03 Feb #054 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Love—Loving Generously—Being “Godly”
ESSENCE: Being created in the image of God is not just a great t-shirt slogan–it has important implications for how we live and what we need in order to be fully human. Embedding the Biblical principle of love your neighbor in the culture and heart of an organization is essential to faithfully “doing right”, because it is essential in order for each person in the organization (and each person the organization touches) to be fully human by being “Godly”, which itself is essential in order for them to flourish. Faithful presence creates an environment of Shalom conducive to “mirroring” God in work, relationships and purpose.
Keep First Things First means going back to Biblical first principles, and we are looking at the “Generosity Priorities” embedded into Integriosity®—Love and Humility. In the last post, we asserted that the second great commandment to love your neighbor is essential to an organization faithfully “doing right”, and we dug deeper into how James Hunter’s concept of faithful presence was the best way to understand how to love others generously in the context of an organization. At Integrous, we also believe that embedding the Biblical principle of loving others generously into an organization’s culture is central to cultivating an environment that is conducive to people living out Imago Dei–becoming more fully human by acting “Godly”.
Love in Organizations–Being “Godly”
In Post #47, we explored an important lesson from Creation–Imago Dei–each human is created in the image of God. Being created in the image of God is not just a great t-shirt slogan–it has important implications for how we live. It means that in order to be fully human, we must live out our God-mirroring characteristics. In his book My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes “The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness.”
There is one Biblical passage in which humanity is commanded LITERALLY to mirror God–to be “Godly”–in a very specific way. The command came from Jesus in John 13:34:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
There are several ways in which embedding faithful presence in the culture and heart of an organization is conducive to its people (and, as an assembly of people, the organization) expressing Imago Dei and expressing more fully their humanness:
- Love Like God. Faithful presence is living out the commandment to love your neighbor, and John 13:34 tells us that this is mirroring God.
- Be Covenantal Like God. In presenting faithful presence, James Hunter notes in To Change the World that it “generates relationships and institutions that are fundamentally covenantal in character“. The God of the Bible is a God of covenant.
- “Build for the Kingdom” Like God. Hunter also asserts that faithful presence will have an impact on the “ends” of relationships and institutions. He says those ends will be “the fostering of meaning, purpose, truth, beauty, belonging, and fairness—not just for Christians, but also for everyone.” That sounds like Part Four of the Four-Part Gospel–Restoration. Embedding the Biblical principle of love your neighbor in an organization through the theology of faithful presence represents and facilitates mirroring God through partnering in the restoration project for His Kingdom. It will create an environment of Shalom in which people touched by the organization can experience their full humanity by mirroring God in “building for God’s Kingdom”.
The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. (Oswald Chambers)
In Post #47 we introduced a quote by Jeff Van Duzer that is helpful to repeat here:
When humans engage in creative, meaningful work that grows out of relationships and gives back to the community they become more deeply human.
At Integrous, we believe embedding the Biblical principle of love your neighbor in the culture and heart of an organization is essential to faithfully “doing right”, because it is essential in order for each person in the organization (and each person the organization touches) to be fully human by being “Godly”, which itself is essential in order for them to flourish.
We believe it is time for “business a better way” in alignment with Biblical values and priorities such as LOVE–it is time to begin faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity®.
SPOILER ALERT: These last two posts have focused on the Biblical principle of LOVE from the standpoint of “loving generously” through an organization. The next few will look at why God’s purpose for work and organizations also calls for “loving by serving”.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): I first became aware of the meaning and importance of “covenant” relationships during a talk by Tim Keller at the New Canaan Society National Retreat in 2008. It was the biggest NCS retreat ever–the keynotes were Tim Keller AND Rick Warren. Keller spoke about the difference between “consumer” relationships and a “covenant” relationships. Keller explained that in a consumer relationship the most important thing–the end–is the individual satisfaction of each party, and the relationship is a means to that end. If the relationship stops meeting the individual needs of a party, they move on. By contrast, a covenant relationship is one in which the most important thing–the end–is the relationship itself, and a party will sacrifice individual satisfaction for the sake of the relationship. Keller lamented that all the relationships in our culture that used to be covenant relationships, including marriage (i.e., “till death do us part”) have become consumer relationships (e.g., no-fault divorce).
I saw this distinction in action when my wife and I visited a “marriage” counselor in 2004. I asked her views on marriage and divorce. She told us that she believed marriage was a “contract” that was fine as long as both parties felt it was meeting their needs. However, if one party was no longer experiencing the desired benefits from the contractual relationship, then it made sense to dissolve the contract through divorce. We left and never returned. We were created in the image of a covenantal God who created marriage as one opportunity to be more fully human by mirroring the character of our Creator. We have a choice–choose “Godly”–at work and at home.
As you ponder John 13:34, I hope you will take a few minutes and listen to this song by Graham Kendrick–he captures beautifully what we are COMMANDED to do.