Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself

Love at the Heart of Missional Enterprise

Valentine’s Day, celebrated tomorrow in many countries around the world, is traditionally a time for expressions of affection to those we love. It’s also a good opportunity to reflect on how love for God and others is at the heart of missional enterprise.1

Did you know that the legends of Saint Valentine give hints of how business can be used to show love for God and others?

Saint Valentine and the Redemptive Power of Our Work

Although the true history of the person we call Saint Valentine is unknown, we have hints from legends that demonstrate ways that he used his work redemptively.

According to one legend, Valentine was a priest who also worked as a beekeeper. He is said to have used the health-giving properties of the honey he produced and the redemptive experience of working with bees to bring healing to a young vision-impaired girl.

In another story, Valentine faced an ethical challenge when the third-century Roman emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of strengthening his army. Seeing the order as unjust, priest Valentine continued his work of performing wedding ceremonies in secret.

In our present-day enterprises, what does it look like to put God’s love at the center of the way we conduct our businesses?

Consider a couple of modern real-life examples:

The Metric for Success

An article from the Navigators, entitled “When God is in Charge of a Business: Sharing the Love of Jesus” tells the story of veteran practitioners of missional enterprise among unreached people. They described the primacy of love in their work in this way:

“God is teaching us that the only metric for success in the business world, or any other sphere, is love. We take the time to treat each person as valued and deeply loved by God.”

Click on the link to read the whole article.

Who is Your Neighbor at Work?

A second testimony comes from two men who both worked as senior executives at Apple. In the video linked below (part of the Faith & Co. series from Seattle Pacific University), Ron Johnson, who served as Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Apple, explains:

“You have to ask the question, ‘How do you love your neighbor . . . at work? Who is your neighbor at work?’ A neighbor is someone who happens to be in the walk of your life.”

Verse(s) of the Week:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39 ESV

Our mandate to Make a Difference in missional enterprise flows from Jesus’s command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Let’s ask God for increased strength to put love at the heart of our businesses.

1 Parts of this article are from a previous article posted in September 2022.

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