1 Corinthians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Some time back I was sitting in my home office praying about how to be successful in ministry and business at the same time. The challenge for me was how I was supposed to keep them separate, since one is free, while the other is, well, a business. During this time I felt the Lord showed me my kitchen faucet. I heard Him say, both hot and cold run through one opening, the same happens with you.
This helped me see everything we do as Christian entrepreneurs is for the Kingdom of God.
So if everything we do is for God, then we should be doing all things in love.
Now the word love has taken on a different meaning over the years and in society. I’m talking about the Agape love of Christ. The hard part for me was I had been taught there was no room for love in business, it was a sign of weakness. I have discovered how wrong I was!
Let’s look at some examples of how we can show love in all the things we do with the acronym L.O.V.E.
Every great leader is first and foremost an even better follower. As believers we should all be following the will of God for our lives and the lives of the people we are assigned to lead. We must let every conversation, order, correction, and demand be done in His love. As the leader in our homes, we deal with each other in love. This means correction does not bring judgment along for the ride. Anger doesn’t become our calling card. Outside of our family, leading in love is about our intention. Am I in business to make a lot of money, or to serve as many people as possible?
Proverbs 23:4–5 tells us “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
Instead of chasing money we should chase serving people. Jesus gave us the perfect example of a Servant Leader when He washed His disciples’ feet. We should find the best people for the role and put them in positions to succeed. This does not mean you should be a pushover. Love based leadership requires us to be clear about expectations, the impact to the team and business if the assignments fail to be completed, and finally the repercussions if poor performance continues.
II Timothy 2:15 tells us “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
If we are going to operate from a place of love, then we have to be open to giving and receiving love. I tend to be a private person, so initially I found this to be harder than I thought. We all walk around with public personas or masks. A mask is a representation of how we want people to see us. But if we are going to walk in love, then we need to be transparent to the people we are serving.
We also must be open in our giving, meaning we are giving without any expectation of anything in return. While many of us learn to become good givers, learning how to become good receivers can be tough. Receiving often means we must be honest about the struggle we are experiencing. What we don’t realize is by being open and honest about our situation, we are often helping someone who is also going through a similar situation. By openly sharing we can be a testimony of how we are being made better throughout our journey.
How we see ourselves and others determines how well we can share love. If I don’t see myself as valuable, how can I truly love others? In my book, From Crackers to Caviar, I introduce the idea of what we see goes through the filters of our minds. So whatever hurts, slights, insecurities, or prejudices we have experienced over the years affect how we share love.
We are told in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Another interpretation says we are His masterpiece! So if we are the best thing He ever made, then we should start to see ourselves and all people from this perspective. See ourselves and others as special and let’s treat them with the same love our Father desires to treat us.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. We must be able to see a person’s situation from their perspective, not just ours. Looking through the filter of our minds can lead to us become judgmental.
Earl Nightingale tells us, “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
Now empathy does not mean adopting the other person’s feelings. It is more along the lines of being able to relate or say, “I see where you’re coming from.” You can only look at another person’s situation if you are comfortable looking at your own. Being able to use your own situations as points of reference is critical. God does this by taking us through situations so we have a personal experience. I’ve said the beautiful thing about serving in the Kingdom is you only have to go through something once to be able to lead others through the situation.
Empathy is vital to being able to impact lives in a meaningful way. Think about this the next time you are faced with a situation, and consider how you would want to be treated by others, and our King.
There are so many more thoughts I want to bring out, but let me finish with this.
Don’t worry about how to show you love people and just commit to doing it!
Everything else will work out!
About James R. Cooper
James R. Cooper is a Business Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Maxser Consulting Group, LLC, Pastor of Restoration International Christian Ministries and author of From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development. James is on the board of several non-profit organizations and is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. For more information about James, book him to speak at your next event, seminar, or workshop, go to www.fromcrackers2caviar.com.