Searching for Significance in the Business World
October 24, 2018
by Mike Ross
Like thousands of other mid-level business managers on any particular day, I would be on my way to work early in the morning, in a hurry as usual, swinging by the closest coffee shop to grab a cup of coffee to complete my drive to the office.
As I drove, my mind would wander aimlessly as my eyes gazed upon the beautiful countryside, with silhouettes of rolling hills against the backdrop of a typical sunrise.
During my drive, I would often ponder the significance of the work people like me did every day – staring for hours at spreadsheets, emails, navigating system glitches, sitting through meetings, preparing MS PowerPoint slides, and occasionally considering our corporate mission statement, and I wondered if the work was worth the paper on which it was printed.
“First-world problems,” I would repeatedly mutter to myself. Ok, let’s be honest. It’s not like I was starving or in want of physical necessities, unlike millions that are in need in many places throughout the world. My family and I had food, clothing and shelter in great supply. We had money in the bank, and we were able to pay our bills on-time. All were wonderful blessings that I too often took for granted. Yet, the search for significance nagged at me like a splinter in my mind and in my heart, not letting me enjoy at least some peace of mind.
It would occur to me that some of my fellow travelers were planning to do perhaps some very important work. In fact, some of them would be maybe saving lives that very day. Some were doctors and nurses. Some were surgeons. Some were first responders – police and firemen. Some were maybe even pilots and ship captains. Some were in the military, maybe being deployed even today.
You know, some were even busy saving souls! Those in the ministry. Psychologists and ministers. These soul-saving people see the darkest of human frailty, and yet have the opportunity and ability to change someone’s life permanently. Maybe for eternity. Now these are consequential activities, I would think to myself!
Rather recently, however, I recognized in those moments of seeming vanity, that our Father God always has our best interests in mind, if only we could become aware of those interests, by being more in tune with His Spirit in our day to day work.
And so, it was, for me, in that epiphany laden period of my life, that I realized God had truly used my seemingly ordinary work life, and had redeemed it through His Son’s sacrifice, so that He may use me, in academia, and in the marketplace, to accomplish His perfect will.
Three years later, I understand more fully how God takes seemingly ordinary circumstances, and makes them extraordinary, for His Glory.
Today, I can say with the entire faculty at the Dayton School of Business, that we challenge ourselves daily with a simple question: “How can we add significance and eternal value by working with wonderful, bright students, as well as the business community, by pointing everything we do as business faculty to the glorification of Christ the Lord?”
At the Dayton School of Business – it truly is our goal to help make our students the Best FOR the World. Developing business leaders for whom their careers and their businesses are mere vehicles to minister to others – helping the poor, throughout the world, those both physically AND spiritually needy.
I am now so very glad that I daily took that seemingly meaningless early morning drive through the countryside, wondering “why” to myself the entire time.
Because, now I know not only “how” to do my work well, but more importantly I know “why” I do my work, whether in the marketplace, or in academia, for His Glory.