Torch, Summer 2003

8 TORCH / Summer 2003 T he recent past has been marked by a variety of workplace changes: layoffs in unprecedented numbers, mergers of unprecedented size, and bankruptcies of unprecedented magnitude have been announced in the business press almost daily. The economic slowdown and the events associated with the September 11 tragedy have left their mark on boardrooms, schoolrooms, courtrooms, and staterooms. For most, both personal and professional lives have experienced the unsettling impact of change. The foreseeable future appears poised to offer more of the same. This essay is drawn from II Timothy — a letter written by Paul to his young mentoree. Timothy faced a changing world where he would face suffering (II Timothy 2:3), desertion (II Timothy 1:15 and II Timothy 4:16), and ungodliness (II Timothy 2:16), just as Paul had. Paul told Timothy that he would face difficult times (II Timothy 3:1) and treacherous people (II Timothy 3:2). Yet, in the midst of these unsettling and potentially unnerving changes, Paul encouraged Timothy to fight the good fight and finish the course (II Timothy 4:7). Through the eyes of faith and lens of Scripture we will examine five impacts of change and offer five responses for Christian businesspeople to encounter these changes in Christ-honoring ways. Coping with Change — and the Destruction it Brings II Timothy 1:5-8 (NAS) 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God … The events of September 11, 2001 are still vivid: crashing airplanes, crumpled buildings, and fire, dust, and death. Many say those events have changed them, and our world, forever. Change does destroy. The old and the status quo are permanently altered and, perhaps, obliterated. In the midst of such catastrophic change, many are left with faith-challenging questions: Does God exist? Does God care? Does God make a difference?