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No Looking Back: A Conversation with John Beckett

In Matthew 9 Jesus asks those with whom he is traveling to follow him. In the last verse, Jesus said “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

There is a cost to following Christ. The cost to you and me is the surrender of our will to his will; the cost to him was his life.

If your calling is to a career in business, you can’t look back. To follow means to keep your eye on the one whom you’re following, not the path behind you. 

Author and business leader John Beckett was called to business at a young age, but he first realized it is his second calling.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 reads, “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his calling. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

EW: In what way has your business career been a response to a prompting of your faith and calling?

John: “When I think of calling, I think of a statement by Os Guinness in his book, “The Call.” He said our primary call is always to Christ — then to vocation.”

“My call to Christ grew out of business challenges — the sudden death of my dad (our company’s founder) and a devastating fire. At one point I realized I was on a fool’s errand — trying to build a business in my own strength. Following my conversion, my call to vocation was confirmed when I sensed the Lord speak to me: ‘John, I’ve called you to business. Do it with all your heart.’”

“That was five decades ago and I haven’t looked back. My goal is indeed to live a life worthy of my dual callings — to the Lord and to business — and to do so with my fullest energy and capacities.”

2 Thessalonians continues: (1:12) Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him.”

EW: Loving Monday and Mastering Monday have made an impact on the lives of many business professionals and entrepreneurs. How has your writing brought honor to Jesus?

John: “My books were written out of a heart cry to help others in two specific ways: to live integrated lives where Mondays are of as great a value as Sundays, and secondly, to see biblical leaders like Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Lydia, David and even the Lord himself as highly capable workplace practitioners — folks whose examples we can profitably emulate.”

“Grasping these two realities is truly liberating! Why, you or I can be an “ordained plumber!” I’ve found among those who have drawn from our experiences and applied them in their own spheres of influence, they’ve been helped on their journeys, and the Lord has been glorified.”

EW: How do you serve the business community and your company’s employees with love?

John: “In 1 Corinthians 13, the great passage on love, we may be surprised to learn the Apostle Paul says as much about what love is not, as what it is.”

“That’s a lesson for us — what to avoid as well as what to embrace. We show love to others when we avoid arrogance, self-centeredness, greed, indifference and passing judgment.”

“True Christianity is found in humility, genuine caring, generosity and deep respect. These qualities touch hearts, which is where we engage others in effective and enduring ways.”

EW: How do you personally approach your work as worship, and how are your business endeavors an expression of worship?

John: “‘Work’ and ‘worship’ derive from the same Hebrew root, ‘avodah.’ It’s fascinating that they are related. How does this play out?”

“In true worship, we abandon ourselves to the Lord. In our work, we can give our all — to producing quality parts, making good decisions, solving knotty problems. “

“In worship, we express our adoration and affection. In or work, we are grateful for opportunities and challenges that enable us to honor God through our diligence and service.”

“Worship is surrender. That’s not a common term in our work — we want to win! — but just as we increase when we decrease (John 3:30), we prosper when we serve, always yielding to God’s wisdom and sovereignty.”

EW: What advice would you give to an entrepreneur who wants their faith to impact their work?

John: “The entrepreneur isn’t the wild west gunslinger, as often portrayed. Rather he or she works carefully with limited resources, taking measured risks and working diligently to fulfill a dream.”

“The greatest risk for the believing entrepreneur is going it alone — absent the wisdom, guidance and provision of God. In contrast, a sound approach is summarized in Proverbs 3:5: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’”

“Faith isn’t an add-on to work. Faith is the mainspring, the means by which everything else functions and has meaning.”

"No Looking Back" is included in Converge: A Journal of the Intersection of Work, Faith, and Worship. Available in paperback and on Kindle.

Listen to John share his story from the Faith at Work Summit:

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