Last night Norma Jean and I attended the 12th annual Florida College Leadership Dinner.
It was a wonderful evening of warm fellowship with many of our friends who are supporters of Florida College. It was an opportunity to support FC’s business department with scholarships and hear featured speaker Steve Forbes. And of course, to enjoy a delicious meal.
Forbes is the chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media. The company’s web site, Forbes.com, “has become one of the world’s most influential websites with nearly 60 million unique visitors a month.”
The 72-year-old Princeton graduate is said to have a net worth of over 400 million dollars. But that was never mentioned last night. What was emphasized by Steve Forbes was the importance of integrity in business and developing leadership qualities that will sustain you for the long run in both good times and tough times.
The values of vision, hard work, dedication, commitment, ethics, and building trust among your business associates were extolled as virtues to be learned and applied.
The message that Forbes left with us was that success is not really about the amount of money you earn, but serving the needs of others. Of being a leader that is able to deal with the inevitable crises that we will face in our personal or professional lives. And that real wealth is not found externally but internally.
When asked what brought him the most joy in his personal life, his response immediately focused on his family and raising his five daughters.
The evening reminded me again of what is really important in life. It’s about people. Being a person of integrity. And as FC President Buddy Payne pointed out, serving and glorifying God in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal.
The values and virtues lauded last night are not based on human wisdom, but divine wisdom that is biblically-based.
The Bible teaches us that there is honor in work (2 Thess. 3:6-12). In providing for our own family (I Tim. 5:8). And in having surplus funds to help others (Eph. 4:28). Furthermore, Christians are reminded that our work should glorify God. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Col. 3:23).
Vision, innovation, and dedication to one’s dream often produce great financial rewards. Yet, accumulating wealth just for the sake of being wealthy ought not to be one’s goal in life. Money is a tool. An instrument that can help the needy, support the Lord’s work and provide educational scholarships for young people.
The Bible never condemns wealth per se. Only the abuse and love of riches (I Tim 6:12). The apostle Paul issued this warning and challenge to those who are wealthy.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
I appreciate men like Steve Forbes who personally and in his business endeavors remind us what is truly important in life. Of being value-driven. Mission minded. And to remember, as Stephen Covey expressed it “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
Today as you end your workweek, collect your paycheck, and look forward to your weekend, thank God for the ability to work. For your prosperity. And for the opportunities to serve God with integrity in the workplace.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman