The speaker at the recent St Andrew’s Men’s Breakfast, when some 50 men of all ages met for a delicious cooked breakfast in a local pub, was Dr Chris Banks. He had held senior positions in a number of household-name food and drink companies, when in the year 2000 he suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. He felt a compulsion to write down all the different “hats” he wore, such as Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Husband, Managing Director, Christian, Child of God. Which was the predominant one, and did he want it to become more or less important?
He realised that he had been working harder and harder, longer and longer, getting more and more tired and wishing he could be with his family more. He had been going to church on a Sunday, but not making any time for God during the rest of the week. He needed to devote less time to work, and more to the rest, especially to God.
For Chris this meant a dramatic reorganisation of his life. He decided to set up his own small business manufacturing and marketing soft drinks and food. It wasn’t easy – “by the skin of my teeth” was Chris’ description. It was no less hard work, but it was great fun and gave him a great deal more flexibility to prioritise what he knew to be important and even fit in some new things. He became involved in public sector work, especially in higher and further education.
It made a huge difference to his family, and indeed to Chris himself. He was able to make time for other things such as attending a demanding bible study course, being churchwarden for a time at St Andrew’s and even learning to play the guitar, which he now does most Sundays in church.
Looking back, it was clear that God was saying to him “Get your priorities sorted out. Wear your Christian hat more. Put God first.” This, of course, is much easier said than done. For many it may not require as radical a change as it did for Chris, but as he said “If you think there is more to life… then you are almost certainly right!”