Neighbour-love: Experiencing the ability to meet the needs of others and to contribute to their well-being
Neighbour love brings to a conclusion this trilogy of thoughts from Stevens and Ung. ?We’ve looked at the soul-sapping struggle of envy?and it’s corollary, the life giving fruit of the Spirit, kindness.
Now we turn to the outcome that characterises a life where kindness has overcome envy in the daily machinations of workplace life – neighbour-love.
Here’s a challenging question posed by the authors: “Wouldn’t it make a huge difference in my workplace if I made it my goal to find creative ways to love and bless my co-workers, bosses, and staff on a daily basis?”
One of the themes that keeps recurring in my reading on the intersection between work and faith is the concept of ‘human flourishing’.
Mark Greene uses the term to describe the conditions God had created in the Garden of Eden – a place designed for human flourishing and destroyed by the fall. ?The concept underpins his new book?“Fruitfulness on the Frontline” in which he explores how Christians generally can create opportunities for human flourishing wherever God has placed them (BTW – you can get a copy of the book [$14] and the DVD [$16] from Malyon Workplace).
For an excellent discussion of the concept of human flourishing, read this article by Steve Garber of the The Washington Institute for Faith, Work and Culture.
So while envy tries to tear people down and diminish their prospects, kindness and neighbour-love work towards the best for others, to build people up, to see them succeed. In short, to see them and the organisations they work for flourish.
So how can we do that? Four suggestions from Stevens and Ung:
- Care for people within the organisation: ? It sounds trite but we are to value our colleagues first as people, not as units of production or the means of getting our work done through them. ?This means all people – not just the like-minded but also, and expecially, the marginalised and shunned. ?’In a workplace where there’s little time to relate with one another, we seek to create a hospitable space where we care enough to listen to our colleagues’ personal challenges.’
- Show tough love when it is needed: Sometimes showing love, Christlike love, will not mean silence but speaking out to the poorly performing employee, the overbearing boss, the misbehaving colleague. ?‘The underlying principle is that we do whatever it takes to benefit others, not ourselves.’
- Care for resources within the organisation: As good stewards, we will care for the tangible (e.g. photocopiers, office space, paper) and intangible (e.g. reputation, values, vision) resources of the organisation. ?In all our actions, we will try to serve rather than control the people around us.
- Care for people and resources outside the organisation: All sorts of opportunities present themselves here – corporate social responsibility, customer care, supplier loyalty and so on. ?All expressions of our love for others motivated by God’s love.
So back to the question,?“Wouldn’t it make a huge difference in my workplace if I made it my goal to find creative ways to love and bless my co-workers, bosses, and staff on a daily basis?”
How might that happen in my workplace this week?
Next time: Restlessness – the desire to run away (Chapter 8)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010).?Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.??Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans