The Cost and Power of a Godly Life
Are we willing to lose while standing for what is right?
July 1, 2004 - J.C. Watts Jr. is chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, after serving eight years in the United States Congress. Here are some brief excerpts from his address to the Christian Executive Leadership Forum at the Billy Graham Training Center April 30-May 2.
by J.C. Watts Jr.
After I left Congress, I was interviewing for a job. My prospective employers approached me and laid out the criteria for the position.
I fit all the criteria: I had been in leadership in Congress. I had been a strong advocate of business and of making a profit. I believe that success is not a sin and poverty is not a virtue. It's OK to make a profit—if you can't make a profit, there won't be jobs. If I make a profit, I'll create jobs.
I fit the mold of everything that they wanted. But they finally got around to telling me that I didn't get the job. "You're too conservative," they said. They meant, "You need to back off of your faith."
When I was in Congress I told my constituents, "I will get beat up because I am pro-life. I am for defending the sanctity of marriage. And I want to tell you up front that if you vote for me, those are the positions that I will take. I am willing to lose while standing for what's right."
- Character matters. At one point while I was serving in Congress, I found myself on the floor of the House of Representatives, and we were discussing the issue of character. Some were saying that as long as the economy was good, it didn't matter what one's character was. But character does matter. Here is a simple definition of character: Character is doing what is right when no one is looking. That's what my father, Buddy Watts, said.
- I think a lot about how to make my profession Christian. Our lives are the only "Bible" that many people will ever read. They'll never pick up Scripture and read the book of Exodus and the Ten Commandments; they'll never turn to 1 Samuel and read about David. But they will read our lives.
- It is encouraging to see executive leaders, businessmen and women, who stand boldly for their faith and say that you can be successful and also be moral; that you can be successful and also honest; that you can be successful and also be ethical. It is an encouragement to me because I see so many in the business community who, when they get over-absorbed in the political process, do not stand for their values. They are not willing to lose while standing on their principles.
- If you are to make your profession Christian, there's going to be a cost. If you want to stand on God's Word, there's going to be a cost. But I guarantee you, when it's all said and done, the cost is worth it.