A Life in Fashion – part 4
Putting it into practice
As I look back on where God has been leading me, I can now see better what was being said all those years ago about a double anointing. It was not a supercharge of power, rather a bringing together of the two sides of who he has made me to be. A worship leader and business administrator. This is not always a comfortable combination as it is my creativity that absorbs me and is where my heart longs to be, whereas business is where I spend most of my time, have to concentrate hard, and often feel inadequately equipped and ill at ease. But I’m pretty sure this is where God wants me and I wonder if we would all be significantly more useful to God if we explored with greater purpose how the full range of gifts God has given us might interact enabling us to function more completely as the people God has made us to be.
So this is where I find myself, and I have embarked on a journey to see how the “two me’s” fit together so that 1+1=3, rather than 1+1=1/2! With this in mind, I have started sharing with colleagues on the HTB Fashion Group Facebook site weekly thoughts about how the Psalms apply to our modern working lives. And I have been setting them to music as I go. The inspiration for this came from a recent trip to Holy Island where I picked up two books. The first tells the story of Saints Aidan, Bede and Cuthbert, who used to go about their ministries encouraging each other by reciting from memory all 150 Psalms. That’s some serious memorising, but it makes for serious meditating! And their ministry was not just sweeping floors, it involved travelling many miles preaching the gospel, helping the poor and healing the sick – a priestly role in their workplace. The other was a book of reflections applying scripture to everyday life by William Wilberforce, a hero of mine who achieved a wide range of social reforms as well as abolishing the slave trade. Throughout the busiest parts of his life, he actively sought to work out what it meant to stand between God and man – a priestly role in his workplace.
3 examples of my travels through the Psalms:
Psalm 1 is short and uncomplicated. It emphasises the clear distinction between the priorities and prospects of the wicked – who should be avoided like the plague – and the righteous man – us in our priestly calling. The righteous man dwells deeply on the Word of God who watches over him and from whom he will find nourishment and strength for life’s challenges. The wicked have made their choice and will be blown away like chaff – scarily, it’s as simple as that. This is set to my take on a Gregorian chant, throwing focus through the mind onto the simplicity and clarity of the words. If you haven’t done this yet, I heartily recommend that you memorise chunks of scripture – it may transform how you respond to life’s daily challenges. And the Psalms are as good as it gets.
Psalm 42 is very different. It is a cry from the heart, pleading to Abba Father in a time of struggle, an outpouring of the downcast soul trying desperately to cling to an ingrained confidence that times will improve. This does not sit easily with the British stiff upper lip and possibly even less so with what is expected of the business leader. But, time and again, we need to grasp hold of the fact that we are beloved children of God as we engage with our work colleagues often on an un-level playing field, and as we seek to avoid selfish ambition, backbiting, taking short cuts, transparency, honesty, gentleness … If King David can let rip on God, so can we, and this will not just act as a safety valve when we’re on the fraught side, but will open a door to knowing our real selves and discovering just how close God stands alongside us through all the joys and sorrows of life’s journey.
Psalm 67 is, at first glance, a straightforward celebration of praise. But, actually, it’s the gospel in a nutshell – God has blessed us so we can bless others by sharing with them the good news. Simple, if only we’d step out and do it – and then we’d see nations transformed.
And there’s the challenge. Do we hear and will we respond to our calling as a royal priesthood to stand between God and humanity, in the situations where we find ourselves day by day? Do we believe that God wants each one of us to dream bold dreams of what our places of business could look like if godly values and God Himself were at the centre? Are we prepared to explore how God might want to use all aspects of our varied gifting and experience – whether it’s comfortable or not? What of whole industries? Are we grappling with key areas that need transformation – whether seemingly achievable or not? And our nation? Dare we rest as the phrase “post-Christian” echoes around us? I hope not.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” Psalm 67