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Sharing the Faith - Tom Chewningby Tom Chewning

Editor’s Note: The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently published an article about Tom Chewning. Tom and Nancy Chewning, active members of Richmond’s First Baptist Church, have worked for many years in a variety of ways to help bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. Below is Tom’s own story, which first appeared on the FBC website more than five years ago.


Warren Buffett says that being born in the United States is to win the “ovarian lottery!” In my case, I got all the lucky numbers right and the power ball too.

I had a wonderfully privileged childhood. My parents were both well educated and totally committed to their children’s well being. In return, I wanted to make my parents proud of me through academic and athletic performance. I had some success in both areas, which led to my attending the University of North Carolina and playing on the best tennis team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. A graduate degree in business at Wharton School followed.

… I had
no spiritual content in
my life.

My business career was a series of good breaks for 40 years. I never had a job I didn’t like, and I was never between jobs. I was a commercial banker for eight years; then at 31, my uncle asked me to be the CEO of a holding company he had formed in Seattle.

The 11 years there were very heady times for me. I was a star in my company, in the local business world, and certainly in my own mind, but the relationships I had with Nancy and our children were far from close. I was almost an intruder in the world they had to create without me.

Outwardly my
life looks much
the same as before, but with Christ truly my Lord, it feels entirely different, because now the puzzle pieces
fit together perfectly.
I gave the impression of a Christian as our family attended a small Methodist church on Sundays, and I taught high school Sunday school. In reality, outside those two hours on Sunday, I had no spiritual content in my life.

In 1987, we moved back to Richmond when I took a position at Dominion. At a Needles Eye luncheon that year, Jess DuBois, a local radio and television personality, told his story of having everything he could have imagined and yet feeling empty. I listened intently to his advice that only through a personal relationship with Christ could I find true happiness, but I really didn’t understand what he was saying.

Our daughter began attending Young Life meetings in high school. As her personal relationship with Christ developed, she was bold enough to ask Nancy and me if we really knew Christ as our personal Lord. Soon Nancy told me that her relationship with Christ was the most important one for her. My wife and daughter had both decided that Christ was going to be first in their lives. So where did that put my relationships with them?

Nancy and Tom Chewning

Nancy and Tom Chewning

My life was a bit like a picture puzzle. I had put myself in the center and woke up each morning asking what might make my day better. But when the other pieces just wouldn’t fit properly, I realized I had the wrong piece in the center. When I put Christ in the center of my life, my daily question changed to how could I make someone else’s life better. God used this concentration on others rather than myself to give me real joy.

Outwardly my life looks much the same as before, but with Christ truly my Lord, it feels entirely different, because now the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly.

Enjoy related stories:
Tom Chewning: Social Investor by Peter Bacqué (from Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/25/13)
The Lord, Children and Sports by Nancy Chewning (previously featured in First Things First)
U-Turn Sports video produced by David Powers

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