Times like these tend to challenge our worldview… Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see”. When the end is near, which now feels closer than our skin, it forces us to look at things anew. Our worldview focuses our eyes and our ears acutely. In this post, I want us to consider common instruments like a telescope, microscope, periscope, and stethoscope. And apply them more personally to this situation. I often speak in word pictures, but if you have ears to hear… let them hear.
Is this the end? Scope it out…
Take out the telescope. As you peer through the lens, what is off in the distance?
Now look under the microscope, when you zoom in what is hidden underneath the surface that is hidden to the naked eye?
With the use of the periscope, peek out from where you’ve hunkered down. What is happening in your immediate surrounding area?
Place the earbuds of the stethoscope in your ears and place the listening device over your heart, what is happening in your heart?
And that is the point of this post. When we apply the use of these diagnostic instruments, we are given the opportunity to see and hear more clearly. And this can be done to your business and has profound insights and implications.
Tuning out the noise…
Today, there are posts and images that are blowing up your “newsfeed”. There are sound bite videos that are going viral. When we look at them, what do we see? When these sounds come within earshot what do we hear?
Given the current situation, these will inevitably move us to consider what appears to be the “end” of something?
I’ve posted in the past the difference between flourishing vs. scarcity? Do things continue to expand until all things become new? Do things continue to get more and more difficult while everything goes to hell in a handbasket? What is the worldview through which you see these current times?
Opportunity when the “end” is near
Back in 2008, during the housing market crash, there were businesses that took bailouts. If you can survive a crisis you might be the only one left in your market. This has obvious market advantage. Those that survive are stronger. In a purely capitalist sense, difficult times tend to weed out “bad” business. Unfortunately, bailouts tend to cripple a business that really needed reform.
Alternatively, good businesses thrive in adversity. This is the time when the market needs them most, and they are ready for the challenge. It becomes the owner’s joy to find even better ways to love and serve their existing customers. What’s more, they use the situation to discover new customers and their needs. Then they can roll up their sleeves and get to even better work. It takes boldness and courage. It takes leadership!
A worldview inevitably impacts our view of business when “the end is near”. A reality I had few words for until I read CR Wiley’s book “Man of the House“. It informs the steward how to manage his household well and love and serve his neighbors with great joy. We should be encouraged to look and see and hear the story of the world around us anew. The Master Crafted a narrative that seems strangely different from the narrative we’re living in, yet it’s powerfully compelling. It’s a very distinct, dynamic, and divergent dialogue that invites you, and ALL of creation, into redemption. We find a vision of a beautiful cosmos that requires the full engagement of your oikos. It is a world that is resurrected out of death and dying, by new life in Christ. It portrays a blessing that extends through marriage and childbearing and rearing to all the families of the earth. And it culminates in a new heaven and earth.
In the end words matter
For me this has been a change in perspective of the Christian term redemption on a “whole ‘nother level”…
Some might argue that I’m simply trying to redefine Christian terms. Is this my attempt to convince people that these “new” terms are more sustainable and viable for those who are attempting to engage in Christian business? In their minds, this is just another attempt to “Christianize” business and rebrand it from its secular roots. We saw this happen in the wake of psychology during the 70s-90s – an attempt for the Church to sound relevant based on “new” science and use their terms with Christian flavoring. Ultimately it ended in the vast majority of counseling being deferred and referred. But this is not my intention. In fact, no amount of careful training and pruning of these business “bonsai trees” will produce different fruit.
I believe it goes far beyond that. The terms have already been redefined and placed into the current narrative. We now see them at work in the modern world, and it has brought us to this point. Maybe it’s time to go back and re-educate ourselves in the original meaning of these terms and acknowledge that words matter.
Seeds of the kingdom come
What if these terms were like seeds, which when properly understood, and planted in the right soil, would bring about a fruitfulness that currently isn’t on display?
My intention and venture into this blog have been two-fold. I have wanted to go back and consider these Christian terms in their original meanings and glean their business significance for my consulting. Secondly, I wanted to discover the context of these terms and their place in the original text. In doing so I wanted to ask the Interpreter the meaning of those words for inspiring joy-filled business. Most importantly to rescue what I believe the Revisionist has corrupted, stolen, and destroyed.
My theory is that there are original heritage “seeds” that are robust, vigorous, fruitful, and reproduce after their kind? When planted and watered, it would die in of our hearts and produce new life that grows and bears fruit? Not simply in some nicely packaged, “go to heaven when I die” motif – but deeply practical and earthy. I discovered the soil in my heart needed a little more cultivation before this planting could take place. But I also discovered that I should be diligent to give myself to that work. I was curious, what comes with the maturation of this seed? What I’m discovering is a cultivation and husbandry that has the potential to become generational and exponential in its fruitfulness.
Thank God for CJ Wiley…
This worldview is foreign to the current concept of family, households, business, church, politics, education, etc. I was left almost dumbfounded when I first wrote this statement in my journal, “It’s all business, and all Jesus, all the time”! You can’t use phrases like that in the public marketplace. It’s laughable. Everyone assumes it has no place (literally no business) being there. Well, I’m making it my business, because God designed an order that speaks a better word!
As far as I can tell, they’re [modern houses] meant to be recreation centers and status symbols. They’re places we retreat to when the workday is done. And their scale and their amenities are used to signal to our neighbors the value the market economy places upon our work.
describing the current view of the home
Others are leaning into a new end…
This past year on 21,000 miles worth of travel around the country, I realized just how practical and earthy this whole concept really is. It strikes at the core of men and women who sense something is missing but never had the proper language to express it. We have been looking into a glass dimly. Husbands want to be home with their wives laboring together in ways that are economically fruitful. Mothers want to engage with their children in meaningful work. Fathers yearn for practical moments to teach and instruct their children in ways that practically matter. Wives want to be acknowledged as productive and vitally partnered with their husbands. Children want to grow up and discover a clear path toward maturity and blessing. Instead, the modern household is… hijacked!
Hijacked turns to Hi JAC!
Actually, many of these Christian terms have been hijacked. They have been used to exploit and engage in various conquests down through the ages. Ironically they are very prevalent today – socially, economically, politically, and even within the church! People using the Word of God for their own agenda and profit. I discovered at certain points throughout history, men and women have been awakened to these heirloom seeds and their potential. While at other darker times these seeds have been genetically modified to accomplish other agendas deemed more profitable and worthy. In that sense, they were not “high-jacked” but “low-jacked”. They were degraded… deformed… diseased. As I have unpacked this and ventured out into this fallow field, I’ve started to dig around. It’s been in this process that I’m waking up and hearing the Lord saying, “Hi JAC! (as my initials are JAC). He knows my name!?
In God’s narrative, “when the end is near”… it’s actually the arrival/beginning of all things being made beautiful. I don’t feel like this post is done but I’m already late for supper. Story of my life… I never feel like anything is done. But know this, there is a bride who is making herself ready for a wedding day. More on this in a future post!
What this present time encourages me to consider is how I can press in to love and serve others better. Use this opportunity to grow and fortify your business. Find the weak spots and strengthen them. When things slow down we can more clearly see improvements. We can see where the flow of material or information do not flow smoothly and seek ways to correct them.
How do we apply wisdom during this uncertain time? I would love to help in any way I can. I’m offering a free 30-minute session to discuss the implications of this season on your business. I’m confident there are ways we can strengthen your business and grow your opportunities for a bright future.