Because business is an important part of life and our well-being, I think and write a lot about business.
Because life is more than just business, periodically, I write about other topics.
This post is about Christmas. So if you are only interested in business writings, feel free to skip this one.
At Christmas, work usually slows down and with the end of one year and the beginning of another, it’s a great time for reflection.
Instead of the normal thinking about resolutions for the new year, I offer two questions worth pondering.
Now these questions are not to be conquered, they are to be savored – contemplated over a long period of time and discussed with friends. People all over the world have been trying to answer these questions for thousands of years.
I am a pragmatic, practical guy. You only have to look at my wardrobe to see that – much to the dismay of my kids.
But I have always been fascinated by important ideas. Years ago, a speaker defined philosophy for me. He said philosophy answers two questions:
- What is real?
- What does it mean to live a good life?
Not everybody needs or wants to answer questions like these. But for some of us, beginning to answer these questions helps us make the most of life, providing us with more meaning and direction.
I find myself coming back to these questions time and time again. They help me think through the importance of marriage and family, work, owning a business, relationships in business, and relationships with friends. They also help me ponder the claims of Jesus Christ and how I should engage with him.
Life is really busy. Reflecting on these questions helps me make sure I am not wasting my time.
In the spirit of Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ, I thought I would review some of Jesus’ teachings that reflect how he would answer these questions. Here are seven quotes:
How would you summarize Jesus’ statements as an answer to the question “What is real?”
Here’s my summary:
There is a lot more going on than what we can know through our five senses. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is essential. Jesus provides for his people. Jesus wants an intimate relationship with his people. Jesus wasn’t “nice” the way most of us define nice; he was more “in your face.” He cared more about their future than their feelings. He wanted them to know what is real.
Now for the second question: “What does it mean to live a good life?”
This question is tough. We get some clues from Jesus’ quotes above. Certainly, pondering the implications of what is real would be part of it.
The most relevant answers from the teachings above are the ones dealing with exclusivity and relationship.
The quote related to exclusivity is difficult for many Americans to accept. If Jesus is God, as he says he is, then he gets to make the rules. We think more in terms of majority rules or everyone gets to make his or her own rules.
The quote related to relationship is fascinating. Imagine an all-powerful God wanting an intimate relationship with each one of us. Of course, there is much more that could be said about how to pursue that relationship, but I will save that topic for another time.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this perspective on Christmas. I hope you enjoy the time with friends and family.
When some people answer the question, what is real in relation to Jesus, they say he was a good, moral teacher.
Nonsense, said C.S. Lewis, a professor at Oxford, a popular author, and for many years, an atheist.
Lewis was searching for answers to the question, what is real. Here’s an excerpt from his book, Mere Christianity, where he dismisses this view. His reasoning is fascinating.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us notcome with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.“
Many people have found great value in this book – answering the two questions of philosophy. If you want, you can order it here.