I’m in Colorado today. Yesterday I saw a classmate from business school who I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years. Lee Ashby and I were very different and after graduating in 1987, we went in very different directions.
In ’87, as graduation loomed, I faced a defining moment – business or ministry? My fellow classmates have gone on to make a lot of money and wield a lot of power. But I felt the Lord leading me into ministry. I was such an odd duck in that place – so counter culture. While they were dressing up in blue suits and taking off for Wall St., I was busy raising support to change the world.
A few months ago, Lee wrote me. He’d been searching on the web and had run across our site and knew that he had to get in touch with me directly. Here is what he wrote:
“Confession: Back in school when you said that you were going to undertake a career in mission work I thought you were crazy. While everyone else was going into consulting or investment banking, your career choice was, to say the least, unorthodox. — Now, 20 years later (I’m an incorrigibly slow learner) I finally understand and am now certain that you chose the career course that was by far the most enriching, rewarding, and fulfilling than just about anyone in our class. Good for you and praise God!”
Lee hadn’t been a Christian at school (he described himself as “an incorrigible agnostic who disdainfully regarded Christianity as just another form of ignorance”). I asked if he remembered the Bible I’d given him. He said, “Oh yes, I marked that up! I became a Christian later when I went through a personal crisis.”
Lee’s become a successful businessman, but his dream is to teach Swazi orphans to play baseball. He wants to take a bunch of bats and balls to a Swazi orphanage. This next year, I’m hoping to take him to Swaziland so he can do just that. He’s found the pearl of great price and he’s selling out to get it.
What can I say? This is just a totally cool story! Yay, God!
Amen! Praise God!
Praise God! What an awesome testimony and an encouragement that people do come around and acknowledge that this is real life and God is working in the corporate world.
I don’t really know how to respond.
I am glad that your friend has found Christ and feels called to teach kids how to play baseball. However, you blog implies that all business people are driven by selfish motives including making money.
Some of us dream about creating good jobs around products and sevices that people need, e.g., agriculture, electricity, transportation, medicine, education, etc. Some of us are called by God to work in God’s created universe with great policies and practices including a fair wage and benefits so that people can live a reasonable lifestyle not necessariy an exorbinant lifestye.
We are not called by God to be in business just so we can support the missionaries who feel as if they are more spiritual than those of us who are called to be incarnate in the work place.
I am surprised by the tone of this blog.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.