Written by Mike Henry, Sr., Follower of One

Love At Work… It’s Not What You Think

Do you love your coworkers? Chances are, if you enjoy your work, you enjoy your coworkers. Going back to 1999, Gallup has polled people in their workplaces for their level of engagement at work. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman first wrote about employee engagement in their groundbreaking 1999 book, First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (Gallup, 1999). They asked twelve questions to measure how engaged people were in their jobs. Two of the questions measured how loved people felt at work. Question 6 was “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?” And question 10 was “Do I have a best friend at work?”

The Great Commandment

Jesus said the greatest commandment (Mark 12:28-31 NASB) was first and foremost that we should love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He then continued, “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31).

My neighbors have always been people at work. I grew up working. Often my job called me to leave the house at 6:30 in the morning and I would return home between 6 and 6:30 at night. So, my neighbors were always people I worked with. We even joked that during one period in my career, I left and came home in the dark. I felt like Batman. No one ever saw me unless I was in my Batmobile or at the office.

Love can mean a strong sense of affection, or it can mean wishing and working toward whatever is best for someone else. Paul urged the Philippians to consider others more important than themselves (Philippians 2:3 NASB). He went on to cite Jesus as the example (vs. 4-10). Jesus laid aside his position as God and became a human, even a baby, to a poor family in the middle of nowhere. He lived as one of us, yet without sin, for around 30 years before even beginning to talk about his role as our Savior. And then he went on to suffer the shame of death on a cross as a pauper, between two thieves. Even while we were against him, he was for us. Jesus even said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASB).

Give Love Away

Jesus set the example for us to love. His kind of love wasn’t a feeling, it was action. Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick wrote a song based on Jesus’ love for us, titled Give It Away. The lyric was, “love, isn’t love, till you give it away.” If you think of love as something pointed toward you, you’re not thinking about the kind of love Jesus lived. His love was pointed toward others. It was designed to be given away. Jesus’ love inspired him to give away everything for the best interests of people who didn’t appreciate him at all.

Questions to Ask

What does it mean to love a neighbor when that neighbor is a coworker? Let’s start with what it means to be a best friend. Do you think of them when they’re not around? Do you actively look for ways to bless them? Do you help them with their work? Do you know their family? Would you recognize their family members or even know their names? Do you know what their hobbies are or what their kids are involved in? Do you appreciate what they appreciate? Do you ever take your time and money and invest it in their lives, their passions and their interests? What do you give away because you appreciate them?

How would you encourage your coworker’s development? What do you do to help your neighbors at work find the energy and courage to take a class, give extra effort, or get ahead in their own career? Do you encourage others to take a chance? Do you know what your coworkers’ value, so you can encourage them to pursue their passions? When your friends have ideas, do you “help” them by pointing out all of the obstacles or questioning their judgement? Or do you help them find ways around obstacles, so they can move toward their goal? Do you help your friends believe they can reach their dreams, or do you help them accept the status quo?

Go Beyond Your Job Description

When I love my neighbors at work, I find ways to go over and above my own job description to work in their eternal best interests. Every time we do something for someone else, without expectation of return, we cooperate with Jesus. He is at work in the lives of everyone we meet, encouraging them to experience eternal life in his kingdom today. Jesus will use our love for others as a tool. He will show us ways to bless and serve others if we actively work toward their good.

And after we love them, we will find we like them, too. When we treasure our relationship with our friends at work, we will find our heart follows. Jesus wasn’t joking when he said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NASB). Jesus knows our greatest need. We find love when we give love, and we find life when we give life. Give Jesus’ love to others and increase your joy, in your life and in your work, too!

February 25 – March 1, join Follower of One on their Marketplace Mission Trip. Go to your own workplace every day, pray for your coworkers and join God at work. Learn more and sign up at https://www.followerofone.org/marketplace-mission-trips/marketplace-mission-trip-february-2019/.