Faith at Work XXVI

September 2006

I attended a “Work/Life Balance” seminar recently at the Science Park run by the Institute for Innovation and Enterprise at the University.  The guest speaker was Tom Edge (meet him on who has been helping small businesses set up, survive and prosper for over 25 years.  It was a good seminar packed with plenty of good advice and exercises to get those who attended thinking about their own ambitions and ways of achieving them.  Many of the things he had to say were fairly obvious but put together consistently became very powerful.

As with all training opportunities like this, it is very important to catch some good ideas to implement straight away; otherwise they simply drift off into the past.  I thought that, as we come back from the summer refreshed by whatever alternative therapies we have been indulging in, it would be good just to reflect on matters that might get us going forward again.  There were several things that jumped out at me from what Tom had to say that relate directly to faith applied in a certain way.  I’ll offer just two.

The first was his habit of starting the day with three ‘S’s: Silence, Stillness and Solitude.  He talked of silence being “creative juice” and that “nobody ever made money working”.  The most important thing for Tom is to know where he is headed and the first part of the day is dedicated to laying out his priorities for what lies ahead.  You may recall: “in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed” – when he was asked where he had been, he answered: “let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also, for that is what I came out to do” [Mark 1:35,38].  Tom’s philosophy is not new, but it is worth adopting, as it was by Benedict in the Rule that he established for his followers 1500 years ago, that great Benedictine silence, overnight in his case.

The second was his principle of sticking to life goals which came, in order, to keep himself healthy (so that he wouldn’t be a burden to others), to engage with his family and their interests (building a sense of community with them) and finally to attend to his business matters.  It struck me that this is precisely the order that Jesus uses in his prayer in John 17.  The context is after supper with his disciples on his last day before his death.  Here he prays first that he can cope with the next 24 hours, i.e. for himself.  Second, he prays for his disciples, that they might be sanctified, i.e. for his earthly family.  Finally he prays that they may be effective in carrying his word and love to others, i.e. his Father’s business.  To keep this business flourishing, Jesus prays for his partners:

Father, I made your name known to them,
and I will make it known,
so that the love with which you have loved me
may be in them, and I in them.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2006-07-31

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