Welcome to a whiteboard session at The Center! Today, we are covering a big question: did you know you were created to glorify God, even in your daily work? Do you know that your business is supposed to glorify God?
Your work and business are supposed to glorify God. That’s a big and lofty statement. Many christians know this, but have a hard time making it practical.
First, here’s some inputs to our purpose. The Bible says that all things are from God, we have the power to do them through God, and, ultimately, everything is for God. To Him be the glory forever (Romans 11:36). That’s what it means to glorify Him — to put everything to His use and use everything for His purposes. It’s your reason for being and everyone is made to do it.
Our next input is a Venn diagram. Businesses love Venn diagrams. Jim Collins, in his book Good To Great, had a groundbreaking Venn diagram, and this diagram puts a redemptive and biblical twist on that diagram.
First, the main purpose of the business is to serve the needs of the world. Where do we get that? Well, there’s a verse where a man asks Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” and Jesus responds by saying, “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Later, in his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul repeats this message when he says, “The entire law is boiled down to one word: love your neighbor as yourself.” So in a sense, that is love.
Love is meeting the needs of the world, meeting the needs of people. You all know someone who has needs. Recently, through power outages and storms in Memphis, we saw a lack of water and power. People were suffering because of that, but people suffer like that around the world.
Mission Meets Needs
Within a business context, that’s what your business does. Businesses identify and meet the needs of people. Collins said, “Business is to serve the needs of the world.” One example is 3M. They were created to serve problems and needs. In other words, they were built to last. So, we see that great businesses serve the needs of the world.
So, great businesses have a mission or an opportunity. When you think about your strategic planning — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Your strengths are used to meet a mission or opportunity.
Missions are to do good, and missions have only existed in business for about 50 years. Businesses borrowed that from the army and the army borrowed it from the church. Jesus commissions people to go and make disciples, to go and do likewise, to go and do what Jesus did.
Some examples of missions are Coca Cola. Their mission is to refresh the world and make a difference. Well, the world needs refreshing and the world needs difference-makers. Their annual report is very exciting in how they are actually doing that. It’s not just about numbers and returns, it’s about impacting the world.
Nike, I think, it's pretty funny that at one point their slogan was, “to crush Adidas,” and now it's much more mission-centric. Now, their mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.” That's pretty good. You can see how it's missional and consistent.
Next, if it's meeting the needs of the world, it's doing it for all stakeholders. So to glorify God by meeting the needs of the world is to put your mission to put your gifts and resources toward all stakeholders. You do that easily for customers to “wow” them and over deliver. We do that for customers, but we also do that for employees. In fact, if we do it at the expense of employees, it doesn't last long. It's like the Golden Goose that gets cooked — it can only lay so many eggs.
We have to meet the needs of employees, and the best organizations take care of employees so the employees will take care of customers. Then, stakeholders are also investors. I think one reason we see so much about numbers is because we've made promises to public institutions like Wall Street, and so we have to do well.
Even suppliers are stakeholders. If we treated every employee and every stakeholder and every investor the way we treat customers, that would be a good rule to serve the needs of the world. So that's how that works.
Now, how do we make it even more practical day to day? Here's how you do it: you use the gifts and strengths of the organization towards the needs of the world.
Gifts are to be deployed. What gifts do you have? Individually, we cover at The Center all the time that people have gifts, and we use the Working Genius. People have gifts of wonder, invention, discernment, galvanizing, enablement, and tenacity. Those are gifts, and when the whole team works together with their gifts, it’s going to meet the needs of the world because we're made differently; so we deploy strengths but also our collective experiences and mistakes.
All these things are gifts. Things that, if you use them well, are meeting the needs of the world — moving it toward a good purpose.
The next section of this Venn diagram is means and resources. These are things that are neutral. We utilize them, whereas we deploy things that are personal and are about people. Resources are inanimate. For example, money is a neutral means, but we utilize it for the needs of the world and for the glory of God. It's neutral because it can be used for good or evil, but when it’s not being used it’s neither good nor bad.
Jim Collins helps us again when he said that, “Money is necessary for business. It's like blood, oxygen, and water for the human body. It’s absolutely necessary, but too much is bad.” Too much is bad; when we overuse a natural resource, we're no longer utilizing it. We're now manipulating it.
Think about that as it applies to corporations. The ultimate goal can't be money. Sure, it helps the needs of the world, but too much is bad for the needs of the world.
So we utilize things like money and natural resources. Whereas we deploy the gifts of people and teams. When we use means and resources in conjunction with gifts, we love people by serving their needs. That’s why I would argue that at the middle of this diagram is Jesus. Jesus is the greatest need of the world. Jesus is the greatest gift you can have, and Jesus is the greatest means by which needs are met. The sacrificial love of Jesus is the center of this diagram.
You see, it’s in the most basic activities of life and work that God is glorified. Redemptively meeting the needs of the world glorifies God.
We're going to end this one here, and dive a little deeper in the next whiteboard session.
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