The 9 to 5

How one financial planner works for eternity.

Interview Katie Croft
Photo courtesy Scott Marshall

All believers are called to live on mission -- reaching the world with the message and love of Jesus Christ. But sometimes it is hard to picture what that looks like in the workplace. 

Meet Scott Marshall, 31, a financial planner from Mississippi who has a passion for living out his Christian faith by helping his clients strategically manage their resources.

CCCI: Scott, What are your unique gifting/skills that you believe God wants to use for His kingdom?
Scott: As it relates to business, part of my calling in life is to help people grow, protect and give money through sound biblical financial planning. That is one thing I am convinced God put me on this earth to do and He gifted me to do it. I believe that what I do every day in my work as a financial planner is a calling.

CCCI: How does your faith play into your 9-5 job?
Scott: I strive to come to work each day asking God to show up with the people I talk with, the conversations I have on the phone and the emails I send. I don’t do this perfectly, but as I interact with people I am praying that God would open doors to discuss things beyond money.

CCCI: Can you give me a specific example?

Scott: My tagline for my business is: Grow. Protect. Give. Those 3 simple words represent 3 biblical financial principles from Scripture.

I have to put the giving aspect in there to keep me accountable to ask that question [with my clients]. I challenge my clients to give generously today and throughout their lifetime. Asking about giving opens up doors, it gets down to what is really important to a person.

Some say giving is very important and then go on to explain how and why they give. Others kind of put their head down. That can lead to other discussions. If it has not come up in our normal conversation, my 3-point tagline helps me be intentional.

CCCI: Are spiritual subjects an area you are nervous to ask about?
Scott: I’m not. I tell you I am very thankful for my time with Cru in college at Ole Miss where we were challenged to share our faith. And so not having that experience in college I probably would be more timid about it, but the Scripture is very clear that we do not have the spirit of timidity but one of power, love and self-discipline.

The Holy Spirit is not timid! There is no doubt it can be more intimidating with some people, but with it being right on the paper in front of us, it opens up those doors.

CCCI: Ministry is very community-centered. Do you have anyone around you with the same eternal mindset? Who is in this with you?
Scott: There is a man whom I share office space with. We do not work together, but we are both financial planners. We are separate businesses -- some would say we are competitors -- but really, we are not. He is a man of faith.

There are a few other men in my church; one of those men was also involved in a 2-year discipleship group that I was part of. He is one I can call in a weak moment or whenever something is on my heart. He knows me. I don’t have to spend time explaining the situation or how I operate, I can get right to it. 

We are looking to start a Thursday morning group where the main focus is to help men develop friendships in the church and walk together.  This idea I am taking from a book called Forging Bonds of Brotherhood, by Gary Yagel.

There is a high price for isolation. This applies to women also. Jesus never meant for us to live our faith out by ourselves -- individually. If we start to live out our faith just by ourselves, that can be lonely and again that is not what Christianity is about. It was never meant to be that way.

CCCI: How did you conclude that your work has eternal value?

Scott: My mentor, David Robbins, once encouraged me to focus on the 3 things that are eternal. God, God’s word and the souls of men

By interacting with other people, those are souls and that is eternal. It doesn’t matter there is not always a lead into a spiritual discussion; I am talking with someone who has eternal value. The challenge is to view everyone I see as an image-bearer of God.

In Scripture God tells us that we are made in His image. Everyone has an eternal destination. They are made in the image of God. For that reason alone, any conversation I have has eternal value.

The things I am doing have eternal value. I believe that is true for any occupation. I don’t think there is any occupation that is more spiritual or a higher calling than others, even those called to full-time ministry.

We all are called to full-time ministry, just in a different setting.

CCCI: Tell me more about that thought. What do you mean?
Scott: It’s easy to think of my “outreach” time as only Tuesday nights when I go downtown [to do evangelism] or I do a certain activity that is intentionally geared toward sharing my faith. But if I limit myself to those few times, then it closes the door on what I spend most of my life doing in the workplace.

It can be intimidating to talk with people that you know or with strangers. But I truly believe in asking God to open those doors, saying, “God use me as You would desire to use me. Help me to move beyond these fears.” Then trust in His Scripture that says He cares about the intricate details of our lives.

So when I come into work, it is not the dreaded 9-5. It becomes, “Today is the day that God has made, and who knows who will cross my path?”

What would our world look like if Christian financial planners, lawyers, teachers, small business owners and journalists were intentional about incorporating the truths of Scripture into their work each day? How could we work together in the effort to make Jesus’ love known while punching the time clock?

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