Living with the End in Mind | Part Two
By Kelsey McFaul
Consulting CEO Mark L. Vincent on the intersection of professional and personal stewardship
In our first blog post on Mark L. Vincent, we discussed how leading with the end in mind infuses Mark’s professional approach and his work as CEO and Senior Design Partner at Design Group International. You can read it here.
The strength of steward theology is its holistic relevance to all aspects of our lives. It’s not that one philosophy orders our professional sphere and another our personal relationships–this results in a divided self unable to steward any of our relationships well.
In contrast, a true leader infuses one’s relationships with self, God, others, and creation with a consistent attitude of surrender. For Mark Vincent, it’s evident not just in his consulting work but also in his family relationships, particularly his late wife Lorie’s battle with cancer.
“I see it as kneeling and holding your hands up to God. It’s just this posture of giving as well as receiving. I’m offering myself, and that puts me in a position to receive what God wants to pour out. So even in the offering up of marriage and life and love after 30-some years of marriage, I’m in a position to let go.”
Lorie and Mark founded DGI out of their dovetailing expertise in Christian education and discipleship and business and nonprofits. Around the same time, Lorie received her first cancer diagnosis.
“There was no security. We were using our safety net to start DGI as we had this health crisis. But we just felt called to it; it felt like such a use of our gifts. But it meant regularly approaching God and saying, ‘Whatever we have is Yours. We look to You as our provider.’ It was a very deliberate choice to live that way.”
Mark and Lorie made the choice to continually surrender not only their resources, but their very lives, daily. In the face of a life-threatening illness, they found that acknowledging the end to come made living more fruitful.
“The world is flawed, breaking, and our physical bodies will eventually fall down. Our best response to that truth is to fight disease by turning toward hope.
“If we claim there is an owner who has made a way possible and offers redemption to creation and we’re living in response to that, now we have an eternal perspective. We’re living with the hope of eternity, and this temporal stuff we’re facing is going to go. We don’t have to fight that.”
Their choice to live as stewards, acknowledging that their lives were not their own, kept the end in mind—not the end of Lorie’s life, but the ultimate end of reunion with God. And it offered hope to others, through their co-authored book, Fighting Disease, Not Death: Finding a way through lifelong struggle.
When, after a long 16-year battle, the end of Lorie’s life on earth came, the couple found themselves more prepared than they’d imagined because of the choices of surrender they’d made each day.
“I had always wondered, when it came to her passing, if I could really do it. I came to understand that I could see this through all the way to the end, and I was really privileged to be with Lorie at the very last moment of her last heartbeat. Because of the way we chose to live and because of God’s grace, it was a peaceful close.”
Lorie spent her last moments at home, surrounded by family, without medical debt and bills, and at peace in her relationships.
“Within minutes, I was able to say how holy this was, how beautiful it was. It was a good life. It was a good end. We’d lived into that hope, and that hope wasn’t lost. It’s only increased for me now.”
Even in the midst of Lorie’s disease, her family was able to provide and give to the needs of others. Upon her death, Mark established the Lorie L. Vincent Campus Ministry Fund to support campus ministry and discipleship and equip young professionals to follow Jesus in their careers.
Mark and Lorie’s partnership, tangible in the creation of DGI and Fighting Disease, Not Death, has a new iteration in the trust. Stewardship at work, it’s another way Mark and Lorie keep the end in mind and continue to create good with God in the process.
“It’s just sort of a nice family legacy, that the things I committed to way back when I was 18 years old, now I’m in my 50s, and we’re starting to see the fruit of a life lived in that direction. To actually see it come into being while I’m still alive, that’s really exciting.”
In the meantime, Mark’s remarried to the widow of a close family friend, blending two families in the creation of something new.
“We had a sense that we had a gift from God to be at the center of this family that involves six children and three spouses at this time and now three grandchildren and seven senior adults at different stages of aging. We want to be as helpful as we can be, as loving, as much of an encouragement, and to make that the focus of something that we could do together.”
Stewardship of resources, of pain, of life itself, of family–these are the choices of surrender that make Mark’s life rich.
“It’s a marvelous time of continued mutual healing, living into the promise of what it means to offer ourselves in service.”