Once upon a time, I worked with the founder of a startup. 1 It was a fun company, built on the basis of helping people accomplish life-long dreams. The principal had published a book on the topic, and was working hard to build a business around his leadership and consulting.
On one particular day, I took a trip down from where I was staying in Seattle to participate in a day-long brainstorming session for the business’ marketing strategy. It was a fun planning session, and I got to spend time learning from and working with several savvy marketers.
One of the consultants, who happened to be a personal friend of the business owner, was particularly interesting. Not because of his marketing know-how, but because of something he said as we ended the day:
Be sure to keep me up-to-date on your progress. I have a vested interest in the success of this project.
How vested are you?
To have a “vested interest” in something means you need to have actually invested something. Hearing someone who’d been paid for their time, had reneged twice on offers to actually invest in a business, and had nothing tied up in the business itself claim a “vested interest” felt incredibly wrong.
It was a sloppy use of words on his part – no offense was intended – but it struck a chord nonetheless.
Since that meeting, I’ve been very careful with language, particularly around words rooted in vestment.
In particular, I keep a keen eye on how various people relate to and invest in the Church. We are called to be a global community of believers, bound together by common cause and investing in the lives of one another.
Too often, we come to church on Sundays expecting for the church – the congregation, the minister, etc – to invest in us. To feed us and help us grow. We expect to walk away with something of value, having brought nothing but our own attendance in exchange.
We are called to invest in our Church family, but rarely do we actually do so. We show up late to church (to miss the meet-and-greet). Check our phones incessantly during downtime (to avoid speaking to those around us). We leave immediately when dismissed and run back to our busy lives with little regard to others who’ve come to church and might be there expressly so we can build into their lives.
It’s a phenomenon I’m guilty of almost weekly, and it needs to stop.
Christ was fully invested in building the church here on Earth, and has been since the beginning. For Christ-followers to be any less invested in the continued building of His church is to be living a lie.
- I’ve actually worked with several startups, but this was a special case. ↩