Zeke Hernandez is one of the highest-rated professors at the Wharton School of Business, where he teaches courses on global strategy. In this excerpt from an All In podcast episode, Zeke discusses why he believes that drawing on divine help in our professional lives will help us reach our full potential.
This excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Pearson: Zeke, how would you say that the gospel perspective on light and knowledge we read about in Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 has shaped your approach in your work, especially as you teach students?
Zeke Hernandez: I had a realization that God wants us to work not just to provide and be self-sufficient. There was a really wise man on my mission who actually wasn’t a member of the Church, and his motto was “work is service.” I think he was spot-on. Our work, what we do every day, is one of the arenas in which we serve other people.
The gospel informs our everyday professions—if we approach our professions as one of the arenas in which we serve. For me, teaching future business leaders is a great opportunity to serve them by bringing to my classes the best, the most cutting-edge knowledge so that they’re using true principles in what they do. It also informs my research because I feel a desire to research topics that are useful and practical for the world. I’m trying to bring to bear the best that science can offer.
The other dimension to that answer is that I really believe strongly that it’s not just that our jobs are a big part of how we serve the world, but that God is willing to guide us as much in our professional endeavors as He is in our gospel or church or family lives. We serve all of those arenas. And so I think He gives us light and truth in the professional aspects of our lives as well as in our “gospel” lives.
One great example of that is our prophet, President Nelson. I mean, he was an incredibly competent, world-famous heart doctor. And not just as a surgeon, but also as a researcher. One of the stories he’s shared often is about how he received divine inspiration when he was developing an artificial heart.1 And he talks about how the scripture that “all kingdoms have a law given” unto them really inspired him to learn the laws that govern the human heart (Doctrine and Covenants 88:36). He felt that there was divine help that he could draw on in that really important part of his profession. And that’s the model that I’ve tried to follow in everything I do.
Now, I’ll finish with a disclaimer. I’m not trying to claim that everything I do or everything I teach is flawless or divinely inspired. I think human knowledge progresses in fits and starts. Sometimes we get things right; sometimes we get them wrong. We discover a theory or evidence that supersedes outdated knowledge. So it’s not that we get it perfectly, but I think the direction matters, that growth in truth and knowledge matters. And why not try to seek divine help in our endeavors?
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of LDS Living magazine. Find past issues as well as learn how to subscribe for inspiration straight to your mailbox at ldsliving.com/magazine.
1. Sheri Dew, Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson (2019), 48.