Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 1999
Handyman follows Jesus
Near-financial disaster led him to put his trust in the Lord
By BYRON PRICE
Special to the WCR
The business card reads, "HandyMan, residential-commercial, any size job, door specialists."
Mark Hawkins is a soft-spoken man in his 40s. On the back of his grey older model truck a sign with big white block letters says, "Jesus Works."
How does the small businessperson remain faithful to Christian truth in a world where the market is god and greed knows no bounds?
Hawkins says simply that his sign is a testimonial to Jesus: "I wanted a sign on my car, so asked the Lord, What word should I put on my car? I opened the Bible to the part where Jesus says, 'Come and follow me.'
"The sign I put on my car was, 'Follow Jesus.'" He continues: "I live by faith and my business is by faith so I figured 'Jesus Works' was appropriate for a work vehicle."
Hawkins gets lots of work and he doesn't advertise - "I'm not in the Yellow Pages." He feels strongly that the Lord will provide if one calls upon him.
Several years ago he fell 14 feet landing on his head and breaking his neck. Hawkins convalesced at home before he went back to work. He could no longer do his work effectively as an overhead mechanic because of his neck problems and separated shoulders.
The company let him go. But Hawkins was a Christian and he trusted in God's mercy and caring. He went on the street to preach the Gospel.
One man in his congregation offered him a job as a shipper and receiver. He worked there for five years. The man he worked for was a Christian man and an inspiration to Hawkins. The man gave a third of his profits to the Lord.
Then the company was sold. One condition of sale was that Hawkins would be kept on. Hawkins said he would stay a year until the new owners were well-established.
Hawkins tried to preach the word of God to the new owners but they seemed only interested in making money. After the year, Hawkins prayed to the Lord for direction. He explains, "The Lord said to me, 'I want you to quit your job.'" He asked the Lord "What am I going to do?" "The Lord said; 'No, I said quit your job.'"
So he left the company and tried to find a job everywhere. No one had a position for him. He said, "I don't understand - it's God's will. I began to pray as the Lord directed me."
Hawkins had $1,000 when he left the job, a stay-at-home wife and three children. In six weeks all the money was gone. All that was left was coins worth $30.
That was Friday. Hawkins needed gas for his car. They needed groceries. The insurance was due on Monday. He went to Scripture and read, "Don't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself." So he spent the $30 on gas.
Then he remembered a friend who had made money cleaning windows. So he got a squeegee and went from place to place in the industrial area of northeast Calgary cleaning windows. He made $150 that day.
Then he received a call from a man who needed a lot of renovations and didn't have the time to do them himself.
That was the beginning of the turnaround. Hawkins made $20,000 that year. He never borrowed a cent and all the bills were paid on time.
When he quit his job as a shipper and receiver, he had debts. There was one man to whom he had owed money for 12 years. Hawkins felt he couldn't start his own business in faith until he had paid this man back.
But when Hawkins prayed to Jesus, the answer he got was, "I never said that." Hawkins smiles and says, "He was right; he never did say that."
Then Hawkins went to the man to whom he owed money and said, "I will work for you on your house. Just give me enough to live on and apply the rest to my debt." In six weeks Hawkins had paid off his debt.
His business has grown by word of mouth. "When I don't work, I just wait and trust God." Now he earns around $50,000 net a year. He never thought that would happen. God was generous.
Hawkins tries to bring Christian values to his work as a handyman. "I have a sincere wish to serve my customers. I don't do it perfectly, but I do care about people. I also translate that care to my suppliers. I want my business to be a Christian business."
Running a Christian business does not mean you can't run it in a worldly way. Christ says we have to love people as ourselves - that means everyone you do business with. We must remember that Christ says a labourer is worth his hire.
Hawkins cautions, "Don't try to knock down a price or wages if they are fair because you hurt customers, suppliers, society and yourself. Consider other people's needs similar to your own. That's a Christian business."
Hawkins' faith is deep and he says that if he stopped his journey with the Lord, he would be back to his miserable old self of being angry and agitated.
People who are down on their luck, he says, have to trust in the Lord. "Try to be good at what you know, trust Jesus and he will take you from there."
As for what he has learned about the business world, Hawkins says, "When I'm responsible for the little things, God will give me more. I expect a just wage for my work and the people who work for me deserve the same.
"You don't have to have all the answers and be perfect to conduct a Christian business. You just have to put your faith in the Lord and he will do the rest."