Lawful and Profitable?

thinkingboy_outlineRecently, my mind has been consumed by choices. As many of my readers know, I just had my paperback transformed into a Kindle edition, and I’ve also been interviewing for various higher education positions in my area. In addition, my financial situation has recently encountered some modification as well. In all of these matters, however, some words of advice from the apostle Paul keep popping to mind:

I Corinthians 10:23: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.”

In other words, I can do anything, but that doesn’t mean I should do everything. With the pleasure of increased choices comes the burden of amplified responsibility. I can choose to market my Kindle edition through any number of means, but only a few of those are actually going to work. It becomes my job to decipher which methods are not only permissible, but will result in the greatest outcome. Likewise, I can pursue any number of jobs within academia, but only that job that best fits my abilities and life calling should earn the “brass ring” of my acceptance.

Now before my friends judge my limited interpretation of Paul’s words above, allow me to elaborate a bit. In my current workplace, we’ve recently been exploring the notion of “getting to yes.” In a nutshell, that idea states that businesses should inform customers that “we can do anything, but we can’t necessarily do everything.” So when I encountered Paul’s echo of this sentiment (only in a more spiritually minded fashion), the correlation between my “worldly” situation and a more supernatural piece of wisdom organically began to bridge with one another. I’m not advocating a “prosperity gospel;” instead, I’m simply tying two areas of my life together with a common thread of philosophy.

As I’ve gone along life’s path lately, this little scripture has returned again and again, rearing its head everywhere from the boardroom to the dining room table. It has influenced my decisions daily, and caused me to cast new light on old issues. Paul’s test of worthiness causes one to pause and analyze, examining each set of options with a magnifying lens of overall benefit: Which choice is not only going to be allowable, but will also provide the biggest or best return? Please don’t think I see this from a strictly monetary perspective — “returns” come in both intrinsic and extrinsic forms, and research time and again has shown us that the most intrinsic rewards are the best for us as humans.

And certainly, there are other religious tomes out there that equally advocate balanced decision-making. However, for my purposes in my daily life, Paul continues to speak truth into my everyday practices. Something as simple as flipping a light switch can become a moment for reflection, and something as complex as intelligent investing can be critically viewed equally well using this tiny phrase of ancient proverbage. Give it a try yourself — who knows what great decisions wait right around the corner?

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