Have you heard this phrase?
“You’re a nice guy, but not a businessman.”
The enemy of the Jesus follower’s soul just tried to tag me with it today. Do you ever hear identity attacks on you instead of the Spirit’s ministry to the genuine believer’s soul? As I listen for the Spirit and His still, small voice, I hear, “You’re My child. I love you. Labor on and minister as I lead. Follow the Son and know My holy presence. Trust and enjoy My goodness working in and through you… Be like Elijah’s servant mentioned where he dropped him off in a town before the 40 days… Labor on not worrying about what others say. Listen for My promptings and follow hard after me.”
No one has this down to a perfect science – hearing God’s voice/promptings over the enemy’s. My hope and prayer however is to keep camping out in the place of tent life so-to-speak spiritually. My desire is to so clearly hear the moment-by-moment promptings of the Spirit that every phone call, every conversation, every challenge of another or encouragement of another is guided and prompted by the Spirit so I’m not so impacted not only by other people’s criticisms but also not so impacted by the enemy’s lies he so skillfully seeks to plant.
On the note of “nice guy” and “not a business man” I’m learning the beauty of ministry through business, SO… in the world’s eyes and other people’s eyes, sometimes we may not look like the most mind-blowingly successful business people. As we share the hope and love of Christ through our business opportunities – more concerned about souls than dollars – we are certain to run into the open or covered criticism that the numbers aren’t showing raging success in business.
The interesting path of owning an insurance agency and doing house flips is that I’m finally seeing a landing on our feet financially that back-fills and secures us pragmatically. I think of It’s a Wonderful Life where George says, “Money sure comes in handy down here, bub” while speaking to his guardian angel Clarence. House flipping has allowed us to keep seeing me run my agency the way the LORD has led me while seeing profit and stability in our over-all labor business-wise. I’ve also hired a high level business coach who has been helping me with my insurance business initially. She is also likely to stay on board for a season as we labor at the house flipping and possibly even coaching sides of business for the glory of God. Interestingly, it’s my believe that Jesus-following can ultimately lead to really stable business building, though He calls us to sell all, give to the poor, and follow Him. What?!! I’m deeply aware that we need to be ready to sell all and follow Jesus in the exact same way as the disciples, but for many of us, following Jesus includes a lot of “normal life” and encountering Jesus and those He’s leading us to serve in the throws of that normal life.
You can ask my team here in my agency and they will tell you of how special of divine appointments the LORD gives us in day-to-day business. You can ask the neighbors where we’ve gotten to flip houses and they will tell you about how special it was to be neighbors/do life alongside one another. I’m not saying the secret sauce is the Torrey and Carrie Moe show so-to-speak. I’m saying we are learning about how holy and wonderous God is in the normal – business and family life symbiotically interworking, not trying to have a “work life” and “family life” per se always so starkly divided from each other. For many their work life truly is tightly separate from their personal life. God has been merciful for this idealistic dude because I’ve been able to labor year over year at carving out (with His leading and provision) a life’s calling and vision where I’m serving my wife and kids and getting to do so through and even inside of being a businessman.
Would everyone say I’m a “good businessman”? Nope, and I own often the ways in which I haven’t been a thrillingly successful or even good businessman. I’ve made my mistakes and I’m learning to own them as I become aware of them, but as my coach has helped me see, I can’t bring all of my past into the present if I want to be the most beneficial to others in that moment.
Being Present in Life and Work is my new title for this post. I started it off with “Nice Guy, Not a Businessman” since that’s what the enemy had tried to whisper to me that others thoughts are of me, or what others might say about me when I die… The prompting came from having watched It’s a Wonderful Life and what Potter says about Peter Bailey – George’s dad. Isn’t it interesting that we have a catch 22 so-to-speak as Jesus following business people. We feel we should be more successful until we are quite successful and then we wonder what it’s all for anyway and feel maybe we should sell it all and follow Jesus. I’m not really in an extreme of that continuum at this point, though I can certainly do better in both business focuses – insurance and house flipping. I could certainly be much more successful and in a sense should be as best I can healthily get there. My prayerful hope would be to do well in both of these focuses long-term and free up some time for more overt evangelism and disciple-making – making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28).
Carrie and I routinely labor at getting on the same page in family, ministry, and business. What that often looks like while the kids are young is taking turns covering for each other to do this or that particularly in business. Through business we’ve gotten to see God’s work in and through us in really special ways. That said, with a wonderful counselor’s help, we’ve seen that another ideal we’d like to pursue with health and in God’s timing and guidance is that we would do more of what we do TOGETHER in any given week. We really enjoy the vision of laboring at our life always keeping more together time as a focus and goal and ideal. In our day-to-day I seek to not be in a rush to leave for work for instance, and I seek to drop all and be fully present when marriage and family call. At times I’ve been overboard with this where I know a client’s needs could have been more carefully attended to before I dropped a work day early for instance for something not too urgent, but again I’d rather lean toward a “family time heavy” schedule than the other way around.
In the same way, Carrie and I see the beauty of Together Forever for instance in Francis and Lisa Chan’s book, the vision of laboring at what the LORD gives you TOGETHER and laboring at that as much and as often as the LORD directs as far as actual time and passion toward God’s objectives and kingdom TOGETHER. A marriage on mission for Jesus.
This kind of focus can result in an idol of ideals. I do realize this. Coaching is an interesting world however because with intentionality ideals can be reached with God being the voice you’re listening for above all others so that His ideals are what we are focusing on. A popular phrase out there is, “What you focus on expands.” It’s just an observation really. What we focus on is where we are going to find our hearts camping out and if we are intentional, and if our focus points are godly and God-guided especially, we find ourselves living lives that leave a godly legacy. What a beautiful vision and biblical ideal! How beautiful would it be if we all did this day-in and day-out. My desire is to carve out with God’s guiding and leading a ministry at this point (maybe a “business as ministry” down the path) of coaching those interested in me practicing on them.
My desire is to care for a few souls faithfully for a few minutes once a week and specifically attend to rhythms of grace – biblical disciplines of grace. It is in these rhythms I’ve found so much calm and awareness of God’s voice in my life. In those places of prayer, Scripture reading, listening for the Spirit’s guidance, intentional iron-sharpening-iron encounters with other believers with some healthy frequency…. In these rhythms God promises to and does show up. In these rhythms we can hear in time His voice – there can be a frequent vision again in your life!
My flip phone for anyone interested in going down this path is 209-703-0357.
Excellent thoughts and words. May God continue to open doors, as you continue to grow and learn. God’s using you to change your corner of the world. Keep listening and following.