The conference, featuring speakers such as Mr Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organisation and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers from the US, had the theme Your Pursuit of Happiness at Work, and focused on finding one’s spiritual purpose and mission in the workplace.
The day-long conference, organised by the Catholic Business Network (CBN), was held on Nov 28 at Catholic Junior College and marked the 10th anniversary of the Christ@work series since its inauguration in 2005.
The event which culminated in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh, attracted about 700 people including many Catholic business leaders.
Deacon Burke-Sivers from Portland, Oregon, who was the first keynote speaker in 2005, reprised his role again and reminded the audience to seek “true joy” as opposed to “material happiness”.
He told the audience that leaving his job as a police chief was the best decision he had ever made. “Why wait till you’re retired to do God’s work? What’s stopping you?” he asked.
An interview-style session followed featuring Mr Philip Ng and Mr Willie Cheng, deputy chairman of the Catholic Foundation.
When asked about his public persona as a “generous man”, Mr Ng replied how being blessed with wealth meant that he was merely a steward of God’s riches, not his own.
He added that he could hardly be compared to someone like the poor widow in the Bible who gave away all of her two coins.
Straits Times journalist Lydia Lim, during her presentation, stressed the importance of not identifying one’s self-worth with one’s job or career, and that life-giving choices and authenticity were hallmarks of living one’s true vocation.
The panel discussion that followed echoed similar sentiments. It was moderated by Mr Bernard Lim, head of the Mediacorp family segment and a former radio personality, and featured an eclectic mix of professionals.
One of the panellists was Pastor Barney Lau, who left his career at its peak as managing director of Microsoft Singapore to become a full-time pastor.
Mr Lau shared how, at age 41, despite the struggle of leaving a stable high powered corporate job to devote his life to God, he felt what he was truly doing was “giving in” to God instead of “giving up” the good life.
Mr Kevin Ho, chief commercial officer of the Ball Watch Company, brought the conference to a close by taking the audience through moral dilemmas, and showed how seemingly “logical” choices were actually non-Christian, “utilitarian”, ones.
Archbishop William Goh, in his homily during Mass reminded the audience to heed the call to urgently respond to do God’s work and “not to wait until they are too old... before doing so as we never know how much time each of us has left on this earth.”
Mr Paul Raj, who attended the conference said: “It is so humbling to hear of one of the richest men in Singapore talk so passionately about his love and belief in our Lord.
“It is a wake-up call to remind ourselves that there is more to life than money and possessions and that we need to do more for those around us and the poor.”