Towards the end of each year, my wife and I choose one word to describe what we want to focus on for the upcoming new year. It is a practice I picked up from a friend when I moved to Kansas City for the inaugural KC Fellow Program. Although periodically difficult to remember throughout the entire year, this simple practice has brought plenty of healthy intentionality and fresh perspective to how God continues to work in my life.
My “word” for 2019 is Reflect. The idea behind this word is to spend adequate time reflecting on past experiences and life-situations God has allowed in my life, and to try to pinpoint how those experiences edified my soul and brought me closer to Christ. Therefore, when asked by KC Fellows Director, Kris Fernhout to write about how the Fellows program has shaped my outlook on work, I figured my process in writing this post will bring plenty of reflection to process and contemplate my very memorable, and life-impacting nine months with the KC Fellows.
This coming May, it will be four whole years since I completed the program. Since then, God’s provision through the incredible community and business network here in KC – all rooting from the Fellows program – has given me the opportunities to work for a startup business with an incredible culture, coach youth soccer for a faith-based competitive soccer club, and now work for a company that provides mobile, onsite health solutions for companies around the country.
Side note: I also ended up marrying the Executive Director’s daughter, Hannah (pictured with me above)… but that is another story for another time!
Even though it’s been a few years since finishing the program, the framework and outlook on work the KC Fellows instilled in me, continues to have a major impact on how I view my day-to-day responsibilities at the office and on the soccer field.
Whenever someone asks me about the Kansas City Fellows, I regularly have my “go-to” on how to best describe it. Part of my description is sharing how Jesus, the savior of the world, spent most of his life as a skilled carpenter, likely under the mentorship of his earthly father, Joseph. What continues to amaze me is the amount of time Jesus spent carving, cutting and sanding the very trees He created in order to provide a product to sell to Jews, Romans and everyone in between. Although no one knows for sure, I would put all my money on the assumption that Jesus provided the best tables, chairs, pricing and customer service in the known world… all to please the Father and glorify His name through the difficult craft of carpentry. And that is the mindset that has been engrained into my heart ever since my time with the KC Fellows. It provides meaning, purpose and direction in my everyday work and interaction with others, despite the type of tasks or the level of enjoyment you find in a job. Why? Because doing good work brings glory to God, purpose in our work, and is an effective way to “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1Pet 3:15). Doing good work and being thankful for the ability to work separates us from the world of “Monday Blues” and “TGIF’s”. Don’t get me wrong, work does have its very difficult days, weeks, months, etc… I have experienced plenty of it in my very young career. But when we can daily come to God and ask Him to give us opportunities to do good work and honor Him through everything we speak, write, create and think, eternal purpose begins to dominate our day-to-day work, and the freedom we have in Christ to serve God with our all, becomes a very real and tangible delight in our hearts.
This Biblical framework of re-integrating our faith into our everyday work continues to be a pivotal prayer request in my own life. And by His incredible grace and guidance, we can all strive and succeed in glorifying our heavenly Father with every email, negotiation, audit, surgery, business plan (I think you get the idea) that God gives us to steward for His eternal purposes.