Here's a provoking piece from Boundless that applies to anyone working in a group context, whether in the marketplace or a volunteer activity. It is about how to grow in Christlikeness in an environment that often is thought to be separate from such concerns. The author is Dr. Bruce Winston, dean of Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship.
I had to face this question 15 years ago during a church service at a time in my life when I was teaching management to MBA students. I realized that morning that, while I was an openly Christian professor, I kept the Bible for Bible studies but relied on the traditional textbooks for teaching and for my own management of 20 school employees.
During the sermon the pastor stated the Great Commandment to love God and love people. I was struck by how much "love" was an action word and that it spoke of how I should live my day-to-day life. I was sure I understood how to love God, but I found myself wondering how I could love my employees and my peers in the workplace.
Finding love in all the right places
I decided that if I was going to "love" employees and peers during the work week, then I needed to start with what I had learned on Sunday. I knew of the Greek words typically translated as "love" — Eros, Phileo, and Agape — but none of these seemed applicable in the workplace.
Not seeing a workable solution from the three forms of love, I went back to the New Testament and looked for something else. I found a form of love —Agapao — that surprisingly I hadn't heard of before. It's the most common form of love in the Greek New Testament and seems to emphasize a "moral" love — doing the right things for the right reason at the right time.
I found that Agapao is derived from the same root word as Agape but the modification of the word significantly modifies the meaning. This is similar to the differences between "waterfall" and "waterway" — both have the same root but if you do on a waterfall what you do on a waterway you're in for a problem.
Now that I had discovered the right concept to help me know how to love my neighbor, I went to work trying to figure out how to apply it in the workplace.
At about the same time of my insight into Agapao I heard a presentation on the beatitude "Blessed are the meek" and how we all need to be meek. I couldn't imagine telling our MBA students to be meek — we had been teaching them to be aggressive in business, assertive, and so on. I wrestled with the dilemma: If I'm to apply Scripture to my life, then I have to put all of Scripture to all of my live. Including my work as a manager and as a business professor. I wondered if perhaps I didn't rightly understand the Beatitudes.
What I found in the years since I first started studying the Beatitudes, I'm happy to say, showed me how to love others and how I should live my life, regardless of the context. I found the Beatitudes remarkably applicable to how one manages a business, how one manages employees, but also how one walks out life outside of the workplace.
[Read more on Boundless.org.]