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.
This series of posts explores 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.
THE NEED TO KNOW THAT MY LIFE COUNTS
“When we talk about having a life of significance and meaning, it’s not about fame or money or resources. It’s about people and lives and hearts. That’s my biggest passion in life.”
~Tim Tebow, former NFL quarterback
Sooner or later, many of us experience the need to know our life counts, that we are making a difference. For those who feel this need, it usually happens within the context of questioning the purpose or meaning of life. As Bob Buford points out in his bestselling book “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance,” there comes a time for many when the focus shifts from success to significance.
For me, the concept of significance was not top of mind in the early days of my business career. Actually, it was inseparable from success based upon what I accomplished, the recognition of others, my bank account and my possessions. I suspect this sentiment is (unfortunately) pretty normal for aspiring executives.
My identity and purpose were self-defined. Without an external referent, they reflected the material here and now. Thus, prior to encountering Jesus, I would not have related to Tebow’s perspective that significance is a function of our relationships and influence with others, not our accomplishments.
To grasp the concept of significance, I needed new vision. It reminds me of my laser eye surgery several years ago. The procedure took one (very expensive) minute! When I looked around afterward, the surgery theatre no longer looked fuzzy. It was crisp and clear. Even the fine marble grain on the floor stood out. The clinic’s promise of “high definition vision” was not an exaggeration. Having come out of the womb wearing glasses, I was stunned! It was truly a new life experience.
So it was that, when I encountered Jesus, He performed laser eye surgery. In an instant, the prism through which I viewed all of life changed. I relate to something Jesus said as recorded in Luke’s account, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.” Luke 11:34-35
Significance now loomed large and was no longer primarily a derivative of business success. Instead, it related to purpose, meaning and relationships. Most importantly, it related to knowing God. From my perspective, the Creator of everything was and remains the epitome of significance. Being in relationship with Him imparted to me an eternal significance distinct from professional and personal success.
That said, I also understood that being a marketplace leader is a calling and that, if I pursued it with God’s leading, I could significantly and positively impact my world – family, company, marketplace and my entire network of relationships. In essence, God’s significance in and through me now defined success rather than success defining significance!
I believe my life counts because I know Him. Do you?
Next week, I will explore the need for financial provision.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.