Christ the Business Man

[Journal, April 2022]


What was the vocation that from all eternity the Lord God Creator chose for his only Son? The Lord God Creator called the Christ, our Redeemer, to shoulder the vocation of small business — a creative vocation, a vocation of humble service to nearly every human household. — Michael Novak

My wife and I have noted often in conversation the serious decline in the quality of customer service in businesses. I know this is a common theme these days, and I have had conversations with business owners and managers who speak of this with great angst.

Last night, right after Patti had had a very poor experience with several employees at Home Depot, we went out to dinner and were blown away by the professionalism and ebullient spirit of the server we had. We talked with her a bit and found out she’d been a server for eleven years at this particular restaurant. At the end of the meal, I said to her, “You were excellent, made our time here so much more enjoyable. Thank you!” She replied, “Well, I like to say we’re blessed to be a blessing. That’s how I see it.”

Voilà! There’s the secret. Her genius vantage is one every Christian should manifest every day. We should stand out in our work by always striving for excellence and lifting others up, leaving them better than we found them.

For me, this is prayer: God laboring to love me, always leaving me better than he found me, lifting me up — if I allow him. Receive him thus daily, so you reverb him thus daily.

I often speak of the call of the laity to “consecrate the world to God.” Which, among other things, means infusing the time and space you inhabit, the relationships you engage, and your work with the sursum corda “hearts up!” of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And what does that sursum look like? Like the fruits of the Holy Spirit, those luminous seeds we are called to scatter everywhere we work: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Per Mother Teresa:

“Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to you
without leaving happier.”

God “pleads” with us (Luke 15:28) to live to build up, cheer up, lift up. In your work, grant God the freer hand he longs for, and know that’s exactly what it was like for all those who entered into that small carpentry business in Nazareth.

2 comments on “Christ the Business Man

  1. Katy says:

    “In your work, grant God the freer hand he longs for…” really struck me today. It’s full of hope and imagination and possibility. Thank you, as always, for your writing Tom. This time it’s especially pertinent as we return to school next week!

  2. beads2rosaries says:

    My dad used to say, “if we aim for mediocrity we will achieve it”. By the same token if we aim for excellence, we will achieve it.

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