“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” ― Abraham Kuyper
How silly of us to think that we have the power to shove Jesus into one small room of our lives, even if we’ve tried to dignify that room by hanging a cross on the door. The King of Kings is Lord over the rise and fall of every nation and the rise and fall of every loaf of bread regardless of our stubbornness in recognizing this fact. But humans are good at ignoring facts and so we often live our lives as if our Christianity is only relevant to the “churchy” stuff. But Jesus purchased this whole crazy world on the cross and we are simply stewards of all He has placed in our care. This includes our jobs. Yes, Jesus is even Lord over our work, and the fact that we are citizens of God’s kingdom must impact how we operate within the workplace.
But how practically speaking should we be expressing the Lordship of Jesus in our work? It’s easy to see how a pastor can glorify God in his work. You can’t get more “churchy” than a pastor. That job has “Jesus” written all over it. But our modern eyes have a difficult time seeing how we might seek the glory of God as a plumber, park ranger, or proctologist. And even before we get to careers, how are we to teach our sons to recognize the Lordship of Jesus in his work around the house like cleaning toilets, doing laundry, and actually taking care of family pets? I want some real world examples, not just theory (even if it is sound biblical theory).
You may find these discussion ideas regarding work helpful for talking to your boys
That’s why I was so excited when I got to talk to Lewis Ten Have, Chief Operating Officer of Christian Brothers Automotive, a Christian business with 154 franchises in 23 states. I quickly realized there was a lot to learn from how this amazing company is seeking to honor God. Here’s just a few things I picked up from him as I tried to learn some practical ways they try to live out their faith in the world of business.
Providing A Work Environment Where Christians And Non-Christians Thrive
Everyone needs to eat. Christian Brothers Automotive displays the love of Christ by hiring people regardless of their faith because they see that providing men and women the ability to help feed their families is a way to love people. Also, God in his lavish generosity gives all men skills and abilities. By hiring skillful employees men and women of diverse convictions can not only display these gifts but customers benefit from quality work.
Loving Their Employees And Franchisees In Practical Ways
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a foundational principal within the company. Christian Brothers goes to great efforts to live this out by equipping and supporting their franchise owners. Starting a new business is overwhelming, so a robust program of coaching is available as well as counseling for franchise owners when storms and stress mount. Except for limited exceptions they also close on Saturdays and Sundays so that employees can be with their families. Yes, they miss out on potential profit, but Christian Brothers seeks to serve their employees not primarily to serve the bottom line but because God calls us to serve our neighbor.
They Take Appropriate Opportunities To Share Christ With Customers
Car repair can often be the result of trauma and can certainly be traumatic to the wallet, so there’s plenty of opportunity to share Christ and His love with customers in need. Franchise owners will often find themselves behind the steering wheel of their free shuttle and when customer’s needs are bigger than their car trouble. Lewis has found the shuttle to act as a place of listening and sharing the love of Christ.
They Operate For Profit
This may strike many Christians as an odd distinctive for a Christian company, but the profit with which God blesses the company allows them to employ far more people and to give far more generously than would be possible as a non-profit charity. Also, existing within the context of a competitive market also provides a natural incentive to produce quality results for their customers. God is honored when our work is excellent and a shrinking bottom line is a nice providential kick in the pants to provide better service at a better price.
There Are More Important Things Than Making A Profit
Just because a company is for profit does not mean that goal must dominate their decisions. An example of this is that unlike almost all other franchises, Christian Brothers has structured their business so that franchise owners pay themselves before they pay the company. The corporate headquarters only receives a commission from a franchise on profits rather than on their gross sales. This puts far more money in the hands of their hardworking franchise owners than is the norm in the franchise industry.
They also seek to give away at least 10% of their profits, including the free oil change and inspection they give to single moms once a year. This simple act of generosity doesn’t just help save money on an oil change but also helps to identify potential problems for a needy mom before more expensive repairs are needed.
Lewis was quick to acknowledge that they are not a perfect company because they are not perfect people but they nevertheless stand as a helpful example to which we might point our sons as we seek to show them how they might honor God in their work.
We encourage you to set aside some time today, maybe as you sit down to eat dinner, to use this story to begin a discussion with your sons about ways they might honor God in their work now and in whatever work God will call them to as grown men. We’ve provided some discussion questions on the back page to help you.
You can find out more about Christian Brothers Automotive or locate one of their stores by going to cbac.com or if interested in franchising go to www.christianbrothersfranchise.com