Our church staff recently read a book called “When Fish Fly”, written by Yokoyama. It was Pastor Chai’s last book recommendation before he retired. The author is a second generation Japanese-American who was once a poor young man and now runs a fish corner at ‘Pike Place’ in Seattle. Despite its moderate size, the business generates a significant amount of income through unique marketing. He became famous when his distinctive business philosophy was known to the world, and he started speaking in various leadership seminars hosted by private companies and broadcast stations. “When Fish Fly” introduces his business leaderships in detail.
As an employer, he pondered on how to make his employees enjoy work, commit to the long-term, and feel rewarded doing mundane jobs. Ultimately, he came up with ways for his employees to interact pleasantly with the customers such as repeating customer’s orders cheerfully once the customer chooses a fish and tossing the fish in spectacular manner from the display stand to the customer as an attraction.
However, on the inside, he came up with ways to share visions in order to maintain a pleasant work environment, cooperate with each other, resolve conflicts among employees, split profits, and even help each other succeed in their own areas. He even trains his employees to assist customers in choosing the most suitable fish for the price and usage the customer has in mind.
The author confesses the greatest satisfaction he gets from running his business is witnessing the change in his employees’ lives. Coming from life in the slums, they found purpose in life and good character to become better people. I was amazed to find that such change in people’s lives could come from a small fish store that can be easily over looked and also by the fact that the pleasure experienced by those who do not know God is similar to what Mokja feels at our church.
What I realized from this is that the truth in the bible is quite effective in the world as well. People tend to think that words written in bible, such as the ‘purpose of one’s life is to love and serve others’ or ‘in order to be the first, you must be the last’, or ‘leaders are those who help others to succeed’, are only idealisms and would not work in the business world.
However, when you hear success stories from the people in this world, you will find that they applied biblical lessons (they wouldn’t call it that since they don’t know the bible) to their daily lives to achieve that success. Their stories prove that philosophies in this world may sound plausible yet cannot be carried out without the word of God. Though it sounds impossible to do, when you try, it can be done.
I hope that believers like us will try harder to live by the Word at work and in business amongst those who do not know and will have many more success stories to share.
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