In the first “Back to the Future” movie, Marty (Michael J. Fox) was zapped backwards in time to the 1950’s when his parents were teenagers. By accidentally interfering with events on the day his parents were to fall in love, he almost eradicated his own future. He did it again, when he found out that his inventor friend (Christopher Lloyd) would be killed by terrorists in the future. Wisely, the mad scientist understood that no one should know his own future; but in desperation, Marty finally wrote Doc a letter, explaining what was ahead. Marty returned to the future just in time to see his friend get shot. Thankfully, Doc did read Marty’s note and wore a bulletproof vest to his meeting. In this case, knowledge of the future saved his life.
Something gnawing inside of us gives us a sense that with the right information, our lives would be better, that the trajectory of our careers could be enhanced with some inner message. That is why professionals often scour The Wall Street Journal or magazines like Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur or Kiplinger’s. That’s also why business blogs and leadership books are so popular, and rightfully so. It is important to invest the time to be knowledgeable about our professions and the marketplace we compete in; however, that information is not enough.
God doesn’t want you to be found lacking in understanding so He has preserved His written word for us. In the prophet Hosea’s day, God had a case against Israel: there was “no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land” and it wasn’t because of mere ignorance. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge . . .” Our world is full of mixed messages and truth is supposed to be relative, right? God disagrees, clearly laying it out that “the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (Psalm 33:11). It’s easy for Christ followers to fall into the trap of thinking we can create our own destiny through human effort and ingenuity alone—a highly esteemed value in the marketplace.
As 2014 is beginning to take shape, I am exhorting fellow professionals to spend even 10 to 15 minutes a day reading The Bible. Listen to Jesus’ words in John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Observe two words carefully:
1. Truth. Our culture gets nervous when anyone claims to know it. Everyone is encouraged to embrace whatever they want to believe as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s ideas. That philosophy insures that I never have to feel guilty about anything as long as it’s right for ME. Jesus was crystal clear in stating “I am the truth.” That wasn’t a dictatorial claim, but an observation about who He was and what He came to do for us. Those of us privileged enough to work in a free market economy should be able to understand that “absolute truth” is part of the “bottom line” world of business.
2. Free. Our nation’s ethos is liberty so we can easily skip over the kind of freedom Jesus referred to. Our civil freedoms come through a democratic form of government which insures rights like the freedom to own property and pursue any career you desire. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the rights of “life, liberty and security of person”. Jesus was talking about something more. He was talking about a largeness of heart, an inner reality unregulated by any law or head of state. “The truth will make you free.” He presented a life that cannot be contained by any legal system or form of government. Freedom from judgment, death, fear and guilt. Freedom for friendship with God, renewal and a certain future. Again, how did Jesus say we find that kind of freedom? “. . . continue in My word . . .” That is why I am asking you to join me in expectantly reading God’s Word this year.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Jesus, Your words are full of light and power. Your words are life-giving, so fill me with them today. Help me lean into the truths that You reveal. Help me receive them with humility and hopefulness. Your truth has the power to renew my mind. While that sounds good in a big-picture way, I am asking You to begin making specific changes in the way I think, speak and live this year.
“The BIBLE — banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it, dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”