Weekly Thought – March 12, 2019
Fred challenged everyone’s thinking. He mentally prepared for every conversation, meeting, and phone call. Unless they really knew Fred and his disciplined thought life they marveled at his reservoir of spontaneity. Questions like these stimulated his thinking and that of others. These brief answers were like a pop quiz, but a lifetime of thought allowed him to respond with depth.
Asking Good Questions:
1. Question: Is work my sickness or my cure? Fred Smith (FS): If our work is the fulfillment of our responsibilities then it can be a great force for health and maturity. Work that is addictive is detrimental. We know scripture says to do our work with all our might and it even admonishes those who are unwilling to work and provide for themselves and their families. Genuine accomplishment is a great benefactor; it gives meaning to life.
2. Q: Do I live an examined life? FS: One of our respected philosophers said that the unexamined life is an unworthy existence. Trying to live an unexamined life is like a doctor trying to cure an illness he has not diagnosed. Examination should have a practical limitation. Its purpose is to point out the elements most beneficial to our living a correct existence.
3. Q: What are the recurring themes in my life? FS: C.S. Lewis said that every person should have two or three major themes. Pursuing these gives us a reason for being. I believe major themes direct our accomplishments. Personally, I have found great satisfaction in studying human nature and how this knowledge interplays with our life decisions and actions. For example, I accept the Biblical theme of the fallen nature of man and its implications for the way our world works.
4. Q: Do I accent my rights over my responsibilities? FS: It is human for most of us to guard our rights more than fulfilling our responsibilities. It is part of our ego structure. We feel more arrogant when we accent our rights and more humble when we accept our responsibilities. Rights make us feel like we are the captain of our fate. When we demand our rights we separate ourselves from others. When we operate from a responsibility base we are pulled together. I like to say rights laminate, or press seal together. Part of our humility is the willingness to be accountable and not a “law unto ourselves.”
5. Q: Do I make good decisions? FS: No one I know has the ability to make all good decisions. That is one of the reasons I have specific individuals help me, using their areas of expertise. Here are a few principles for decision making: 1) I ask myself if I have a choice. If I have none, then I don’t have to bother myself about making a decision; 2) I ask if this is a major or minor decision; 3) Then I consider the short term benefit versus the long term liability. I have found short term benefits have a way of obscuring the long term liabilities.
This week think about: 1) How is Fred spurring me to develop questions? 2) What is my process for decision making? 3) How can I instill responsibilities rather than rights thinking into my family, work, friendships?
Words of Wisdom: “Trying to live an unexamined life is like a doctor trying to cure an illness he has not diagnosed.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For each one will carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:5 NET Bible)