is eyes were puffy, his face haggard. When most
people come to me for tax return preparation, they arent this sad until after
We wont be doing my wifes return this year.
He didnt need to say more. Id heard these words before. Sometime between
last year and
today, another marriage had ended. But he would say more. He had to. He was
hurting, and he felt his accountant was someone he could trust.
She met this fellow over the Internet. I had no idea it was happening. His
voice was sad and bitter.
I could tell this was not going to be a short story. What should I do? It
was tax season, and my rate was $110 per hour. Listening to him relate his pain
would cost one of us money.
So I did the only thing a follower of Jesus Christ can do: I reluctantlyyes,
reluctantlyshut off the meter. I sat back and listened to his tale of personal
tragedy, looking for an opportunity to share with him the only Person I know
who can deal with this pain.
My profession is accounting. I help my clients reduce their taxes and run
their business. I prepare financial statements to keep their bankers happy.
Accounting is how I earn my living. But my true lifes calling is leading others
Whats amazing is that many of us professionals have ideal opportunities to
combine our job with our on
1.We are often independently employed, so many of the
interpersonal communication restrictions imposed by corporate or government
employers dont apply to us.
As an accountant, if Im talking about Christ to a client, I can turn off my
imaginary meter without fear that Im risking my job by spending company time on
a non-productive activity.
2.We deal one-on-one with people on intimate issues. Often
we see people at their most vulnerable.
For example, a doctor deals with life or death situations. What could be
more intimate than a patients body and feelings about his or her health? The
on mission doctor can give earthly
medical advice but also can lead the patient to the greatest Healer.
3.Trust is a strong factor in our work.
A lawyer works under the principle of attorney-client privilege. For that
matter, even occupations like real estate agent deal with confidential
information about clients such as their financial circumstances. We are in a
position to know not only the personal facts of peoples lives but also their
fears, hopes and dreams. We have unique insight and perspective as we serve the
people who trust us for our expertise. Our on mission response is to navigate these
tricky waters with the right combination of professional respect and personal
Remember my client whose wife ventured outside the sanctity of their
marriage? His personal crisis would result in a change to his tax situation. He
was so torn up that his heartbreaking story just spilled out of him as he told
it to me, his accountant. This gave me the perfect opportunity to share with
him the gospel, to tell him that he needed to turn to Christ and lay the burden
at His feet.
In another case, I had a client who said his marriage was on the ropes.
Remember, Im an accountant, not a marriage counselor, but I know of pastors who
are excellent marriage counselors and godly men. In this particular case I
never even mentioned Jesus. I gave him the names of several pastors, and Im
happy to report that he and his wife did follow up.
Its not always broken marriages that open doors for me. One particular
fellow, after many years of struggling, finally accepted the reality that his
business had failed. It was a great blow for him. He agonized over the failure
of the business, the employees who would lose their jobs and the creditors who
would not be paid.
He told me how hed walked away from his childhood faith. This opened the
door for me to tell him how he needed to embrace that faith again and become
involved in a solid church that could support him in his time of need.
And what if you arent a so-called professional? What if youre a plumber, and
while fixing that leaky faucet in someones home, a full-blown battle erupts
between mother and daughter? Doors slam as the daughter storms out, and a
teary-eyed mother pokes her head through the bathroom door, shrugs her
shoulders and apologizes.
For what? you say. Hey, we all have problems with our kids. I found this
book that helped me with my son, and from there you offer to give her a good
Christian book on parenting teens. You make sure she knows your church has a
youth group that her daughter may enjoya place where the girl will hear the
Are you afraid shell laugh in your face, or politely say no? Dont worry
about it. When parents are having troubles with their teens, they are like
people drowning in the ocean, needing a lifeline to grasp.
Profession or occupation. Job or call. No matter what we do to earn our
livelihood, we all share the same callingto bring Christ to those around
Andrew Snaden is an accountant and
writer living in Prince George, British Columbia.
Christian professionals uniteWhat kind of profession
are you in? Are you a member of a professional association? Many professions
have associations of Christians skilled in those fields. Heres a partial list
along with websites for contacting them.
Baptist Association of Christian Educators, baptisteducators.org; Baptist
Communicators Association, baptistcommunicators.org; Baptist
Medical Dental Fellowship, bmdf.org; Baptist
Nursing Fellowship, wmu.com/wmu/ministry/bnf; North
Carolina Baptist Men Aviation Ministry, ncmissions.org/ncmissions/ncbmav.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC