Believers in Business: A Different Kind of Occupation
It might be 2012 now, but the Occupy movement still continues…witness Occupy Congress as its most recent incarnation. What will they Occupy next? I’ve been watching from the sidelines – following along through the news and unintentionally driving past Occupy camps in DC and Philadelphia.
It all feels a bit like, “he said, she said.” On one hand, I understand that the American dream of equal opportunity and attaining success through hard work somehow failed for many people, and they are upset. As a recent graduate from a business school known for finance, I feel a particular (slightly uncomfortable) concern over this controversy, but on the other hand I am solidly in the 99%. I support freedom of speech, but Occupy protesters didn’t ask me for my opinion before claiming to represent me. Amidst the blame shifting, finger pointing, and general discontentment, I’ve concluded that the only reliable take-away from this whole episode is that this world is broken.
During the recent financial crisis, the phrase “too big to fail,” was used to describe some of the main players in the crisis. The phrase refers to the idea that certain financial institutions are so large that their failure would spell economic disaster; therefore the government must intervene should these entities be near collapse. I suggest a different interpretation: the only thing too big to fail is our God. Everything else we place our faith in will inevitably fail us and leave us disappointed; only God’s love is unchanging.
As a country, we find ourselves in uncharted territory. Who could have imagined that Standard & Poor’s would downgrade the once untouchable, topnotch U.S. credit rating last year in a staggering but grimly logical move that shook global markets? I had always been taught that there was nothing more secure than a government bond; a fact like the sky is blue. In light of these new and challenging times, we must remind ourselves that the only truly secure promise we have is that we have gained new life through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. More than ever, it is crucial for Christians in business to remember the value of fellowship, so that we can remind each other of what really matters.
Business world values and Christian values often tug at the heart in different directions – the world says to promote yourself, but the Bible says that those who are humble will be exalted. Living out one’s faith can be difficult in the business world. It can feel like you’re alone, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. I’ll always remember the first time I walked into the St. Louis Dome at the 2006 Urbana Convention and joined 20,000 other Christians praising God’s name. It felt like a small taste of heaven, and I was reminded of that experience the first time I attended the Believers in Business Christian MBA conference. Singing praise with hundreds of other business school students was such a blessing. It was so encouraging to see other brothers and sisters in Christ running this race together.
In the working world, working in teams is a fact of life. The Believers in Business conference is an opportunity to meet your Christian teammates and hear wisdom from Christians in business who have had experience maintaining their faith and sharing it with others. This kind of fellowship can be the source of courage to stand firm and make God-honoring decisions in tough situations or to boldly profess your faith to others around you.
The Occupy movement is not done yet, but imagine if the business world were occupied by something new: the transforming power of God’s grace and truth. The Believers in Business conference is a catalyst for you to be empowered and renewed by God, so that you can change the business world.
The 2012 Believers in Business Conferencewill be held from Feb. 3 - 4 in New York City. For seven years, the Believers in Business Conference has gathered MBA students and industry professionals nationwide to network, fellowship, and learn from leaders on living out Christian faith in the marketplace and discerning vocational calling. For more info and to register, click here.
Pauline Wu is a 2011 Wharton School MBA graduate. She is a member of the 2012 Believers in Business Conference Strategy Advisory Board.