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Putting Others First

February 19th, 2009

“Workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.” Proverbs 27:18 NIV

“With appreciation and enthusiasm, work hard to make your boss look good for hiring you.”

My thoughts today are about “putting others first.”

A major proportion of your life will be in the marketplace. Approximately one-third of most days will be spent at work, and for most of us taht will mean working for and with others. Let me share some advice that will help you make that a good experience for you, and make you a blessing to others.

There is an old – very old – saying that advises, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.” How about a barrage of clich├ęs that suggest the same thing – “Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs,” or “Be sure you know which side your bread is buttered on.” There is a reason that brief snippets of advice stay around long enough to become very old sayings; they succinctly capture some colorful and practical wisdom. They offer good, common sense.

Today’s thoughts very much include the issue of loyalty. I have come to prize loyalty in personal and professional relationships, and with each passing year that is even more true for me. My Dad’s advice to me as a young minister was that I should be loyal to whomever I worked for, faithful to my work while there and loyal to the one who allowed me that opportunity, while there or when gone. If ever I could not be, his advice was that I should thank them genuinely and work elsewhere for someone to whom I would be loyal.

He taught me the practical truth of today’s verse, “workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.” I have found that true. Besies being the right and honorable thing to do, it is just practical wisdom to look out for the interests and favor of the one who directly impacts your own best interests. You have to be loyal to be receive loyalty from others. It is very true in life – for the good or bad – that you will reap what you sow, but in greater measure. See Galatians 6:7-10 NIV.

I can recommend my father’s counsel to you as well. It was wise and it works, two very good things. I have never had to leave a place or person in order to remain loyal, but I would have if the situation had occurred. I have known one or two who worked with me that I wish had known and followed that advice. They would have been happier and so would I.

It is shortsighted to do or say anything that would damage the business or people that you work for. Your well being and prosperity is directly tied to theirs. If you cannot be true to the person God is using to supply your living presently, others will see that as ingratitude and think less of you. Work hard to make your boss look good for hiring you. If he looks bad, you will too. Don’t contribute in even a small way to that happening. “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.Ephesians 6:7-8 NLT.

Here’s God’s advice, “In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also look to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:3-5 NIV. Jesus modeled that perfectly and invites you to follow His lead.

How do you do that? It’s simple and practical. In honor give preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:10-11 NKJV. When we were together, a gracious and senior friend and I made a “game” of trying to be the first to open any door for the other when we were together – usually quoting that verse, “in honor, preferring one another.” I learned much from him about respect, honor, and honest humility across the years of our friendship, not because he demanded those things, though he could have, but because he demonstrated those qualities of character and loyalty in his attitude, speech, and conduct consistently. I learned from my friend Campbell about putting others first.

My prayer for you is that wherever you work they would want you to do so again.

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