I love to read history. I’m not big into reading fiction or other non-fiction books, but I love to learn a little about the past and the people from it. As such, one of my favorite books is a collection of classic devotional works by Christians from throughout history. This week (and maybe next – we’ll see how this goes), I thought I’d share a few ideas from Christians that have changed the world and apply them to the workplace.
I’d like to start with Soren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard lived in the nineteenth century and spent most of his life in Denmark during the height of the Enlightenment. During this era, when science and reason claimed to leave little room for “outdated” Christian thought, Kierkegaard’s bold writings were a light in the darkness. He understood the gulf that exists between man and our Creator, and knew Jesus to be the bridge that allowed us to be re-connected. Often interspersing prayers into his writings, he put our human accomplishments in perspective,
“Father in Heaven! What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but a half-finished work if we do not know You: You the One, who is one thing and who is all!
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing.”
As is so often the case in today’s corporate workplace, that which was deemed empirically concrete was assumed to be of superior importance to that which was spiritual, but Kierkegaard knew better. Our accomplishments at work, though vast accumulations they may be, will only result in half-finished lives. Our lives can be full when God brings our intellect, heart and will back to that “one thing” – knowing him.