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The Child is Father of the Man

When I contemplate valuation theory, principles and techniques, I am so unimpressed by the mathematical rigidity of formulaic expressions of a largely behavioral phenomenon. I am waiting impatiently for the day when we can embrace behavioral economics and finance, and employ them with acumen in positing value creation.

This academic struggle, coupled with inspiration from Pastor John’s sermon this past Sunday, has given me pause for reflection on an ancient problem-solving, value-creation paradigm.

I am reminded of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. He was a simple carpenter who, as a teenager,approached a personal crises with a perspective that causes a finance professor two thousand years later to cogitate.

As a small child, it was determined by family that Joseph would marry the mother of Jesus, Mary. Throughout this childhood and early adolescence, he literally grew up with the woman he would wed.

In the year of his betrothal, as a young teenager, he worked feverishly to prepare a home for his soon-to-be bride. What does he get in return for his extraordinary labor? A pregnant financee who has some half-baked story about how God impregnated her with God’s son. Mary couldn’t come up with a better story? Immaculate conception? Are you kidding me?

According to Jewish custom,she should have been awarded Hawthorne’s “scarlet A” and abandoned to a life of scorn, shame and impoverishment. Joseph had every right to kick her to the curb.

But this teenager didn’t follow the established cultural rules. Instead, he applied a simple algorithm that changed the course of his life and world history. Instead of blowing his lid,Joseph deliberately:

1. Stopped

2. Asked

3. Listened, and

4. Obeyed

Joseph had a lot at stake, and Mary apparently blew it. The lineage took a serious blow on the day that Mary announced her pregnancy. Joseph was obviously hurt, shamed, and seemingly betrayed. But he had an inclination. So, rather than toss Mary to the wolves, he “thought on these things” (Matthew 1:20). He called a time out. He chilled. He waited patiently on the Lord.

Although scripture doesn’t specifically say so, I truly believe Joseph was asking a few questions. “You got pregnant how? Why me? I have been a good guy. I have done that which is required of me. God, tell me it ain’t so…”

I love Joseph. In the middle of this crises, he dozes off in faith…and he listens, while an angel of the Lord gives him the low down on how his life is going to become very interesting, very fast. Yesterday, I read a business parable entitled The Go-Giver. One of the principles of this little book was that enlightenment comes through listening. This was certainly true for Joseph.

The scriptures then say that Joseph woke up from his dream and did as the angel of the Lord commanded. He followed instructions. In my senior capstone course this past fall, I was struck by the frequency of seniors in college who deliberately and repeatedly disregarded instructions. Their lives would have been so much easier and the outcome of their efforts so much more meaningful, if they had just simply followed instructions…Joseph got it!

I am wondering if we could institutionalize Joseph’s simple problem-solving paradigm. What would happen if our places of employment would stop, ask, listen and act accordingly when faced with significant problems?
Two teenagers figured it out. Why can’t we?

2 comments (Add your own)

1. John David Mann wrote:
Dear Tim — What an honor to have our little book included in your contemplations! An interesting conjunction of language, by the way: you’re writing about the gentle power of Joseph’s listening … and curiously, the point about the power of istening is made in our story in a vignette of a young man named “Joe” listening to his wife! (Although she is not named Mary in our story!)

Many thanks. Love your site. (I especially enjoyed your professional association with God’s greatest nautical creation.)

~ John

Thu, January 12, 2012 @ 4:46 AM

2. Tim Moffit wrote:
Thank you for your kind words, and I genuinely share your passion for excellence and the written word. I look forward to your future, visual utterances via the simple media of nouns, verbs and basic modifiers.

Thu, January 12, 2012 @ 4:46 AM

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