Everyone Is Watching Someone

Note: This reflection is the first in a series based on the Bible book of Nehemiah.

For generations the marketplace has been blessed with many great leaders who have inspired untold numbers and provided a model to emulate. Names like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos are examples of some who have motivated millions across the global marketplace.

My career began in Houston, Texas. As an aspiring real estate developer I had the benefit of observing an industry giant in the making named Gerald Hines. Although I never met him in person, I watched him from a distance. His reputation for excellence and the thought he put into his developments was a huge inspiration and challenge.

As a follower of Christ I have always watched for men and women of faith who display integrity and excellence while achieving and innovating in their businesses. I can point to past giants like the late R.G. LeTourneau, James C. Penney and Truett Cathy. Yet, I am incredibly encouraged to discover a growing circle of current marketplace leaders who carry themselves with Christ-like humility, courage and honor, serving as great role models among us.

I would like to draw your attention to someone timeless, whose story God has graciously preserved through the ages. His name was Nehemiah. He demonstrated some significant leadership qualities as he navigated very sensitive circumstances in a highly demanding political environment. He used His God-given management skills well as the executive director and general contractor over a huge government-funded rehabilitation project. He overcame sabotage and international materials acquisition nightmares, and had to rely on and develop an inadequate labor force. Nehemiah also resisted profiteering and under-the-table deals in order to bring the project in ahead of schedule and on budget. Later he became the governor of the city, leading the broader rebuilding and restoration efforts.

This may be a new take on a pretty familiar Bible character, but Nehemiah’s faith in God’s promises and calling is worth taking a closer look at. Nehemiah’s story is even more remarkable when we recognize that it’s told in God’s own words. Over the next several weeks, I will share some thoughts that can help us navigate the maze of our own marketplace context.

Let me leave you with two simple questions to consider:

Who are you watching? It truly matters who we are taking our cues from. “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NLT)

Who is watching you? You probably have some awareness of someone who is looking up to you. What is more likely is that you have no idea who is taking their cues from your life and work. “Timothy . . . train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. . . be an example of all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4: 7-13, NLT)

Serving Him with you in the marketplace,

David Atchison

Lord, I am thankful that there have been so many faithful models in the marketplace, who You have used to show me what it means to walk by faith, live with integrity and work with excellence. Open my eyes to understand how you worked in other biblical characters like Joseph and Lydia. I have so much to learn, even from ancient men and women who followed after You. Amen.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” – Apostle Paul