Tag Archives: Christian in the workplace

God places us in our vocation

C.F.W. Walther was the first president of the Lutheran Church in the United States. The following is from a collection of his sermons from Concordia Publishing House. He talks about how we are placed in and used by the Holy Spirit in the vocation we are in for a reason. Dr Martin Luther made vocation an important part of his issues with the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Church had been teaching that those who are in “religious” vocations are on a higher level than the rest of the worldly vocations. That somehow priests, nuns, monks, do work that is more important. Luther took issue with that in that we are all placed in our vocation by God for His purposes. Therefore since we are in those vocations at God’s behest, we are serving Him to the best of our abilities in that vocation.

As a good Lutheran pastor, Dr. Walther certainly is in tune with Dr Luther’s views. The following is from a sermon he gave based on Luke 5: 1-11:

“In today’s reading, we encounter Saint Peter working diligently in his earthly calling. He explains to Christ that he has worked patiently through the entire night. Although he has caught nothing [no fish], he does not give up the difficult vocation of fishing to seek something more rewarding. Instead, we find him the next morning washing his nets with his partners and preparing to try again.

Every true Christian will work diligently and untiringly. He will not leave his chosen vocation without real cause, recalling the words of the apostle Paul; ‘So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God’ (1 Corinthians 7:24). This is not, however, a distinguishing mark of the Christian since unbelievers can also pursue a vocation with dedication and endurance. In some cases, a non-Christian may even surpass a Christian in his devotion to his work.

How, then, does the true Christian show himself to be such by his earthly work? The first thing we notice from Peter’s example is that, although he was very industrious, he laid his net aside and carefully listened to Jesus as soon as He began to preach. Moreover, he permitted Jesus to use his boat as a pulpit when the people on the shore crowded Him from all sides. Finally, when Jesus called him to be a fisher of men, Peter immediately ‘left everything and followed Him’ (Luke 5:11)'”

In the midst of his earthly work, a true Christian shows that it is not the principal activity of his life. Indeed, he places his heavenly calling above his earthly one. He seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He does not let his bodily work be a hindrance in caring for his soul. He would rather interrupt his bodily support than be without nourishment for his soul from the precious Word of God.

Today’s text tells us even more about Peter. When he let down his net and caught such a great number of fish that the net tore, he did not in any way attribute the success to himself, his diligence, his wisdom, or his worthiness. Instead, ‘he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ (Luke 5:8). He regarded his great success as a blessing of Christ alone that he did not earn. Here we see the second way a person reveals in his earthly work that he is a true Christian. He does not believe he can preserve himself by his work, his diligence, and his wisdom. but only be awaiting his daily bread from God’s faithfulness. He does not lose heart if his worked proves fruitless, but instead places his reliance upon God. If his work is crowned with success, he receives it as a gift of grace from His heavenly Father. He does not bind himself to earthly things, but separates himself from them that he might be drawn to Christ all the more.

There is one more way in which Peter demonstrated in his work that he was a true Christian. When Jesus had stopped speaking, ‘He said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”’ (Luke 5:4). His command was completely contrary to the rules of fishing and Peter’s own experience. The best fishing is not in the depths of the open sea but close to shore; it is also not during the day but at night. How does Peter respond? ‘And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets'” (Luke 5:5). This is how all true Christians work. They are motivated by God’s command because His Word says, ‘By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread’ (Genesis 3:19). Christians therefore daily say, in the conviction of their heart, ‘But at Your word I will let down the nets.”‘

“And gently grant Thy blessing That we may do Thy will, No more Thy ways transgressing, Our proper task fulfill, With Peter’s full assurance Let down our nets again. Success will crown endurance If faithful we remain. Amen (The Lutheran Hymnal p 544:5)

(Translated by Gerhard P. Grabenhofer “God Grant it: Daily Devotions from C.F.W. Walther” pp 551-553)

Balance sheet utilization fee

A balance sheet is a basic accounting document for corporations. The company’s assets; cash, property, various equity go on the left and it’s balanced on the right by outstanding debts, and other liabilities. Interestingly bank deposits show up on a bank’s balance sheet as a liability. Reason being is that they can show up as an asset when they lend money to borrowers or are receiving interest on some other financial instrument. Otherwise it’s money that the bank has to pay you if you take it back. I worked in corporate finance for twenty years and a big part of my job was evaluating corporate financial statements (a balance sheet being part of the overall statement). Bank financials were kind of a pain, because they are kind of backwards compared to the standard corporate balance sheet.

I guess that is the justification for the following from Inc Magazine: “‘Balance Sheet Utilization fee’. JPMorgan Chase’s euphemism for the 1 percent yearly charge it levies on cash deposits.” (July/August 2015 p 23, quoted from Bloomberg Mag.) Basically if you deposit money with us, we will charge you one percent per year to record that transaction on our balance sheet. I also get the feeling that they did not go out of their way to let people know either. Full disclosure I worked for Chase, they were actually my first real full-time corporate job. I worked in commercial finance, not consumer/corporate bank accounts, so I have no first hand frame of reference. But as a consumer, I would be kind of twisted if that charge started showing up on my statement.

Being put on a company’s balance sheet is their responsibility, not mine, I’m lumped in with the rest of their liabilities, be interesting if they charged their vendors to be listed as a liability too. Betcha that wouldn’t go too far. As a Christian business person, do I start somehow disingenuously levying ticky-tack fees, or do I straight up let people agree that they will pay the charge and acknowledge it as a part of the service I perform, in this case maintaining their checking account.

The article goes on to note: “In related news, Tony Soprano will begin charging New Jersey residents a ‘kneecap-enjoyment tax.” Yea, it is kind of like that, doesn’t make for a good Christian witness, does it?

The distrust continues to grow in general in our society Morgan/Chase, certainly isn’t doing anything to reverse that. As Christians in the workplace how do we live a lot more above board and transparently?

Let’s talk about it or continue on the study we’ve been in for awhile in our Coffee Break Bible study. Any suggestions for how we can grow this ministry, living our Christian life in the Workplace to meet, or do more on line, breakfasts, dinners, picnics? For now we meet Wednesday mornings at the coffee shop at the corner of W King St and Beaver Sts in York, Pa. 11 am. Park behind the church 140 W King St and walk about 50 yards.