As a pastor I have often spoken out against the ways we Christians use our money to purchase things we want from $4 coffee at Starbucks to the kind of cars we drive to the houses we live in. Since entering the business world and watching the economy suffer around the world, I’ve been forced to ask some questions. After all, if no one purchased our product, a group of people would be unable to pay rent, buy groceries, have medical insurance, or even give to Christian ministries.
As a pastor I have condemned spending money on our houses, while praying for out of work contractors and carpenters. I have applauded Christian missions efforts in India, Thailand and Kazahkstan that employ local people for their good and in the name of Christ, while judging myself and those around me about our materialism.
As a business owner, I constantly watch the bottom line to measure what we can do financially for our employees. Our company takes seriously our role in mentoring our employees beyond their contribution to our production. We are pursuing every opportunity to leverage resources for the Kingdom. All made possible one purchase at a time by our loyal customers in our community.
As a pastor and business leader, my question is, if people don’t spend, where does the money come from to give?
Check out this article called “Fight the Starbucks Coffee Purchase Guilt” that asks the questions better than I can. I commend it to you for your thoughts!
For years now my name has been “Pastor Steve” (P. Steve to many!) reflecting my identity as a pastor to those who know me in that role. It’s funny, my long term friends and family, knowing me in very different contexts, have had a number of other names for me–most repeatable, a couple not!
At the beginning of June I transitioned out of my pastoral role at church, changing from “Pastor Steve” to just Steve. This has been a big reminder for me how much us guys understand ourselves in light of our title or role at work. I hear my 6 year old son identify people in this way. He was blown away when he discovered our friend Scott is “The Dentist.” Law officers have no names, they are simply “Policemen.” A buddy who took us up in his plane is a “Pilot.”
As one who easily gets caught up in titles, roles and the like, laying down my titled identity is proving a good thing for me. I don’t know where it all goes from here, but this is an adventure like none I’ve embarked on before. So, these days I’m working in our family business and finding contentment in learning to be just Steve.
As a cyclist, a motorist, and one whose thoughts drift to question just about everything, I began thinking about this sign the other day. I see them all over the Central Coast, usually when riding my bike. “Share the Road” What does that mean? Is it speaking to the cars, the bikes or both? (I bet the one usually assumes the other!) Ever notice they’re on roads without bike lanes? And what if someone decides NOT to share the road? Is there a “sharing” violation in the legal code? “Mr. Smith, do you know why I pulled you over?” No officer. “I’m citing you for a violation of Section 2C.51–unwillingness to share.” I know we’re all taught to share in kindergarten, but no one ever told me that sharing is demanded by the law. Whether or not it’s a citable offense, it’s a good idea, whether on four wheels or two–after all, if we can share the road, who knows what else we might be able to share?