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Friday, March 2, 2007

Diligent in Business
Plaque in Harper Hull's office.
Note the model of the Conestoga wagon behind the plaque. The Conestoga wagon, which was used by scores of settlers heading west in the pioneer days was made right here in Lancaster County.

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"Diligent In Business"

"This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered" (2 Chronicles 31:20,21)

I meet a lot of interesting people in the course of my work. I look for evidence of faith and values when I step into an office or workspace, which often gives me an opportunity to enter into a spiritual discussion.  It might be a Bible purposefully placed on a desk, art on the wall or family photos.

For a number of years I have visited the office of an older man and am blessed by the plaque on his shelf.  It simply states, "Diligent in business, serving the Lord."  Over time I learned more about Harper Hull and this plaque expresses the outlook of a man who for many years has lived his faith. 

Harper HullI visited with Harper yesterday and asked his permission to share a story about him. He looked up at me, smiled and said, "Well, I suppose that would be OK." I asked him his age and he said "I'll be 86 tomorrow."  So today is his birthday!  He's really a remarkable man.  Last fall his wife of 63 years went home to be with the Lord.  What a blessing to personally meet his children at the funeral, who are spread out all over the country.

For many years Harper was the owner of a large company that made boats. He has a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering (the first time I ever heard of that field!)  He began using a computer back in 1957 and now does accounting work for a group of companies, still working full-time.

Harper accepted Christ in 1949 and has lived his life for the Lord ever since. He not only displays the plaque, "Diligent in Business, Serving the Lord" but he also puts these words into practice.

Business people so often get a bad rap but there are many, many professionals like Harper who serve the Lord faithfully and are diligent in business.   William Crumblehulme was an English businessman who owned a large foundry and lived over 100 years ago.  He was a devout believer and earnestly practiced his faith in Christ.  One of his favorite sayings was "To be diligent in business is quite compatible with the life of active Christian service."  On his tombstone are written these words, "Fervent in spirit, diligent in business, serving the Lord."

Today I encourage readers in regard to the business part of life. We may see work as a necessary evil but God has ordained work. The daily text is actually a summary of the life of King Hezekiah but I believe it's a powerful model for all of us.  In relationship to today's message I especially note two words that characterized Hezekiah, "worked wholeheartedly."

For the sake of clarity and personal application I want to paraphrase this verse slightly so we may all see how it not only is an historical record, but has application for our own lives as well. I will also use my own name as this is truly what I aspire to.

When my life on earth is ended and a summary is made of my life, I would be pleased to have this written about me: "This is what Stephen Weber did, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God's ministry and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered."

I encourage you to place your name in the text and make it your aspiration as well.  May we all, like Hezekiah and Harper, be diligent in business, serving the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, our Scripture today reminds us that doing our work diligently and honestly is pleasing in Your sight.  It also reminds us that we are to seek You wholeheartedly as we carry out our responsibilities, whether it is at work or in the family setting.  May we be faithful in all that we do so that You prosper us in our family relations, our place of employment, in our friendships, and in our financial endeavors.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  I too have been impressed with Harper's diligence in his work skills as I see him in our chaplaincy role from week to week.  But even more importantly Stephen and I were deeply touched by the diligence and devotion he gave to his wife in recent years during her long physical struggle.  Many times we upheld him in prayer, along with many other caring believers, as we considered his exhausting role as Caregiver, both physically and emotionally.  His love for her was unwavering and serves as an exemplary model to his family and others.  He didn't just repeat meaningful words to his young bride 63 years ago, but he carried out his vows in his words and in his actions; "in sickness and in health, till death do us part."   

Technical note: Harper and I have often discussed the phrase on the plaque. It certainly is based on a verse from Romans 12:11 that states "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (KJV). However I have not been able to find a translation that uses the precise same wording. I would conjecture that's it's either a phrase based on the verse or perhaps is from a translation no longer used. Either way it sure is a Scriptural concept!

Personal note: This weekend we will be traveling to northern PA and speaking in two separate church services.

As we mentioned several weeks ago our fourth pastoral interim role ended and we wait for a door to open again in this regard. Since we believe this internet ministry is now our main form of service we are not pursuing a call to a church for long-term pastoral service.  However we do find fulfillment and feel that we have effective ministry in serving churches during the interim period. In the meantime we will be speaking in various churches as invitations are extended for individual services.

We also hope more opportunities will open up in regard to our chaplaincy ministry to companies. Brooksyne and I both find this a very effective type of ministry.  We had a very positive meeting with an enthusiastic owner this week and continue to pursue opportunities for service in regard to this aspect of our call.  We really enjoy ministering together whether it be preparing these messages!

Yesterday I visited a farmer's market and saw these beautiful primroses and thought of Brooksyne. As the weather gets warmer she's already getting the itch to get back to her flower garden!

"Reputation is what others think about you.
Character is what God sees when no one else is looking."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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