THE CHRISTIAN WORK ETHIC NEWSLETTER
I continue to be amazed when I see how great results often occur that originate from such humble beginnings.
How about a gentleman by the name of Bill Gates who taught himself programming at the age of 13 and, after dropping out of Harvard, founded Microsoft when he was just 19 years old.
The reason behind his success is that he set his goal, worked to achieve that goal, and was patient. Bill Gates began his day starting at four o’clock in the morning and ate pizza. Then, he worked more than 16 hours a day and often stayed in his office all night.
Before graduating from college, I had the pleasure of being taught corporate finance by Dr. Elmer R Browning. When he came to East Carolina University, he started the Department of Business with one other teacher and a typewriter. Today, the ECU College of Business has become one of the nation’s premiere schools for studies in business and economics and is the largest business school in North Carolina with an enrollment of over 5,000 students.
And, I can never forget the Christian businessman, Truett Cathy, who opened the Dwarf Grill in Atlanta and invented an outstanding chicken recipe. After so many customers were drawn to his product and service, he soon opened several other Dwarf Grills in that city. The term “dwarf” certainly describes such a humble beginning which would grow into a chain of over 2,000 restaurants named Chic-Fil-A.
Yes, God often places such individuals in humble settings. And, let there be no mistake that He also rewards those like Mr. Cathy who was willing to write down a list of promises to His maker before opening the door to his first restaurant. One of these was never to open for business on Sunday.
Oh! Praise God for such humble beginnings!
Dr. Garth Coonce and his wife Tina know all about humble beginnings. While working in a business, God spoke to him and gave him a lifetime calling. He was to start a Christian television ministry. He and his spouse admit they knew absolutely nothing about television except for how to turn the switch on their home television set. Upon answering the calling, they were able to purchase a television station in Marion, Illinois. Then, they bought another one....then another one and, today, their Total Christian Television (TCT) ministry operates numerous stations throughout the United States. And, because God has provided them with financial resources from their faithful viewers, the ministry has remained debt free.
Then there is Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. It was started using Sunday School classrooms in a church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Houses located across from the church were rented and those became the dormitories for the students. Today, the total enrollment exceeds 100,000.
As this year comes near a close, we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our ministry. While working on this month's newsletter, I have had to stop and thank God for the astronomical success in fulfilling His calling. That includes this monthly newsletter and only because He, who gets all the credit, has placed so many thoughts into my mind throughout each month. And the result?
Our first newsletter was emailed to several hundred individuals. Today, our current e-mail list totals approximately 10,000 individuals. And, there has never been a month in which we have had to replace more than 175 names because of unsubscriptions, invalid addresses, bounces. etc. Yes, something that was small is now so large. It is such a pleasure to share our monthly message with so many and I am so thankful for all of you who remain with us! .
Rest assured that small things are important to God. The smallest of all seeds on earth is one example. Yes, when describing the kingdom of God, Jesus said it is like a mustard seed. Yet, when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade. (Matthew 13:31-32)
Four thousand years ago, the patriarch Abraham began with two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, both born in his old age. From one of them, Isaac, through his son Jacob, came the nation of Israel and eventually our Savior, Jesus Christ. Abraham’s small beginning in this regard eventually affected the entire world for good!
And what could be a more humble beginning than the earthly life of Jesus…..born in a stable? Wrapped in cheap swaddling clothes? Laid in a trough from which animals were fed?
Oh! How humble…how humble and how wonderful it is to know that when our Savior became an adult, He never lost that virtue because He brought it with him..... live and direct from Heaven.
And, He was so humble, He was willing to take His humility all the way to the cross. And then? And then?
Humility that began in that stable would result in the greatest event that will ever be recorded in history. And, that is when He would walk out of that tomb having defeated hell and the grave.
So, as we come into another Christmas season, may all of this cause us to examine our own selves. Do those with whom we interact in the workplace or elsewhere see our humility? Such a question should cause each one of us to pause and do a little introspection exercise. Someone has said that humility means nothing other than complete honesty about yourself.
“If you are humble, nothing will touch you,
neither praise nor disgrace,
because you know what you are.”
– Mother Teresa