Innovating in the Spirit

In high-tech businesses, people labor in a world dominated by technology and finances. Because profit is the primary goal, it’s easy to become distracted. Yet we are still to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). Some businesses have Christian newsletters, and that can help, as do prayer groups and Bible studies at work, and opportunities to minister to others. We are also to work diligently at our jobs,  but is there a spiritual basis of the work itself?

David Packard and William Hewlett founded one of the most iconic high-tech companies in the world — Hewlett-Packard (HP). In his book “The HP Way”, Packard hinted that there was more at stake than just making money. At the very beginning of HP, he and Hewlett wanted to “direct our efforts toward making important technical contributions to the advancement of science, industry, and human welfare”. In other words, although they were establishing a business, Bill and Dave wanted to contribute more than just financial gain. They wanted to bring good into the world.

We can see this even more clearly by considering the case of Samuel Morse, developer of the telegraph. One of history’s greatest innovations, the telegraph changed the speed of communications overnight from that of human travel to virtually instantaneous. Morse knew that this would bring enormous benefit into the world, but also appreciated its true source.

Like all innovators, Morse would occasionally run into roadblocks. When asked how he handled such times, he replied: “I prayed for more light”, and said that God gave him the answers to his problems. According to Morse, “That’s why I never felt I deserved the honors that came to me from America and Europe because of the invention associated with my name… When the Lord wanted to bestow this gift on mankind, He had to use someone. I’m just grateful He chose to reveal it to me.”

The truth is that if developments in science and technology bring any good into the world, anything of true value, then their source is the Lord. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Imagine working with our hearts aligned to His, like Morse. In that case, working as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23) means more than just doing a good job, it means working in partnership to bring about the blessings He intends. Tool sets include prayer, discernment, and worship, in addition to computers, engineering, and business principles.

No matter the type of business, it must have a heart for bringing value to people, and everyone in business can participate in blessing. Let all work together to be His agents for blessing today.

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