I recently joined the Thomas Nelson book review blogger. It allows for me to read new books from Thomas Nelson as long as I review them online. For my first book I chose “Obstacles Welcome” by Ralph de la Vega. I thought this would be a good book for most reader of this blog as it was business book by a Christian publisher.
Ralph de la Vega is the CEO of AT&T Mobility, which in itself is a strong recommendation for a business book. The book focuses in on six major obstacles he had to overcome in his life and how he allowed them to mold him into the person he is today. The stories are interesting drawing you into de la Vega’s life. Interspersed through these examples, he weaves in business principles that are important for the business minded individual. He uses charts and lists to allow these principles to be driven home. There is also a strong encouragement from de la Vega to give back.
As a business book, this is good. It is not the most entertaining or the easiest to follow, but de la Vega is someone who has accomplished a great deal by the main principle of not running from challenges but viewing them as opportunities. His story is very admirable.
Unfortunately, this book should not be on a marketed as Christian. No where in the book does he draw in the leading of the Holy Spirit and gives the encouragement to put work over all else. In one example he said, “between work and the studies, there was little time with my family. What kept me going was the doors I knew it would open to me…” Elsewhere he says sacrifice happens all the time in business. You do it because you “believe there’s a better future for you, and hopefully for your family, in doing so.”
This is a very common business approach to life. I felt it while I was getting my MBA, and there are seasons where this may be the case. This should not be the norm. The order is God, family, then work. Sacrifices are not made to improve your work situation. Sacrifices are to be made when God leads you to them. The rationale of this mindset is that if you can earn enough then you will be better off.
This rationale is a lie. Money is not the answer to all things. The truth is that the more you trust in God the better off you will be because the Creator of the Universe who loves you extravagantly will take better care of you than money. We need to get our priorities straight.
Getting an MBA was definitely a sacrifice for my family, but we felt very strongly God led us to it. Therefore we trusted Him through the process–not in the promised larger salary on the other side. Sacrifice will be required at times, but that decision should be made with your spouse directed in prayer.
In conclusion, “Obstacles Welcome” is a good business book. For those in business or wanting to improve their leadership skills, this book will be helpful to you. The idea that adversity in your life is an opportunity to grow is an important truth to know and walk in. But ultimately climbing the corporate ladder is not a sign of success. The sign of success for the Christian is doing the best you can in what God called you to do. Only God has the right to tell you if you are a success. It is His affirmation we are hoping for, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”