For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
– Galations 1:10
In considering this verse it did not take long for me to draw parallels to my work life. I have responsibility over a large number of employees who are in place for the purpose of meeting the mission of my organization. You are hard pressed today to pick up a book on leadership and not see the importance of caring for and development of your employees. Part of that thinking is that “a happy workforce is a productive workforce” (I put it in quotes because I am sure someone said it – if not, I just did). This certainly makes sense and today we see this played out in ways no one would have dreamed about 50 years ago.
Google is a great example of this philosophy in action and is one of the most sought after places of employment today. An employee at Google has access to breakfast through dinner at no cost – right there in the workplace. They not only serve you the food, but they pick you up from home in their own bus to get you to work. And don’t forget your dog Skippy, he can come along and join you for the day. Need a few months off to climb Mount Everest? That can be accommodated. Don’t worry, when you get back to work you’ll have a massage waiting for you to soothe those tired muscles!
Of course, this is not just one big free ride. It all is intended to ultimately achieve the company’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Oh, and I would be remiss to leave out the $16 Billion they made along the way in 2013.
Meeting the mission is the primary driver for any organization. While a productive work force is key to achieving that, organizations frequently need to make decisions which do not always please all of their employees. I personally have experienced this in an organization which has had to make significant changes due, in great part, to forces outside of our control. I have found that I cannot prioritize pleasing people ahead of meeting the mission.
When we focus back on Paul’s mission in Galations, the stakes are much higher than any organization – they are eternal and driven by the ultimate CEO, God himself. There is no room for compromise of scripture in order to please people. How would Paul respond to the condition of the church in America today? How does your life reflect on these truths? As a servant of Christ I must be unwavering in my commitment to the mission laid out before me in scripture. While I need to demonstrate the love of Christ to a dying world, this cannot come at the expense of watered down truth; and ultimately means I will find myself alienated from much of the world around me. There is one Gospel. There is one truth. The least loving thing I can do is hold the full truth of scripture from my unbelieving neighbor or even the brother sitting in the chair next to me at church.
We need to embrace a sense of urgency in our own lives to abide in Christ and commit to striving toward obedience to the fullness of scripture. It is then that the Holy Spirit will be our guide to do all of these things beyond the limitations of our own wisdom and strength. Because I find myself this morning falling far short of righteousness, I embrace the encouragement of Paul….
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 3:14-17
I pray we will press on today in Christ to further our mission to a world in need of Him.