The Business of the Spiritual Formation of Business

Pour The 8:00 Cup of coffee. Punch the clock. Say your good-mornings. Power up the computer. Scan the to-do list. Settle in for your forty to ninety-hour workweek. Welcome back to the Monday morning routine.

For twelve years, I've followed some semblance of this Monday ritual in my current career as an attorney. I've entered the week--that five-day span of promise and dread--and set about to balance the tasks of client-pleasing and billing hours. I've crafted arguments, written thousands of pages of legal briefs. I've appeared in court carrying file folders and nervous anticipation. I've made objections, engaged in a few roiling arguments, and shared a few laughs with judges and opposing counsel alike. I've suffered the politics of business (apolitical as I am), the seasons of electric stress. I've ridden the waves of adversarial competition. And as a participant in the marketplace of mercenaries, I've been compensated.

These are the highs and lows of my particular field. You have your own highs and lows; yes? And this is my confession: I've often taken those highs and lows as they come without examining their effect on my spiritual well-being.

The business routine can often feel less than routine, but if you look at your career from forty-thousand feet, you'll see the banal truth. You are another cog in the wheel of commerce. You are one person performing one task that one million other people are also performing somewhere. And this begs the question: what is the end goal of our cogs-in-the-wheels-of-commerce careers? Do we perform for the provision (a kinder, gentler way to say "it's all about the money")? Do we perform as stewards of influence (a kinder, gentler way to say "it's all about the power")? Do we perform for fulfillment (a kinder, gentler way to say "it's all about the ego")? And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, it's imperative to ask the connected question: do we engage our careers with an eye toward the effects on our spiritual well-being, the million little perhaps-compromises upon which a career is built and a soul is formed?

For the last twelve years, I've spent more Monday-through-Friday hours in the marketplace than anywhere else. And as I reflect on that reality, this question needles me: has the market shaped me more than I've shaped it? I fear I know the answer to that question. Perhaps this question needles you, too.

To dichotomize our spiritual formation and our participation in the market is to subject our souls to the whims of money, power, the ego, and perhaps sex. The is no other way to put this. But what is the way forward?

[tweetherder]This is the priceless question.[/tweetherder] Let's explore it this week.


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