According to Stevens and Ung the opposite of the deadly workplace struggle of greed is the fruit of goodness – the cultivation of a character that gives rather than takes.
Whereas greed speaks of the passion to possess, goodness speaks of, ‘… someone who gives rather than takes, who shares rather than hoards.’
How can we cultivate the fruit of goodness in our workplaces? How can we be people who enrich the lives of others? The authors give four suggestions as to what it might mean to firstly be rich towards God so that, secondly, we can invest in the lives of others:
- Invest in the kingdom of God: ‘Kingdom work creates new wealth, alleviates poverty, brings well-being to people, embellishes and improves human life, and battles against organisational structures propped up by greed.’
- Embrace the purpose of God:’Human beings are invited to share in God’s work … What makes work “Christian’ is not the religious character of the work but the fact that we perform the work with faith, hope and love.’
- Treasure the priorities of God: ‘… use your money in ways that build lifelong friendships.’
- Hunger for the presence of God: ‘We are to love God more than anything else, treasuring God more than anything else.’
Think about your workplace – how could you exercise goodness there this week? Maybe start with Thomas Aquinas’ seven spiritual deeds of almsgiving. Are there people there whose lives you could enrich by giving one or more of the following?
- Instruct the ignorant – is there someone who needs to learn a new process?
- Counsel the doubtful – is there someone who is tentative or discouraged?
- Comfort the sorrowful – is there someone suffering distress or bereavement?
- Reprove the sinner – is there someone doing the wrong thing who needs loving correction?
- Forgive injuries – is there someone whose actions or words have hurt you?
- Bear with those who trouble and annoy us – is there someone who is a ‘pain in the neck’?
- Pray for all – who are the keep people you can pray for on your workplace frontline?
Next time: Persistent Gratitude (Chapter 20)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010). Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans