I have a neighbor who is a very good handyman. A while ago, he did some work for us in the house but seemed to be very grouchy and out of sorts. When I tried to help or give a suggestion, he got frustrated and snapped back.
A good executive is not a boss—he is a servant! Jesus wasn’t just trying to teach His disciples humility when He said, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”1 A good executive simply is not a dictator. He listens to his employees. When the top people don’t communicate with those under them, then of course they don’t understand them or their problems. When that happens, they’re headed for trouble!
At the time Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, he was languishing in a Roman prison, yet in his introduction, he describes true happiness not as him being released, but as the Christians there having loving, harmonious relations with one another. Then he goes on to describe how they can do that:
For nearly 20 years, I’ve been with the same team running an NGO in the former Yugoslavia. “A marriage!” some people have commented. Yes, in a way it is. It has required many of the attributes and choices that a marriage calls for.
We build our work with our attitudes and actions day by day. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind if we want to excel in our jobs.
I was recently fascinated to read how scientists learned how to make more effective waterproof products such as raincoats and airplane parts by studying the ridges on butterfly wings. It struck me that I also could learn something from nature, and I began researching fruit trees.
I absolutely love avocado! Along with being delightfully delicious, it is a versatile fruit. Not to mention that it’s outstandingly healthy—one of the best sources of natural oils and many vitamins.
The Bible is a rich storehouse of spiritual and practical advice, and examples of strong relationships are one of the recurrent themes. In fact, Martin Luther commented that the entire Christian life consists of relating to people around us.1
So what can we learn from the Bible about how to succeed with people?
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
—Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NLT
Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.
—John 15:15 CEV
On a recent day off, I spent the better part of the day at the zoo. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a zoo. Animals are fascinating and a lot of fun to observe, and I learned some interesting information. What I noticed, too, which I don’t recall feeling as much when I was younger, was sadness because of the animals’ lack of freedom. I’m confident they are being well cared for at this particular zoo; but can any cage, however spacious, ever measure up to the wide-open spaces of their native habitats?