Staying on Purpose
‘Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit”, Elisha replied’ (2 Kings 2.9)
Welcome to the fifth God on Monday reflection on ‘purpose’!
What on earth am I here for? This question cannot be answered in a vacuum. Our life purpose will be shaped by the people around us. Nowhere is this truer than in business, which is built on relationships of trust. This is reflected in the fact that in the UK about ninety percent of businesses are family businesses; more than one in ten large companies are family owned; and almost half of all jobs in the private sector are in family businesses.
The recent announcement by Mondelez International, the owner of Cadbury, that it will be returning much of its Dairy Milk production from the EU to Bournville is a reminder of the phenomenal economic and social impact of the Quakers in British history. That impact owed much to the strong ties of family and faith between them. George Cadbury worked closely with other family members, and maintained close ties with fellow Christians in the chocolate industry who shared his sense of social purpose, such as Joseph Rowntree and Joseph Fry. He also partnered with the Christian soap manufacturer William Lever to fund ‘business as mission’ projects in New Guinea to help indigenous people launch enterprises in their fight against poverty and exploitation.
The purpose-driven role of the Quakers in British history reflects the purpose-driven role of the prophets in biblical history. While Elijah and Elisha were not members of the same family, their shared passion for God and for social justice meant Elisha regarded Elijah as his spiritual father. He knew he could only fulfil his prophetic purpose if he inherited from Elijah his spiritual anointing. That is why, when Elijah embarked on his final mission trips, Elisha insisted on remaining by his mentor’s side. He stayed on purpose in order to stay on purpose.
As we saw earlier in this series, God has given each of us a unique purpose. But that purpose needs constant nurture if we are not to be distracted from it. We need to spend time, as did Elisha and George Cadbury, around other purpose-driven people. At the start of this working week, why not take a moment to think of someone you know who is deeply purpose-driven - or someone who has lost their sense of purpose but may value your inspiration - and arrange to give them a call?
Peter Heslam, Director, Faith in Business
Check back next Monday for the sixth instalment in this series on 'purpose'!