Every Good Endeavor 7.1

imgresIn Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller describes Richard Muow providing a biblical framework to investment bankers within which investment banking can be pursued as leveraging our resources to meet a human need.

One challenge I face in trying to live out this story is that, sometimes, it doesn’t feel as though having a new “story” of my work is enough.

When I was being recruited to join a law firm out of law school, a devout Roman Catholic partner shared with me the story of three bricklayers working to build a cathedral.  The first one treated his job as nothing more or less than laying bricks.  The second one saw it as a means to make money.  The third one saw it as a way to contribute to creating a space for people to worship God.

The recruiting partner urged me to see what I would be doing as an entry-level law firm associate — e.g., fairly mechanical tasks of creating and keeping track of closing checklists for deals involving energy infrastructure in the developing countries — as not just practicing law, or making money by practicing law but as contributing to bringing electricity to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it.

I appreciated the story, then, and I do still.

Yet,knowing that I am living this “story” feels insufficient when faced with certain struggles — e.g., no new businesses being generated despite my efforts.

Katherine Alsdorf, co-writing with Tim Keller, said she wanted “a gospel that had good news even for” her business venture’s failure.  So do I.  In fact, I’d like to know how the gospel is good news even for the frustrating fruitlessness one can experience in one’s business endeavors.

We will see whether the rest of the book suggests a way forward.

Every Good Endeavor 7

imgresTim Keller in Every Good Endeavor describes Richard Muow urging an audience of bankers “to think of God as an investment banker.”  Muow said God “leveraged his resources to create a whole world of new life.  In the same way, what if you see a human need not being met, you see a talent or resource that can meet that need, and you then invest your resources — at your risk and cost — so that the need is met and the result is new jobs, new products, and better quality of life.”

I found this biblical framework Muow provides the bankers inspiring, in part because it speaks to my work fairly specifically.  I am not an investment banker, but I work with them all the time as a lawyer, representing them as they provide funds to major energy infrastructure projects around the world — e.g., a coal-fired power plant on a barge in Bangladesh or a photovoltaic solar project in California.

At the same time, I find it very challenging to make this new framework function practically in my own work.  I will explore these challenges in subsequent posts.