Tag Archives: leaders

Investment Bankers Doing God’s Work???

Borrowing money. Going into debt. Christians are often warned about debt and rightly so, as recent financial meltdowns have highlighted.

Behind all the borrowing and lending is a multi-trillion dollar banking industry that people these days love to hate. An article in Rolling Stone (July, 2009), entitled “Inside the Great American Bubble Machine,” described Goldman Sachs, the most venerable of the investment banks, as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” With press like that it’s not surprising that one source recently reported an increase of filing for handgun permits for self-defense purposes by Goldman executives.

In a recent interview with the Times Online, however, Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, made a shocking statement that attracted no small amount of verbal small-arms fire his way. He said that he’s just a banker “doing God’s work.”

“I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer.” Blankfein confesses, but then argued, “We’re very important. We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle. We have a social purpose.”

Step back a moment from the greed and arrogance of many of today’s financial sector leaders and consider Blankfein’s claim at face value—whether he understood it or not. Does lending have a positive social or even a spiritual purpose? Is it a predatory evil? Is it perhaps a necessary evil? What do you think?

For those of us who believe that all work is God’s work, we think Blankfein is right though he may not have taken his statement seriously. If he did, Goldman would likely be a different company. To read more about the moral good of investment banking you’ll want to read John Terrill’s article in Cardus. It’s a great reminder of the need to reclaim the moral high ground in any kind of work.

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Reflections on 38 years of Marriage

Bill and Kathy cut the cake

Bill and Kathy cut the cake

I was the perfect man: charming, irresistible, polite, discerning, protective, and passionate. I was a hunk and man of God rolled into one ideal package.

… at least in Kathy’s mind.

What she actually got was an amiable but insecure, protective but selfish, polite but socially clumsy, passionate but lustful, fit but undisciplined, pursuer of God with millions of miles to go on my spiritual journey.

I am always amazed at the faith women have in the belief that men will change for the better once the aisle has been walked and vows repeated. Fortunately for those of the male gender, the women who love us see us for who we could be, not who we are in reality.

Of course that can be dangerous for a woman. Besides the fragile grip on reality, it is fraught with temptation to take the taming of the cave man on as a woman’s personal mission and prerogative.

Actually I was significantly self-righteous for many years about the fact that I didn’t want to change Kathy—like she wanted to change me. I wanted the woman I thought I married. However, when I read Paul’s instructions to husbands in Ephesians 5, I see a different attitude commanded entirely. Being a good husband is all about helping to change the woman I married—not into the image I had in my mind, but into the image that God had in mind for her when he created her. It’s not about shaping her into the perfect woman who will meet my needs, but helping her become all she was created to be.

Today, as I look back on 38 years of marriage, I am so thankful that Kathy Peel is not the cute little adoring coed I married. Despite my help much of the time, she has become a beautiful woman of God: smart, winsome, fiercely loyal to our boys and their wives, committed follower of Jesus, tenacious business woman, graciously confrontive wife, and passionate lover—and did I mention, she’s my best friend.

Pursuing Your Calling in a Down Economy

Job layoffs and an anemic economy are pushing many Christians to question the purpose of their lives, yet I meet very few who are thinking in terms of the “good works” God had in mind when he designed them. Each of us has a high calling we are obligated to follow, and when we do, this brings God great glory and us great joy.

The quest to discover our calling should begin with four facts we know for certain … To read more go to The High Calling.

Leadership is Stewardship, Part 2

This is the second of three articles I wrote on Leadership for The High Calling.
 To be faithful stewards, we must understand four important leadership principles.

1.  The principle of ownership.  A leader has privilege, responsibility, and authority because he has been given these by his master. A steward doesn’t own; he holds in trust and uses what he has been given for the one who owns it. Arrogance and pride don’t have any place in this equation. The title deed to our lives and the entire universe is in God’s name. He holds all the rights of ownership.

No organization—be it a family, company, or church—is created for the leader, nor is it created by the leader. Everything we have comes from God. The Bible is clear. He owns it all:

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Ps. 24:1)

In response to this divine claim, Abraham Kuyper, prime minister of the Netherlands at the turn of the twentieth century, proclaimed: “There is not one square millimeter of this entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! It belongs to me!’ ” Everything in this world is God’s by right of creation and by right of preservation as well. All that we have added to Creation—the skills and abilities we’ve used and the things we’ve developed—are from God. We don’t even own the fruit of our own work. He reminded the Jews of this before they entered the Promised Land.

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth (Deut. 8:17-18).

Every individual is also His by right of creation and by right of redemption.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.   (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

Nothing belongs to us, not even our lives. As much as I might like to define myself by the size of my home, the speed of my car, or my title at work, everything I am and everything I have is God’s. As leaders, we must be constantly aware that our time, skills, and energy, and every resource, person, and opportunity comes from God.  To read more click here to go to The High Calling.

Leadership is Stewardship, Part 1

This is the first of three articles I wrote on Leadership for The High Calling.

One of We live in the Age of Quantification. We want to know how many, how much, and for how long. When it comes to leadership, we like to grade skills, measure behaviors, and add up accomplishments. However, the essence of leadership is broader than possessing certain skills and expertise. It’s deeper than what any leadership assessment can reveal. And it’s much more profound than being accountable to shareholders to impart vision and reap financial results. Business consultant Peter Block suggests that leadership should be viewed more as stewardship.

If the term stewardship makes you think of sermons you’ve endured about church budgets and building programs, think again. In the ancient world, stewardship was not a religious term. Rather it was a key component of commerce.  To read more click here to go to The High Calling.