How do you describe your work?
I am senior regional manager for Heartland Medical. We service, sell, and manufacture operating room equipment. One of the joys of my job is that it varies on a day-by-day basis. Some days I’m repairing an anesthesia machine, while other days I’m quoting a set of surgery lights, meeting with potential customers, or exhibiting at trade shows.
Since my job is based on commission, my salary fluctuates based on my quarterly sales. This has been a good and hard part of my work, as I learn to trust God with the results of my labor. I’ve really been trying to implement “work hard, work smart, and trust the Lord” in my own life, knowing that the Lord calls me to be faithful, while also trusting him to meet our needs in a commission-based job.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God's work?
I have the joy of being a part of the creative process for the manufacturing side of our company. We identify a need within the market and seek to produce a cost-efficient product to meet that need. For example, sometimes our customers want to increase the quality of care for their patients, but they may not have the budget to do so. We work to provide cost-effective solutions for them, which end up benefiting the medical facility, the patients, and their families. In this, I see myself imaging God not only by creating quality products, but also by providing compassionate care for people.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
Sales often gets a bad reputation. It’s a cutthroat, dirty business sometimes marked by lying, deception, and manipulation. While I want to be successful and make money, I don’t want those practices to mark my work. In my work, I see people use customers to make a deal, without thinking about the best interests of the customer. As a Christian, I want to work in a way where money is not my ultimate goal.
Being a salesman also requires lot of travel, which has its own challenges. I spend a lot of nights away from my family, which is not ideal but necessary for faithfulness given the nature of my work. While I enjoy the work, I miss moments in my kids’ lives that I wish I didn’t have to miss.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
I’ve already mentioned two ways—supplying our customers with the ability to offer compassionate care and providing for my family—but there are two more ways. As a lay pastor in my church, my work gives me categories for understanding the people in my church who work outside of a vocational ministry setting. Even more, as one of the producers of our company, I am also regularly reminded that the livelihood of our support staff depends on the success of my sales. My work benefits the entire company and the families represented by those coworkers.
In case you missed it, check out Courtney Reissig's article from yesterday, “This Was Not My Plan,” about her journey as Daniel wrestled with his vocation.
Editors' note: The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and their work. Interviews are condensed.