As a young developer in my twenties, I was blessed to be involved in a number of deals that were both successful and profitable. Before I knew it, I found myself competing with powerful companies and individuals for “higher level” projects. I remember the tension of inwardly wrestling with the insecurity of inexperience, while outwardly displaying the confident image I assumed necessary for the “serious player” in the marketplace. I will never forget certain meetings with powerful attorneys and heavy hitters in the real estate investment arena–those experiences were simultaneously exhilarating and frightening!
At those meetings, a phrase was always present, though not always mentioned. It was the lingering question everyone wanted to ask . . . “What are you bringing to the table?” Like a high stakes poker game, each person had to show his cards. Was it the inside relationship with the tenant or seller? The idea or deal itself? The money or financial leverage? Fresh ideas or a particular skill? The bottom line was always this: If you wanted to come to the table you had better bring something of value.
John 3:27 has a way of putting things in focus and bringing us back to earth. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.” Could this be the “chill pill” that alleviates your anxiety today? God is the source for anything of “table value” that we possess. Of course, He calls us to hard work and excellence in developing worthwhile market commodities, but He is ultimately the Giver of any gifts we have to offer to our industries.
This week, as I prepare to tackle my assignments where I will be involved in some meetings and conference calls, I will still probably ask myself, “What am I bringing to the table?” In one sense the answer is nothing. Nothing that hasn’t been graciously given to me from God for God’s supreme purposes. In another very real sense, the answer is everything. Wherever I go, and whomever I encounter, I will bring the priceless commodity of God Himself. Meaning His presence, His light, His strength, His resources, His hope. Now that I can really deal with! What are you bringing to the table?