one time or another during our years in the staffing business.
Then, years into our growth, we changed again – I started consulting a little – and eventually, before the turn of the century, we had quite a shock one day – one of our clients took her own life. It frustrated me that I wasn’t able to help her; what’s more, I realized that I didn’t have the training to help her even if I had known of her plans.
Janet and I prayed about it and that event was the one that originally pointed us toward my entrance into seminary. Of course, there were other factors, but we really felt the call of the Holy Spirit for me to go to graduate school. That changed everything.
From that point on, I was consumed with working on my relationship with God – the one who created me. Janet and I looked at ministry as a team event and she helped support our family when I was in school. Several dear friends also helped and without all that assistance, I don’t think I would have ever made it through.
Since then, I have focused on ministry work with people in career transition, have consulted to corporate clients throughout the country and have even performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies for couples who have come to me seeking counsel on getting married. Janet and I have been part of a Bible study for twenty years and we are proud to say that we have watched all three of our children grow in their relationship with the Lord throughout their lives.
And to think that this all started on that day, April 2, 1983, the day we opened the doors to the business. What a grand journey it has been all these years. Now, as my career winds down, things are slowing a bit and I am more selective in the assignments I take. I still love teaching the Bible; and Janet and I love to spend even greater amounts of time together than we did earlier in my career. It’s been a good business. Yes, we have had our ups and downs and our accountant, Al, who has been with us every step of the way, has seen it all with a front row seat. What a joy it has been to have him with us – like a member of our family.
So here we are getting ready to close the books once again and look forward to what the future holds. It reminds me of how we approach the Bible as we grow in our faith. If we look back to when we first started our relationship with God, most of us would have hard pressed to anticipate where we are now in our faith walk. That’s because our relationship with God changes as we gain experience in prayer, worship, Bible study, family and life in general.
Our verse for this evening highlights the fact that although we may think that we answer to our earthly bosses, we have to be ready for changes in assignments and realize that we really work for God. Paul, the apostle, who is the author of the letter to the church at Colossae, tells us in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
My encouragement tonight is that God wants us honor Him in all that we do in our work life. While this idea may seem foreign to us, it is clear from the Scripture that God expects us to serve others in all we say and do – and that includes our work. My prayer is that we will all remember the mandate that we have been given – to be ambassadors for the Kingdom and to dedicate our work to God. Here’s to another great year helping others get from where they are to where God designed them to be. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…