– by Marius Fourie
Almost ten years ago, while I was working for one of the “Big Four” consultancy firms, I attended the Businessman of the Year Awards in Cape Town. What I remember most about the evening was the award recipient’s speech, which made a huge impact on me. He mentioned the book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford, and how it had changed him. I later acquired a copy of the book and had a similar experience. What I did not know was how my life would someday intertwine with that of the award winner.
Campaigning for ethics
As I reached the halfway mark in my own life and felt compelled to do something significant and drastically different, I applied for positions at various humanitarian organisations. In early 2016, I responded to an advertisement for a position at a non-profit organisation called Unashamedly Ethical (UE). Their mission is to campaign for ethics, values, and clean living across the globe. The Biblical inspiration for their vision is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, where God says: “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. The organisation was founded in 2010 by none other than Graham Power, the CEO of the Power Group, and the man who introduced me to the book so many years before. The rest, as they say, is history. But how did all it all come together?
Going back to the beginning
Religion and Bible texts meant nothing to me for most of my adult life. Truth be told, I despised all forms of religion and was especially critical of Christianity. I was of the opinion that in the South African scenario, mainstream churches stood idly by in the Apartheid years, not supporting the plight of the oppressed. And although I always believed that I was on a spiritual journey of some sort, Jesus was never central in this. Nevertheless, my parents and siblings kept praying for me. Then, three years ago, my world gradually started to cave in. My marriage was over, my newly established consultancy firm was struggling to win contracts, and I was depressed by the escalating crime and corruption in the country. What I didn’t know was that God was rearranging my life. Rediscovering Christ – I had a short-lived conversion as a teenager – happened most unexpectedly: During a 4×4 trip in rural Stellenbosch I had a blackout where I talked incoherently for almost eight hours, completely unaware of time and place. Coming to my senses in a hospital bed and having my parents starring anxiously at me was the defining moment. We prayed together, my journey with Jesus began and the healing process started. That is when the doors also began to open…
Joining UE in March 2016 was a defining moment in my life and has put me on a path I did not see coming. Each and every day we strive to promote ethical living and Godly values in societies, and to counter corruption (probably the largest weapon of mass destruction). Unashamedly Ethical encourages and supports those who practice ethical behaviour in their corporations, government departments, and elsewhere. The movement rally citizens around the world to break down barriers of hostility and division; and to promote healthy economic development. I truly believe that God has a unique plan for each and every person in our country. We are not just to model God’s love by loving each other; we are to carry out His plans as we prepare to usher in His Kingdom. I believe that together we can change the world.
JOY! Magazine (September 2017)