The Significance of Living for Christ in a Professional Setting
Have you ever thought or said of a prominent individual who seemed not to be living a Christian life, “If this man would be a Christian and live a Christian life, what a worldwide difference he or she could make for Christ”? Have you ever thought about placing your name in the question in place of the “prominent individual”? What a difference it would make in the world if I, Zach Henry, would, truly, be a Christian and live a Christian life?
has given us an example of such a man in the book of Daniel – a true
professional of wisdom and science who lived his total life in a professional
setting. Daniel was a young man who came from a select group of Israelites that
was taken captive to
You will remember that the three friends, with God’s help came out on top. He had influence over kings to make them turn to this true God. He showed such competence in his performance of duties and loyalty that he was made Prime Minister for at least three kings as one would overthrow the other and assume power. The kings came and went, but Daniel was constant and stayed. He maintained his faith and allegiance to the true God through all ridicule and even through such punishment as being thrown to the lions. I have often said that, if one has never sacrificed for his Christianity, possibly he should rethink his true allegiance to Christ. I cannot compare myself to Daniel. But, I can look to Daniel and strive, on a daily basis, to reach to such a level.
I was born in the midst of the great depression into a farm family that came from Christian roots. No money, no productive land, no earthly possessions except debt. But I did have a mother and a daddy that were dedicated to Jesus Christ and to being sure that their nine children were dedicated to Jesus Christ. My daddy was not much on politics but he did have influence and he did not like the party in power or the man that was President. For him, it was a matter of taking a Christian stand. Cotton was the only money crop and it was allotted by the government program. On the non-productive land, it was required that my family have at least 50 acres of cotton to obtain the necessities of life. The local politicians reduced the allotment to five acres with a promise of 50 acres if he changed his politics. My daddy stuck to his guns and gave me an example for life.
Then came the question of college with no money. I entered Georgia Tech at the age of 16 with a full course load and three part time jobs. Church was what you did on Sunday and, on a regular basis, I was found in church on Sunday morning and on Sunday night. Everybody that knew me knew where I would be on Sunday. It was a shock to me when a fellow student, not a Christian, approached me and said something like this: “Zach, you go to church every Sunday but yet, when we see you, you don’t live like a Christian.” I do not know how I replied but it certainly took me quite a while to get past this. I have remembered this and have reflected on this many, many times.
In the years through college and beyond, the vicious satanic attacks that have been thrown at me have been beyond what I can even imagine now. The temptations have come from every direction and related to any and all kinds of sin. Some temptations were because I allowed myself to be in the in the wrong place at the wrong time and others were “sneak attacks” from Satan. I really did not want to be saved from so many of these self imposed temptations and sins. But, it seemed that God had plans for me of which I knew nothing. In every case where I found myself on the brink of ruining my life by indulging in deep sin, God seemed to put a non-removable barrier as if to say, “Zach you are mine, you can’t go any further.” Why did God spare me? I am sure it was because of my mother’s prayers, and later, my wife’s prayers. The value of a great Christian wife is beyond my ability to express.
As time went on, after military duty, and some industrial experience, I found myself on a University faculty. I was always surprised that no one complained with respect to my identifying myself as a Christian in the classroom but I did have several cases of students that came from “Christian” cults complain to authorities. I want to relate a couple of the many situations where I was politically incorrect and then talk about a couple of times where God just poured out His blessings in such a big way.
member of the
Most often, I have been involved in a prayer meeting of faculty and/or students somewhere on campus. This time, it was in my department building and there were about a dozen faculty. We would quietly bring out sack lunch and meet in an out of the way conference room. We did not hid it but were discrete. Then one day my department head called me into his office to inquire about the prayer meeting that I was holding in “his” building. After a short discussion, I was told that I could have a prayer meeting anywhere off campus that I wanted to but not in ‘his’ building. This man was quite political and a self proclaimed “Christian”. What he never knew was that there was a member of the Board of Trustees that met with us. Do these types of incidences constitute a ‘sacrifice’ on my part? Not for me, but I am sure that they were black marks when related to salary, promotion, tenure and other such things that related to bread on the table.
These above stories do not relate to the rewards. In the 1960’s and 1970’s we would have 5 to 10 international students in our home almost every week end and always took them to church. They were from all over the world but especially from the Middle East, India and the Far East. I never expected to leave the USA but eventually Norma and I were in several countries of the Far East.
In the mid
1980’s I was with a Christian mission in
In 1997 I
spent the month of December in
Overall, as I examine the professional setting into which God placed me, I am most effected by the missed opportunities. It is so important to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) This is where Daniel was and where I needed to be. I ask God’s forgiveness that I missed the mark.