The international accounting giant, Deloitte, recently spent over $300 million educating its 50,000 American employees about its purpose. This sounds a little touchy-feely for the world’s largest audit, tax and consulting firm. They spent so much money in this way because they determined that companies that instill a strong sense of purpose in their people enjoy greater long-term success. Deloitte felt confident that instilling a sense of purpose in their own people would better position them to do the same for their clients.
In Deloitte’s own words:
“What companies do for clients, people, communities, and society are all interconnected. A culture of purpose ensures that management and employees alike see each as a reason to go to work every day.”
When paraphrased for families, wouldn’t it be equally true?
“What a family does for its members, neighbors, community, and society are all interconnected. A culture of purpose ensures that parents and children alike see each as a reason to contribute to the family every day.”
But how exactly does one go about infusing businesses or families with a sense of purpose? One of history’s most profitable and enduring enterprises is surely the people of Israel. Lessons can be learned from its launch.
…thus said the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 9:1)
And Pharaoh’s servants said to him…Let the men go, so they may serve the Lord their God; don’t you realize yet that Egypt is destroyed?
…Pharaoh…said to them, Go, serve the Lord your God, but who exactly is going? (Exodus 10:8)
And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds…
[Pharaoh said]…go now only you who are men and serve the Lord; because that is what you wanted to do…
And Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds stay…
God planned to take the entire people of Israel out of Egypt—the young, the old and the middle-aged along with their material wealth in the form of livestock. Pharaoh’s courtiers advised him to placate the God of the Hebrews by releasing part of the people, the men, males between twenty and sixty.
Considering that advice, Pharaoh asked Moses to clarify exactly who would go. Moses answered unequivocally that it would be everyone as well as their possessions. Pharaoh tried to limit the group to the men by arguing that only they are needed to worship God. Moses rejected that offer and inflicted more torment upon Egypt. At this point, Pharaoh made one last attempt to prevent an intact people launching their destiny by trying to restrict their economic freedom through retaining their livestock. This offer was also rejected and after the final plague, an Israel left Egypt with all its population and all its possessions.
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that Pharaoh knew that Egypt was finished. His goal was to prevent Israel from becoming a powerful nation that would dim the luster of his legacy. The best way to do that would be by depriving this incipient nation of its past (the elderly), of its future (the young), and of its economic vitality (the animals). Pharaoh correctly knew that a bunch of people whose focus was only on today would soon be gone and forgotten.
This is manifestly true for a family which gains its sense of purpose from its past and from its future. A home filled with the rambunctious noise of little children while also possessing the seasoned presence of wise grandparents automatically is fueled forward with a sense of purpose.
Likewise, a business is propelled forward by a sense of purpose gained by making its past and its future just as important as its present. Expanding its employees’ vision to encompass everything from its founding to its tomorrow makes their work today more satisfying and successful.
Few sections of Scripture are as well-known and underappreciated as the Exodus. These chapters are not only the story of Israel’s redemption thousands of years ago, but they also hold many keys to our individual redemption from difficult, stressful and trying times. We recorded Let Me Go: How to Overcome Life’s Challenges and Escape Your Own Egypt so that we could share these strategies, providing hope and direction. Available by mail or instant download, we pray it will bless your life.