Over the old roll-top desk in his office hangs
a charcoal sketch of Jesus, the carpenter, carefully focusing on his work. This picture,
by Francis Hook, testifies that Beckets faith is a living reality, not only in his
home but also in the workplace.
"To be complete as a person," Beckett says,
"I really needed to align myself with Jesus Christ as my Lord, and that conversion
experience of coming to him laid the foundation for the kind of spiritual understanding
that later I would see applied in the work place."
Torn between a pull to religion and a desire for a career in business, Beckett
eventually came to the realization that the two worlds were not in opposition; moreover,
he concluded that business was a calling from God, just as some are called to the
ministry. He says the sketch of Jesus, at work as a carpenter, inspires him because it
really sets Jesus into the work environment.
"It is a reminder of the kind of excellence and dedication that Jesus brought to
his work, and its an example for all of us."
Visitors to Beckett Corporation can immediately sense something different. A relaxed
and professional atmosphere, warm congeniality among employees, and a prevailing positive
attitude reflect the companys commitment to quality, service and respect for the
individual. The friendly work environment extends from the immaculate plant floor, where
employees work in teams at each work station, to the front offices. There is a reasonably
low turnover of company employees. Many of them have been there for more than twenty
"Mr. Beckett has a very unique manner of running his business," reports one
Elyria resident who is familiar with Beckett Corporation and its impeccable reputation.
Senior company executives start their work day with prayer. Other employees are
permittedthough not compelledto participate in prayer and Bible studies during
lunch or after work. Beckett is quick to point out that religious preferences have nothing
to do with hiring or advancement policies. Not all employees share his faith, but all must
adhere to the companys basic moral tenets.
Early in his life, Beckett had felt God drawing him, calling him to some higher
purpose, but he resisted. He explains it this way: "There was a war going on in my
mind between intellect and faith, and I was concerned about setting the intellect aside on
behalf of faith, not realizing that the Lord gave us our intellect, too. It isnt
necessarily at war with faith, but it needs to be subordinate to faith."
Through a series of circumstancesincluding the illness of a child, the death of
his father in 1965 and his subsequent struggle of whether to keep Beckett Corporation and
how to run it, and a serious fire that nearly destroyed the companyhe finally came
to a point where he lay down his resistance and allowed the Lord to come into his life.
In 1994, Beckett drew the attention of the national news media when he spearheaded a
national effort to get rid of certain proposed EEOC guidelines which would have restricted
religious expression in the workplace. A year later, ABC news wanted to do a story on
Becketts company for Peter Jennings nightly news program. They were interested
in learning more about how those at the company were relating their faith to their
business practices. Beckett reluctantly agreed, and Peggy Wehmeyer (their religious
correspondent), a producer, and a camera crew arrived at the R. W. Beckett Corporation the
following day. Jennings people put the company under the microscope. It must have
passed the test, because the story, that aired in the fall of 1995, was quite favorable.
Next, Beckett turned his attention to writing a book. Published in May by InterVarsity
Press, the book is titled Loving Monday: How to Succeed in Business Without Selling Your
Soul. It is written from Johns own experiences and carries a clear message that
integrity and excellence are needed more than ever in business today. It offers practical
advice to anyone who wants to find purpose and fulfillment in their lives, including their
"I felt that God wanted me to write the book," explains Beckett, "and it
was a priority, until I finished it."
Already in its third printing, Loving Monday is available at Christian book stores and
other outlets. It is easy reading and demonstrates that there can be a successful merger
of business, the Bible, and basic values. Beckett says its a little early to tell
what kind of impact it will have on the business world, but he knows of two companies, one
in this country and one in Brussels, that have already let him know they are adopting some
of his concepts.
God has opened another door for Beckett to get the message out that you can love your
work, be successful, and still hold on to principles and biblical values. Sometime in
October, he is scheduled to appear with Pat Robertson on the Seven Hundred Club.
John and his wife, Wendy, live in Elyria. He is active in his community, and his
hobbies are golf, tennis, skiing, and working with Wendy in the yard. He also likes to
read. Although the couples six children are now grown, and some have moved away, the
family remains close.
With todays apparent decline of spiritual and moral values, it is uplifting to
know that a successful and respected business leader like John Beckett has boldly
integrated his work with his beliefs, and is encouraging others to do the same. (Prov
10:9 NIV) The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be