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.
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” ~Paul, the Apostle
In late April, Mary and I attended a gala fundraiser in support of the Ontario Women’s Centre of Teen Challenge Canada. Through six centres across Canada (en route to nine), the Teen Challenge program has been instrumental in helping many men and women escape from drug and alcohol dependency to lead productive lives.
That same week, I was the guest speaker at a little storefront church in downtown Toronto. By most definitions, the majority of attendees have lived, or were still living, on the margin. Some make their home on the streets, many have spent time in prison and most have struggled with drugs and alcohol.
For individuals in both groups, encountering Jesus was pivotal to personal transformation. While attending the Teen Challenge program, most of the students made the decision to accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and put their trust in Him. Likewise, a man named Louis made the same decision the day I spoke at that inner city church.
According to the Bible, they experienced a “new birth.” In that moment of choosing Jesus, they became alive to God, thereby knowing Him. That simple heartfelt decision forever changed their identity from someone defined by what she or he does to someone defined by whose they are.
Many marketplace leaders can’t identify with the foregoing because they don’t feel the need to be saved from anything. I relate. There was a time when the concepts of being saved and knowing God would have seemed weird and, in any event, irrelevant to me. As a young, driven business executive with a secular perspective, I couldn’t grasp how my personal wellbeing could possibly depend upon something spiritual in nature.
Moreover, in common with many marketplace leaders, admitting weakness was anathema! As a result, there were undoubtedly moments when I viewed faith in God as a crutch for those who couldn’t make it on their own. As per previous blog posts, I encountered Jesus in my mid-thirties and my life – both professional and personal – was forever changed.
Encountering Jesus is pivotal to personal transformation
This post is the first in a series in which I will explore the topic “knowing God” – what it is, what it is not, why it is important, how it is possible and why it is relevant to marketplace leaders in the twenty-first century. This is a topic about which I am passionate. Indeed, my life purpose is “to know Jesus better and to better make Him known.”
I opened this post with a quote from one of the greatest intellects of his day and author of a large part of the New Testament. After years of following Jesus and being violently persecuted (ultimately executed) for doing so, the Apostle Paul said that, for him, the most valuable thing was knowing Jesus. The following quote echoes Paul and nicely captures the theme of this series.
“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”
― J.I. Packer
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.