Serious business

‘Round these parts, Christian churches of every stripe still sport roadside signs with changeable lettering, offering challenges to passers-by that are often corny but now and then actually inspiring.  The one I spied yesterday gave me a handle on thinking about doing business in these questionable times.

“The serious business of heaven,” it said, “is joy.”

This remarkable statement points to several things.  For one thing, grounded as we are in material greed, we seldom think of serious business and joy as having any relation at all.  These human experiences exist poles apart in our accustomed perspective.  For another, the statement suggests that heaven is involved in a continuing purpose, and not simply out there gloating.  And most importantly, the idea opens up to us the possibility that, like heaven, we can make joy our own serious business.

Possibly, this is the change we are beginning to realize.  Maybe the economic deflation can help us to reorient our purposes.  What if, as you go through your work day, you take the creation and realization of joy as your sole inspiration?  What if we learn to measure success by the quality of our emotions?  What if the richest person is the one who spreads the most joy?

Of course, changing to a new standard is a complex thing.  We’ve been so oppressed by the almighty dollar that most of us seldom experience natural joy.  We may be hard pressed to define it.  We may mistakenly think that material abundance equals joy, because we’ve never ventured beyond our lust and cravings.  To move to a standard of joy is to undertake a vision quest, to commit to nothing less than perfection.

So the question becomes, how can I find my joy?  Where do I look, and how do I recognize it?  How do I pay the bills if my focus is on joy and not on money?  These are certainly practical considerations, and I intend to study them here over the next few weeks.  My writings are often heavily philosophical, and it’s likely that readers seek more specificity.  I know I do.  The bigger picture always comes clear to me far before the details emerge; but plans mean nothing unless they’re implemented.  So I invite you to tag along with me as we ferret out the means by which we can re-invent the meaning of commerce in our turbulent world.

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