I have been studying a little in Matthew 5-7. If you are familiar with this passage, you know that this is also known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This “sermon” from Jesus is so full of meat, you could write a whole book on what we should learn from it. Today, I want to focus on a couple of verses that teach us to stand out from the crowd.
Have You Stopped To Think?
Much of what Jesus teaches is contrary to what the world teaches. What I want to look at today is not revolutionary at all. At the same time, I wonder how many of us have stopped to think about how we apply this aspect of Jesus’ teachings to our businesses or jobs. Maybe today’s post will help you do just that!
To start, let’s take a look at the Scripture that I want us to consider.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may show yourselves to be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
Focus on the Spirit of The Passage
When you first read this passage, you were probably focused on what Jesus was telling us to do. Commands like “love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” stand out because they are hard to live out. In fact, many of us feel like these are asking too much from us. I know I have felt this way.
While these are certainly good points to ponder, I want to step back a little. Rather than focusing on the specific commands, I want to look at the spirit of the passage, the intent. While I am not trying to minimize the commands, I think there is another idea here that might be useful to apply to our jobs and businesses.
Look back at the passage and read it again. Note the following phrases…
…show yourselves to be sons of your Father…Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?…what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
Pay Attention To The Patterns
Typically, when we see patterns of repetition like this in Scripture, we need to pay close attention. Repetition is often used to communicate a specific point, one that we need to heed.
In this case, the point I see is that we are to stand out. Beyond the specific commands to love and pray for our enemies, I think the bigger message is that as disciples of Jesus, we are to stand out from the world. It is not enough for us to do good things that others in the world do. We must go beyond and stand out!
Does Your Business Stand Out?
Let’s take a moment and think about this idea in the context of our business. Does our business stand out from those around us? Do we stand out from our colleagues in the way we handle customers – especially those difficult ones that no one wants to engage?
Do our working conditions stand out from other businesses? Do our benefits stand out? Is there a marked difference between the employee satisfaction in our business or team versus that of other companies around us? Do we smile more, have more fun, rise above hardship with more peace, etc. than those around us?
If not, why not? How hard is it to smile as much as everyone else? How hard is it to provide the same benefits and working conditions as everyone else provides? Is it really that tough to be just as good, nice, patient, etc. as those without Jesus?
Stop And Think
I encourage you to think about all of these questions. Think about them and apply them to your current situation, whether you are a business owner, leader, or employee. How can you stand out?
In addition, I want you to think about WHY Jesus calls us to stand out. What is His purpose in asking us to stand out and how should that purpose impact our actions? We will look at this in my next post.
How well does your business stand out?
What can you do to stand out more?
What are the downsides to this approach?
Photo by JeremyRichards / iStock