Faith and work are often seen as separate but for Joe, nothing could be further from the truth. He is a firm believer that who he is and what he does outside the church is really important to God. In an interview, he shares how he integrates his faith and work (excerpts taken from ‘The High Calling – Everyday Conversations about work, life and God):

Bob: Why are you so on fire to share your faith at work?

Joe: I believe that my mission field, our mission field, is the land between our two feet – wherever we are…So, as a vice president, or as a director earlier in my career, I always thought of my work as my mission field. What does a missionary do? A missionary goes somewhere to share Jesus, but first they build themselves into a culture, right? They live, they get a job, they develop relationships. It’s no different than what we do – we build relationships….

Bob: How has your experience of attempting to share your faith changed over the years as you’ve gained more authority in your career?

Joe: I don’t think there is a big distinction in my experience as I’ve been promoted. There’s probably been ten promotions along the way over the last 33 years, and whatever position I was in I attempted to do my job well – to be the very best employee I could be. And I actually did well, praise God, and got recognition from a corporate perspective often. As I sought excellence in my work, I had opportunities where my boss and coworkers would ask me, “What makes you tick? What motivates you?” People ask you that when you’re different…

Bob: Tell us a story of when someone asked you “What makes you tick?”

Joe: So I have a union steward who doesn’t like me because I’m management. He hates my guts. And he’s calling me at five in the morning, eleven at night – “I need to see you” – …and he’s complaining about this, that, and the other thing. And because of the Lord and knowing what my mission field was, most of the time I met his needs. I was always there for him, even though he didn’t like me. Of course, I felt that some of his demands were unfair, so I had to negotiate with him – but always with patience and love. I kept working hard to show him Christ somehow, without having a chance to say anything…

And one day, this is two years into our working together, we’re in my office and he looks at me and he goes, “You know what? You’re different.” I said, “Really?” He says, “Yea, you’re not bad. You’re okay. I appreciate how you listen to me.” Right there, he just put me on the spot and asked me what is different, and the Holy Spirit made me step up. I said, “Do you want me to tell you why I’m different?” He says, “Yea.” I look him in the eye and say, “Jesus Christ.” Long story short… from that point on, he started softening. And then, one day in my office I asked, “Do you want to know more about Christ?” and shared the gospel with him – realizing that this could backfire on me. He received Christ. He later left the union and…I moved to another company to continue in my career…I lost track of him. Then ten years later, he sent me an email thanking me for leading him to Christ! That was amazing.

In response to another question, this is what Joe said…

Joe: I’ve come to learn that we are seed-planters. We don’t always get somebody asking, “What makes you tick?” But there are always a lot of opportunities to plant seeds. And I found that then the pressure is off me to “close the deal.” You don’t have to close the deal – God does the saving. If we would just love and plant seeds, the opportunities come.

The apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:17 and 23 that in whatever we do, we are to work at it with all our hearts as working for the Lord. Joe’s testimony gives us an example of what that looks like.

Christ in us, the hope of glory!