Is modern business wisdom destroying Christian spirituality? Oswald Chambers once asked, “[Do we consider ourselves] so amazingly important that we really wonder what God Almighty does before we wake up in the morning?”
Contemporary sages tell us to apply business models to our spiritual work. They admonish us to make S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. They teach us that the closer we follow these instructions, the more effective our lives will be.
But natural insight doesn’t translate into spiritual wisdom. It’s not even a dialect.
The author Oswald Chambers was mostly unknown during his lifetime. Before he died (at the age of forty-three) only the tiniest circles of believers had even heard of him. And at the time of his death, he had only glimpsed a proof of the manuscript of his first book. If he leaned on S.M.A.R.T goals, how would he have evaluated his life on the day of his death?
But since his death, his words have influenced tens of millions, and his classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, is one of top selling books of all time. Instead of leaning into worldly wisdom, Paul encourages us:
“Judge nothing before its time; wait for the Lord. He will bring to light what is hidden and he will expose the motives of the heart.
“At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Cor. 4:5 emphasis added).
The world tells us to measure our results. God says the only result that matters is found in a personal connection with him. In that connection, he takes the broken bread-crumbs of our lives and feeds thousands.
How many of our S.M.A.R.T. goals are measured to make ourselves the hero of our own little mini-series?