Thursday, June 26, 2008

Christian Writing - The Joy of Life lived in Abundance


The Joy of Life lived in Abundance


First of all, though you have distinguished yourself as a professional you have made yourself outstanding as a family man in this age -- with FIVE children. Would you choose such a big family if given a rewind of your life? Why?


I have always valued family life, but never imagined it would come in such abundance. I valued prosperity to meet out basic needs and did not imagine (again) that it would come in such abundance. Are the two linked? There is no way to know, except to believe that God wants us to have the very best in life, but with our strange ideas (and driven by the trend of the day) we often become a stumbling block for His plan in our life and deprive ourselves of his grace, mercy and free gifts.


Given a rewind of our lives, we would have these lovely five children all over again. How can we not when we have seen them in flesh and blood. Part of the challenges of faith is to believe in what you cannot see. We had our apprehension about having five children, but like wealth, which nobody in right mind will refuse, we too accepted the challenges of raising a large family. I must say God has been good and has supplied all our needs and continues to do so. We do not feel the pinch of raising a large family. Yes, it does put a strain on our time (more so for my wife) and often we are not able to do the things that we want to do. But, a smile and a hug from our little ones more than compensates for it. When our children grow into adulthood and have their children we are in for some rollicking times. 

As a busy executive religion surely makes demands of your already tight schedules -- How do you make time for Christ?


I attend daily mass. I always say an intercessory prayer before leaving home for all whom I know and who have asked for my prayer. When I am with the family, the family rosary in the evening is a must. I get the The Daily Gospel in my email box and I read it almost everyday. I have a good stock of books – Bishop Fulton Sheen, President Jimmy Carter Sunday School Lessons etc. I write for the Renewal Voice and give the occasional talk on the Word of God. That calls for some intensive study. I read Zenit the Vatican eNewsletter nearly everyday and by subscribing to other biblical newsletters like The Berean, I am in touch with commentaries on the Word of God.  And, last but not the least, God's praise is always on my lips irrespective of whether a good or bad thing has occurred to me in the course of the day. When I am alone I reflect on various issues and the divine plan for all of us. I am able to spontaneously share these reflections with groups of people when we gather to pray. Through all this, do I feel I spend quality time with Jesus? The answer is no and I would like to correct it sooner than later.



The most important question: Why Christ? Is He really a crucial factor in your life?


There was a time that I was a Sunday Christian and a good one. I was involved with Parish activities including doing a one-hour slide show on Good Friday for nearly three years at a Bombay parish. I did not know Christ until I attended a retreat by Jose Anathanam in 1993. The retreat opened my eyes to the Word of God. I had never owned or read the Bible before.  After the retreat, the Bible became a constant companion. I read, and reflect, and connect Christ to the daily events of my life. I cannot imagine life without Christ. He is as real to me as my parents, my wife or my kids. I almost have a life-like relationship with Him and He with me. At one point, before my encounter with Christ, I did forsake the Church and tried to know more about Hinduism, Nirvana, and all that rishi stuff, but the pull of Christ brought me back to The Truth, The Way and The Life.

As a person who interacts with the Ambanis, among others, what do you think sets apart a real Christian from others?


Let me answer in the spirit of the question that in my line of work I do meet some very important people (but have not met the Ambanis). Frankly, everything comes down to values. Business is about relationships, but better understood as being about money. There is a right way of making money and a wrong way. As a Christ-centered person rooted in the Word of God, there should be no confusion about the decision we need to take when confronted with contentious issues. However, we may choose to behave otherwise, not just in the case of business but also in our day-to-day life with respect to other relationships. As a Christ-centered person, you will feel convicted when you do wrong. We need to seek forgiveness and resolve never to make the wrong choice again. In the process, we mature as a Christian and begin to witness Christ with our life and commence the redemptive process in someone else's life. So, a real Christian is set apart when he or she takes a course that goes against the flow, not just for the sake of it, but because of the deeply cherished beliefs, which if need to be, can be explained to those who may seem affected by it.

Why do you think the world needs Christian executives at the top of the Corporate world?


With money comes power to influence. Global corporations today rule the world, not presidents and prime ministers. The latter come and go. Corporate chieftains have long innings to do good or damage with immense wealth and power at their command. A corporation with Christian governance philosophy can do a host of good to reduce inequality in the world in every area of life. We know with right values comes prosperity. It may take time but it will come in abundance and stay forever. The Catholic Church is a great example of that. We need lot more John Paul 2s as Corporate honchos in the world of today.

What would be your warning and advise for Christians who are on the way to the top in the Business world?


Have the conviction of John Paul 2. Say it without mincing words, but carry the people with you with a life that stands testimony to the belief. The young loved John Paul even though they did not buy into his views on contraception, abortion, family planning etc. The ability to balance convictions with driving business success is key to reaching the top of the corporate ladder for a Christian. Having convictions but delivering failures is no use to anyone. Several of the American Presidents were (and still are) great Christian. Jimmy Carter being one of them.

Interview with Mathew Anthony, General Manager, Rapp Collins India, Mumbai.

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