One of the books I am currently reading is called “Straight From the Gut” by Jack Welch (former CEO of GE). While the book highlights the aspect of a successful corporate strategy, I couldn’t help but think the entire time I was reading it that something was missing. Jack Welch takes you through his entire life and engages you thoroughly with his stories of his success. Yet as I turned each page, I got a deeper feeling that Jack was missing something in his book. About half way through Jack talked in detail about his personal life (something he had not done through most of the book). His decades long relationship with his wife Carolyn ended. Aha! That was it. Never throughout the first chapters of his book had he discussed much about his family. I knew he had 4 kids because he spoke of them sporadically. His wife Carolyn was mentioned at cocktail parties and conventions, but really nothing more than that. He continued talking about how after being set up on a blind date he formed another unlasting relationship with another woman. This woman left her job as an attorney to marry him, and they divorced a couple years later. These few pages of the 350 plus page book gave you very little details about his personal life, but it was just enough for me to see what was missing in the book. It was God.
Even though Jack was raised Catholic by his devout mother, he didn’t seem to incorporate God into any of his strategies. The corporate world was being directed with Jack’s plan in mind, and let me tell you Jack was one smart guy. He cut out divisions of the company when he took over, he sold off unprofitable business, and he laid off thousands of employees. He knew his plan, and he was going to achieve it at all costs. Was it a good plan? Sure.
Jack Welch was a determined, intelligent man. Yet something was missing. He had wealth, power, and high profiled friendships. He lived in a world of extreme wealth, during a time when men ruled the workforce. He directed his people and company based on his plan. So what possibly could be missing in such a successful life that people envied? God. God was missing.
There is something to be said when a CEO places God first in his life. Somehow his (CEO) plan becomes a little less important and His (God) plan becomes apparent. When a CEO that places God first lays off workers and sells off divisions, the plan is a little easier to swallow because it is God directed and not man directed. Maybe some of you don’t understand what I mean, but I am here to tell you that when God is on the forefront of a plan, things work out perfectly. When we direct a plan as humans, everything crumbles.
Sure Jack Welch made millions while directing his great corporate plan, but what did he lose while doing that? He lost his family, his friends, and respect of others. His friends consisted of only those who were willing to follow through with his plan – what kind of life is that? Who wants to live around a bunch of “yes men.”
I am not trying to be critical of Jack because there are many of us just like him. We try to make our plans look good, look enticing, look like the right plan; but we push God out of life to make it happen. We forget that God is here to help us, to guide us and to direct us. When we ignore the greatest reason we are here on earth, it doesn’t matter what we do, some part of our plan will falter.
Unfortunately for Jack, that part of the plan was his personal life – it crumbled to pieces. He was ultimately out for himself and not the bigger picture of life.
In order for us to balance work and faith, we have to place faith first. Faith will give us the ability to work and see God’s plan for us. God’s plan may look very different than what we thought our life would look like. God’s plan may make us squirm because it is against everything we have worked toward. God’s plan may make us consider more sides of the story than we wanted. But God’s plan will allow us to live life with complete joy and most importantly will give us peace in knowing we did things according to His will. God will ensure that we are fulfilled. God will entice us with the reward for eternal life. We won’t be searching for the next conquer, the next buzz or the next project. We will be fulfilled by the gift of God’s will.