Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
The Christmas season is a special reminder to me that my faith in God is all about relationship with Jesus, not religion. It was during the Christmas season many years ago that I encountered Jesus in a way that is difficult to comprehend with the natural mind. Nonetheless, it remains as real to me today as it was back then.
At the time, I was in my thirties. We lived in Montreal, where I was responsible for Citibank’s corporate banking operations for eastern Canada. Mary had invited me to attend church and (in a weak moment) I agreed. My assent was, however, conditional on my not having to do anything that was, for me, intellectually dishonest. Being very smart, Mary agreed to my condition immediately!
During the service, I suddenly found myself acutely aware of God’s presence. I distinctly heard in my head the words “I am alive!” It was clear to me that the speaker was Jesus and what he was saying was (and is) true. To say this experience was profound is an understatement. I did not question it then nor have I since. Ironically, prior to my encounter with Jesus, I prided myself on my intellectual capabilities. However, God, who is Spirit, bypassed my reasoning faculties and spoke directly to my heart. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. This means that He will do the same for anyone who is open to Him!
In an instant, I knew God was real and I knew that Jesus was my reason for living. I relate to a comment by Darlene Zschech, a leader of Hillsong Worship in Australia: “The two greatest days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” Regarding the launch of God’s initiative to reconcile humankind to Himself, the Bible says the following.
‘…but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’ (Luke 2:10-11)
On behalf of all the LeaderImpact staff across Canada, merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Jesus is indeed the reason for the season!
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.