Read: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
Reflect: I’ve been leading people professionally for much longer than I’ve been following Christ. That sounds a bit backwards, I know. The military gets you started early, though, and I was a late bloomer in my faith. Besides dumb luck, I can attribute much of the success I’ve had in my work to a simple lesson I learned early in my career from a mentor: “Insist on seeing everyone around you as a person.”
It sounds pretty basic, right? Of course we’re all people. But when you become intentionally mindful of just how often we treat others in our work life as obstacles or resources or barriers to our own needs, you begin to see how rarely we treat people in our work as people. But when you insist on seeing your boss or your colleagues or your employees or customers as live, three-dimensional people with goals and desires and hopes, with fears and burdens of their own, you find that you not only lead better, but you follow better as well. You give better service and make more effective products. All aspects of your work life benefit by treating others as people.
Later in life I realized that this lesson is really just a different version of Jesus’ teaching to love your neighbor as yourself. Practicing it is a powerful way to bring obedience out of Sunday and into the rest of the week.
React: Start where you are. Be mindful, and ask yourself this question: “In my interactions, am I treating those around me, even at work, as Jesus taught us to?”
Pray: Lord, help me be mindful to find and follow your path in my work. Help me to see others as you see them.