22 Dec #100 – Integriosity – Restore – World Beautified
ESSENCE: We believe beautiful was God’s design when He created everything and declared it “very good”, but business as usual and work as usual are often accompanied by an ugly cost to God’s creation, including people. RESTORE is the fourth and final step in the path of Integriosity.® It is about seeing the bigger WHY’s of work and business materialize and manifest in an organization that has been RE-IMAGINED and RE-ALIGNED with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities based upon a RENEWED understanding of God’s purpose for work and business. One of those bigger WHY’s is Beautifying the World. The fruit of faithfully “doing right” through business a better way–the fruit of Integriosity–is to partner with God in his restoration project for His Kingdom. We believe that God’s restoration project is a beautification project and that by pursuing Biblical priorities of relationship, community, human dignity and the flourishing of people and communities, an organization and the collection of people it represents can “add to the beauty” of the world–bringing it a bit closer to God’s design and plan.
Our last four posts have looked at how faithfully “doing right” through business a better way RESTORES, including in our most recent post how it Humanizes people. We also believe that organizations, businesses and work have the potential to Beautify the world–or uglify it (yes, that is actually a word). We like a quote from the late Barbara Bush about how we should approach life:
And as you go, find a way to make this world more beautiful.
RESTORE: The Two Choices–Beautify or Uglify
Everything we do–particularly every human interaction–can only do one of two things: (1) make the world at least a tiny bit more beautiful, or (2) make the world at least a tiny bit uglier. (Neutrality is a possibility, but missing an opportunity to beautify isn’t beautiful). We believe beautiful was God’s design when he created everything and declared it “very good”:
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
As you read the description of the New Jerusalem that is coming–God’s Kingdom on earth–in Revelation 21:10-11, beautiful is the word that comes to mind:
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
In between the beauty of a garden and the beauty of a gleaming city, God blessed us and left us with a command–the Creation Mandate.
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
He made us in His creative, productive and relational image (Imago Dei), gave us a perfectly imperfect world, and then told us to take care of it and make it flourish–make it even more beautiful! It is worth repeating the words of Tim Keller that we introduced back in post #046. In his book Every Good Endeavor, Keller says that with the Creation Mandate, God was “commissioning workers to carry on his work“. Keller goes on to explain:
The word “subdue” indicates that, though all God had made was good, it was still to a great degree undeveloped. God left creation with deep untapped potential for cultivation that people were to unlock through their labor.
We are called to stand in for God here in the world, exercising stewardship over the rest of creation in his place as his vice-regents. We share in doing the things that God has done in creation—bringing order out of chaos, creatively building a civilization out of the material of physical and human nature, caring for all that God has made. This is a major part of what we were created to be.
So everything we do–every human interaction–either brings the world a tiny bit closer or a tiny bit further from God’s design and command.
How are we doing? We have certainly brought the garden much closer to a great city, but our beautification has been mixed with, and tarnished by plenty of uglification (yes, that is apparently also a real word). In the work context, we described in some very early posts how business a usual has contributed to this uglification (#007-Work is Broken; #008-Workplaces are Broken; #009-Workers are Breaking).
And as you go, find a way to make this world more beautiful. (Barbara Bush)
RESTORE: How Integriosity Beautifies the World
By their very nature, work and organizations of people working together can add to the beauty of the world by creating opportunities, goods and services that help people, families and communities to flourish by meeting their needs or by restoring brokenness.
But business as usual often brings that beauty with an ugly cost to God’s creation, including people. That ugly cost may be reflected in the dehumanizing way people are treated when Profit as Purpose is the goal of the organization, or in a lack of responsible stewardship of non-financial capital such as natural capital, social capital and human capital.
Faithfully “doing right” through business a better way is focused on maximizing flourishing–putting people as the end and profit as a means. An organization faithfully “doing right” SERVES people internally by providing opportunities for individuals to express aspects of their God-given identities in creative and meaningful work in a culture of Shalom built on Biblical principles of relationships, community and human dignity and SERVES people externally by providing opportunities, goods and services that enable families and communities to flourish and by creating a culture of Shalom conducive to the flourishing of ALL people it touches, including owners, vendors, customers and communities. That is adding beauty to the world.
We have also noted the wonderful way in which humanizing and beautifying create a virtuous circle–the promotion and facilitation by an organization of flourishing internally serves to promote and facilitate further flourishing externally and the promotion and facilitation of flourishing externally serves to promote and facilitate further flourishing internally. For example, by SERVING through the creation of goods and services that beautify the world, an organization increases the sense of BIGGER PURPOSE felt by its employees, thereby facilitating humanizing. Similarly, by SERVING through the creation of an organizational culture of Shalom built on Biblical principles of relationships, community and human dignity that humanizes its employees, an organization facilitates flourishing of its people that leads to better physical and mental health, better family relationships and stronger communities, thereby further beautifying the world.
We believe that by pursuing God’s priorities of relationship, community, human dignity and the flourishing of people and communities, an organization and the collection of people it represents are partnering with God in His restoration project for His Kingdom. It is time to begin executing “business a better way” in alignment with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities–it is time to begin RESTORING by faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity.®
SPOILER ALERT: In our next post, we will finish our description of Integriosity by exploring how faithfully “doing right” through business a better way RESTORES by Glorifying God.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): Several years ago, I sat with two friends and we thought about a way to describe “doing good” that would capture everything and resonate with everybody. We settled on “beauty”. Who can argue against beauty? While it is most often used to describe artistic or visual elements–a beautiful painting, a beautiful sonata, a beautiful poem, a beautiful sunset–it also captures characteristics of a person’s demeanor and personality–“inner beauty”. Justice is more beautiful than injustice. Grace is more beautiful than judgment. Humility is more beautiful than pride. Fairness is more beautiful than unfairness. Generosity is more beautiful than selfishness. Integrity is more beautiful than duplicity. I think God wired us to recognize and value beauty. That brings me back to a few quotes from Dr. Skip Moen in our last post.
I can move toward God’s design innately implanted in me, or I can move away from His design, forging a self-made creature fashioned by lesser purposes. I am equipped to manifest God’s design. He has insured that I lack nothing necessary for this project.
[W]hen I let my ferocious energy serve myself, when I use it to acquire my own destiny, then something disastrous occurs. I create without God – and the result can only be unholy.
We can seek first God’s Kingdom and unleash our innate desire for, and ability to add to, beauty in the world, or we can seek first our own kingdom and unleash all the ugliness that comes with that choice. I choose beauty.
Although I added this to an earlier post, here again is a wonderful song by Sara Groves called Add to the Beauty.