My favorite tire store on the planet is Creamery Tire, just north of Collegeville, PA. WHY? All they do is tires, but they do “all things tires” with amazing service. Customers are in and out in fifteen minutes from the time their vehicle hits the service bay. Worker bees attack your car. Mounting and balancing are FREE. When was the last century you received such incredible tire installation? Oh, and lifetime repairs and rotating come FREE with every purchase. Did I mention I think they are absolutely the best tire shop—ever?!
I’m sure you’ve had the experience at some business—great service—and you tell everyone. Serving through our work is actually a rich, soulful concept. God’s original creation intention, when he placed the humans in the garden, was that they “work” it (Genesis 2:15). The ancient Hebrew word, translated in this verse as “work” is also translated across the rest of the biblical story as “serve” and “worship.” There is a thick service thread throughout all of God’s grand story. Isaiah 42:1-9 carries the same language, a prophecy of the Servant of the Lord. Matthew, reflecting on Jesus’ passionate healing work (yes, even his irreverent work on the Sabbath), insists that Jesus was the messianic fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic clip (Matthew 12:15-21).
Is it any wonder that the Apostle Paul correlated Christ’s attitude as essential to the life of a Christ-follower? He insists that Christ’s service perspective is vital (Philippians 2:3-7) and should deeply effect our actions in our workplaces. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart . . . it is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Most of us readily recognize that a superb service-orientation is smart business. Just review my rant above over Creamery Tire. What we might not as readily remember is that passionate service in our daily work matters for another big reason: When we serve with Christ-honoring passion, we reflect doggone deep discipleship. You are actually growing and living more like Christ, your Creator (Colossians 1:16-17).
On such biblical basis, Ken Eldred declares: “The real goal of business is simply this: to serve others to the glory of God. Note that this objective places one’s business activity squarely within the overriding command Jesus gave us for life—to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors—our fellow humans—as we love ourselves.” (The Integrated Life, p. 44)
Our service-orientation should be more than noble intentions and warm platitudes. I’ll suggest the following questions to propel your service to new places, both in attitude and actions. Ask these with your key team leaders in the coming days:
- What should we innovate, create anew and make beautiful by way of our workplace culture, in order to better serve others?
- What do I need to embrace that’s mundane and messy, but when I do this, it blesses people, connects them with God’s love, and they rise to a higher place?
- Where do I need to slow down—to re-think and re-format—what I am doing and how I am interacting with both people and tasks? (Am I blowing people off just to get my task-list accomplished?)
- How should my language & attitude change to be more loving and service-oriented? Beware of doing the right things with the wrong ‘tude.
One evening, after my wife had killed it fixing this amazing meal, I insisted on doing dishes. (It seemed like the right, serving thing to do.) ‘Problem was, I was tired and stressed, and before too long, I was rushing, slamming and bamming the dishes from the sink to the counter. Suddenly, Nanc’ put her arm on my shoulder, took the dishtowel from my hands and said, “I think someone needs a timeout. Let’s save the dishes.” Beware of doing the right things, even the service thing, but with the wrong attitude.
- How can my service EXCEL, to go to the next level? Who should I hire new and how should we supply training in stronger habits of service? Let service-orientation permeate all your planning, both short-range and long-term initiatives.
- How can what my business is doing serve to bring justice, make right a wrong, enact God’s will, and change darkness to light? A huge Jesus-style question to use at work: What’s the hurt—how do we work with God to heal that hurt? When we ask such a question in our workplaces, we can actually start to work with God’s agenda, to change disease to health, poverty to flourishing, sleaze to holiness, bondage to freedom, and even weeping and mourning to joy and dancing.
Your service at work is not just smart business. It’s doggone deep discipleship! Let’s follow Christ’s footsteps of serving. After all, “even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).