In Jesus, Inc., Jones shows that there is no contradiction between earning a comfortable living even as you use your job to promote your deepest spiritual and personal beliefs. How exactly is this possible? Using timeless wisdom from the Bible and anecdotes from her own life and consulting career, as well as tales from the best and worst work situations in today's rapidly changing business environment, she reveals how you can inspire yourself and your coworkers to use your highest gifts to benefit the bottom line.
A genius at making the powerful familiar, Jones offers a commandingly fresh and compelling case for Jesus as a role model for modern times. Rich with humor, exercises, meditations, and case histories, Jesus, Inc. is essential reading for those seeking to put their spirituality to practical use.
|Publisher:||Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.81(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.95(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter 1
Heeding the Call to Spiritreneurship
I stood before 250 business leaders who had gathered in a palace in Austria for a special summit on Innovative Leadership, and asked them one simple question. "What percentage of people would you estimate are in the wrong jobs?" Their almost unanimous response was "seventy percent."
They gave that answer, in the form of an exclamation, in unison. There was then a long silence as we all contemplated the implications of it. If indeed what these business leaders believe is true, that seven out of ten people are working in the wrong jobs, then putting those people in the right positions could improve productivity, morale, performance, and profitability, which is every business leader's ultimate goal.
Let me ask you a question: Which musical note is a wrong note? Is B-flat a wrong note? C sharp? Obviously, there are no "wrong" musical notes, but only notes that are in the wrong place at the wrong time, thus destroying the harmony. I believe that Heaven will consist of every person doing what she most loves-of every note being in its right place. To me, Hell would be an eternity of people having to do work they hate.
Perhaps you are one of those people. You want desperately to express your talents, but you've been stuck in the wrong seat and given the wrong instrument in the orchestra. Perhaps you are feeling guilty about your lackluster performance. Maybe you are feeling angry and are not exactly sure where to direct your frustration. Or, perhaps you are hearing sounds that indicate you need to be doing something else, but are not sureexactly where those sounds are coming from, or why.
Those sounds may be your future calling, may be your call to spiritreneurship. "The Launch" will offer you practical examples of how to discern what is in your heart, and thus, your future. Maybe you are feeling the first tickle of wing feathers beneath your clothes. Maybe, like Gideon, you are hiding in a low-level job, thinking God can't find you there. Maybe you are a widow, in the sense that you have lost your former identity, either through downsizing or retirement or death of a loved one. God has a message for you, and it's good. Read these pages, and think about the words of Jesus, the world's most original spiritreneur. And remember always what he taught us, "With God, nothing is impossible."
He Believed He Could Fly
Riding one of the winged creatures, he flew.
-- 2 Samuel 22:11
For each spiritreneur there is a moment when the lights go on-when every cell in the body seems to shout, "I can fly!"
Fly where? Fly when? Fly how? Fly with whom? These must all be predicated by the very first question, which is: "Why fly?"
The answer is: "Because you can." Every single human being is capable of soaring beyond the daily grind and experiencing the bliss of heavenly support and motion.
Spiritreneurs are those who bring their heart and mind and soul and strength-fully integrated-into the work they do, and they do their work to honor God. Therefore, a waiter who makes his guests feel like kings and queens can be just as much a spiritreneur as the housewife who decides to start selling baskets out of her home so she can spend more time with her children.
I met a spiritreneur recently when I was on a speaking engagement at Lake Tahoe. The shuttle driver, Ron, met me at the gate with a hand-lettered sign with my name on it. He smiled and said, "I'll be your chauffeur for the evening." He gathered my luggage and, whistling softly, loaded it up.
He got out a small step stool to help me up into the large van and then we began our journey to the Squaw Valley resort.
I asked him how long he had been driving shuttles and he said, "About five years." I asked him if he loved his work and he said, "Oh, yes. Look at this countryside! I get to drive through it every day and share it with people from all over the world . . . And on the weekend I get on my motorcycle and head into the wilderness with my buddies to camp out and do some fly fishing."
I asked him what he'd done before and he said he'd been a professional snowboarder, representing and demonstrating snowboards at ski resorts, until he broke his back.
"It took me a year to recover, but the doctors and therapists were so nice to me. I met friends I didn't know I had-and the resort where the accident happened picked up all my medical expenses. How blessed I was, even through that ordeal. . . ."
He asked about me and my work and finally we arrived at our destination. He bounded out of the driver's seat to help me out and acted surprised when I gave him a large tip. "Wow, I wasn't expecting this!" He laughed.
I smiled and said, "It does my heart good to see people who love what they do."
Contrast Ron's attitude with what my friend Catherine Calhoun ran into when she was running a seminar for a government agency. Catherine told me that one young man in the seminar had come up wanting to talk to her. He told her he was twenty-eight years old, had been married five years to a woman who also worked for this agency, and that he hated his job. He said, "I get a knot in my stomach starting Sunday night and I dread Monday morning when the alarm goes off. I get to work and begin counting the minutes until the day is over."
Since his wife worked in a different part of the building Catherine figured it wasn't marital strife that was causing the problem. She asked how long he'd been working there and he said, "Seven years. And I can't wait until I retire." Catherine asked if he'd ever considered doing anything else, and he replied, "Yes, but this is a very small town. I couldn't get a job anywhere that pays the salary and benefits I have here. So, I guess I'll just bite the bullet and wait for the gold watch." This young man was the same age as my shuttle driver, who probably was earning slightly above minimum wage. Who do you think was the richer of the two?
(When I spoke to the same agency in another part of the country I asked the people to write down their number one goal in life. More than 90 percent of the cards came back to me with two words on them: To Retire.)
Catherine exhorted the young clock watcher to consider doing something else-anything else-for a living. "Waiting to retire is no way to live," she said. "For my sake-for your sake-please promise me that I won't see you here when I come back next year."
"Do you think he'll do it?" I asked her.
She sighed. "I don't know. There was already a dead look in his eyes."
How sad. How tragic. How sin-full.
Show me a person who can't wait to retire and I'll show you someone who hates his or her job. I'll show you someone who has been crawling to and from work every day just waiting for the clock and the calendar to say, "You can do something else now. It's official. Now you can fly."
In a little booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws," distributed by Campus Crusade for Christ, readers are told that "Sin means separation from God." If sin is separation from God, what could be more sin-full than choosing to devote your life energies and talents to work that does not honor God? If your work does not honor God it does not honor you. And conversely if it does not honor you, it does not honor God.
Slavery is alive and well in America today, yet most of the chains are invisible. The keys to our freedom are always within reach-if only we stretch.
Jesus is looking at you right now, no matter how downtrodden you may be feeling. He says to you with joy-
Wake up, Wake up,
And clothe yourself with
Put on your beautiful
Rise from the dust,
take off the slave bands
from your neck . . . recognize
that it is I, yes, I
who speaks to you.
-- (Isaiah 52:1-2, 6)
Jesus looked at the people intent on killing him and said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19). Jesus believed he could fly.
1. Is it possible to be a spiritreneur who technically works for someone else?
2. Of the two young men discussed in the chapter, who was more of a spiritreneur and why?
3. Do you believe you can fly?
4. If not, what's keeping you crawling?
I want to fly to my work in the mornings. I want my life's work to be to glorify and honor you, using my highest gifts. Help me unfold my wings from beneath my shoulder blades, and believe that I can fly.
He Guarded the Right Treasure
For where your treasure is, there will be your heart.
-- Luke 12:34
Recently I met with a woman whose highest gift is painting. An award-winning designer and artist, she had put her art career on hold to raise her family. With the final child out of the home and gone, Eva now had piles of art books and supplies in every room. In fact, she had collected so much material for painting that she no longer had room in her studio to begin the process. Although several people were clamoring to commission her work, she found herself unable to begin. After a friend recommended that she get some breakthrough career counseling she called me.
We met at a local coffee shop and began to identify the obstacles that were keeping her from pursuing her spiritreneurial dream. She said, "I can't start painting until I organize my studio."
"What's keeping you from organizing your studio?"
"The feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I've collected."
"Why not hire someone to help you?"
She replied, "Because only I can sort through what's really valuable."
"How long have you put off sorting through the material?"
"Nine months. Besides, the last time I went through the stacks of papers and files I found a check for forty-five dollars. If I just hired a stranger to throw away old papers that check might have been tossed."
There was a long silence as we sipped our tea and thought about what had been said. "Eva," I finally asked, "how many paintings are not being painted because of your clutter problem?"
"Countless," she replied.
"So the fear of tossing away a hidden forty-five-dollar check is keeping you from actualizing your lifelong dream?"
"Yes," she said, "I guess it is."
"Then you are guarding the wrong treasure."
Tears appeared in her eyes as she looked at the two pieces of paper before her. On one she had sketched her "problem"-on the other her dream of being a happy, busy, successful artist. "I guess I have been," she said. One thing that Jesus admonished us to do was to identify, and then guard, the highest treasure.
Surely few treasures could be as valuable as our God-given talents, dreams, and gifts. Yet how often do we, like the unwise entrepreneur identified in Matthew 23:13-30, bury and then guard the wrong gift? In the parable of the three talents, two spiritreneurs recognize that the treasure is not the money or talent they were given as much as it was their ability to multiply it. "Be fruitful and multiply" was the exhortation from God we received. The last was to go forth and share all that we had seen and heard the Master Multiplier do. When we guard the wrong treasures, it is those around us who ultimately suffer the loss.
Susan, a woman truck driver, had worked for years running a moving company for two owners. After they once again denied her a promotion, she got mad and quit. A single mother with two sons still at home, she took her $3,000 savings and bought her own truck. She then ran an ad in the classified section which read, "Two men and a truck will move you." She was swamped with calls. Her sons recruited their friends to help handle the demand and she kept reinvesting the profits. Three years later, she started a franchise. She is now a multimillionaire. This woman became successful because she correctly identified the treasure she'd been given by working for years at a moving company. The treasure was not "a steady paycheck." The treasure was the knowledge, relationships, and experience God had invested in her while she was working there. Finally, she decided to take her talents and multiply them, rather than guard the paycheck she had.
I wonder how many of us are investing time and energy guarding the wrong treasures.
"A merchant goes looking for fine pearls, and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl" (Matthew 13:45-46).When Jesus pursued his Highest gift, and left his lesser training behind, he was guarding the right treasure.
Jesus guarded the right treasure.
1. What false treasures are keeping you from multiplying your dream?
2. Identify some possible false treasures that people guard.
3. How free is a guard anyway?
4. What would friends say your hidden or unused talents are?
5. Are you willing to change your focus and let the lesser treasures go?
You are the greatest jewelry appraiser of all time. Please communicate to me in very clear ways the value you have bestowed in and on me, and then give me the courage-the sheer courage-to go out and multiply the wealth in my heart.
Table of Contents
|Section 1||The Launch: Heeding the Call to Spiritreneurship||1|
|He Believed He Could Fly||3|
|He Guarded the Right Treasure||8|
|He Had Impeccable Market Timing||12|
|He Was Willing to Walk Away||17|
|He Said, "You Can"||21|
|He Defined His Success Before He Began||24|
|He Didn't Work for Money||28|
|He Was an Insider||32|
|He Said, "Believe It--Or Not"||40|
|He Knew You Can't Fix What Isn't Broken||44|
|He Saw Through a Larger Window||48|
|He Said, "I See You"||52|
|He Had Multiple Titles||57|
|He Never Underestimated the Widow's Mite||60|
|He Started Small||64|
|He Was Nice to His Boss||67|
|Section 2||The Lurch: The Early Days and Your New Identity||71|
|He Knew He Couldn't Quit||75|
|He Knew It Was OK to Limp to the Finish Line||80|
|He Said, "Did You Look Up on the Roof?"||85|
|He Saw the Army||91|
|He Heeded the "NOT SHALT" Rule||95|
|He Was in Over His Head||99|
|He Knew He Could Cry If He Wanted To||103|
|He Knew a Business Plan Wouldn't Save Him||108|
|He Prepared for Deja Vu All Over Again||112|
|He Deflected Spears and Arrows||116|
|He Knew Where the Bull Was||121|
|He Had X-Ray Vision||125|
|He Did Not Fear Threatening Letters||129|
|He Overcame the Desperadoes||133|
|He Didn't Let the Winds Drive Him Crazy||137|
|Section 3||The Lessons: Learning Through the Wisdom and Mistakes of Others||143|
|He Did Everything AUTL||145|
|He Spent Time in Egypt||149|
|He Didn't Let the Fish Swallow Him||152|
|He Knew He Was "Big Enough"||156|
|He Invested His Emotions Wisely||160|
|He Finished What He Started||164|
|He Was Accountable||168|
|He Submitted His Plans||172|
|He Knew Everyone Has a Relative||175|
|He Didn't Try to Hide from the Winemaker||179|
|He Knew His Herds||183|
|He Did Sweat the Small Stuff||187|
|He Chose His Friends Carefully||191|
|He Kept His Maps Current||195|
|Section 4||The Love: Living the Visionary Life of the Spiritreneur||199|
|He Stayed Fascinated||201|
|He Always Washed with Tide||206|
|He Left It Alone||210|
|He Was Not a Perfectionist||218|
|He Allowed Room for Children||222|
|He Experienced Transfiguration||226|
|He Gave It Away||230|
|He Embraced the Presence of God||235|
|He Said, "Dayenu"||241|
|He Walked in Beauty||246|
What People are Saying About This
Laurie Beth Jones gives you many practical ideas on how to add love,
inspiration, and goodwill into your organization.
(Ken Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager)
Why Jesus, Inc.?
If you are looking for a job, leaving a job, starting a company, working at home, or trying to lead an organization large or small, then you are probably in need of the kind of encouragement that can only come through spirit. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Would I do what I'm doing even if I weren't getting paid for it?
- Am I doing whatever I do as unto the Lord?
I recently asked 250 business leaders who had gathered for a conference on innovative leadership two different questions. First, I wanted to know what percentage of workers they would say were in the wrong job? Their answer came back as an almost unanimous response: "75 percent." We all sat in stunned silence as we pondered the implication of these words. The second question I asked was which note in music is a "wrong note," A minor or F flat? Obviously, there are no single wrong notes in music -- only notes that are in the wrong place.
Between the massive layoffs of the '90s (and now), the search for significance undertaken by many aging baby boomers, and the development of new technologies as well as new economic models, there has never been a better time in history for each of us to reevaluate our time and talents, and redirect them to their brightest possible use in the workplace.
Currently, 1 in 4 Americans is an independent professional. One in 12 is actively contemplating starting their own business, joining the ranks of nearly 1,600 women per day who actually do launch their own enterprises.
In Jesus, Inc. I explore not only the paths to success but also the causes of failure that can derail even the most starry-eyed optimist. There is the initial launch phase when everything seems possible. I liken this to Moses seeing the burning bush, directly hearing the voice of God, and marching triumphantly toward Pharaoh.
Then there is Phase II -- The Lurch -- when Pharaoh looks up at Moses with his magnificent staff and says simply, "No."
That throws the spiritreneur into Phase III -- The Lessons -- when every sandhill looks the same and you wonder if you will ever emerge from the wilderness intact.
And finally, there is Phase IV -- The Love -- where the lion of your ambition lies down with the lamb of God's peace, and you recognize that this is indeed the work you have been called to do in the world, and your heart is full of glory.
The journey of the spiritreneur calls us to faith, power, and passion. I pray that anyone who walks it will find Jesus, Inc.: The Visionary Path, a worthy and true guidebook. (Laurie Beth Jones)