Mary Kay Ash, the American businesswoman famous for the cosmetic empire she created, is quoted as saying, "Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, 'Make me feel important.'" I expect that if we all followed this suggestion in our businesses and workplaces we would sell more products and services, enjoy our jobs far more, make a lot more friends through our workplace experiences, enjoy a much richer reputation, and really bless the Lord... all at the same time. It seems to me that many of the problems we encounter (or create) in the marketplace are a result of low self-esteems, defeated spirits, and/or negative attitudes that could be attributed in many to a very low evaluation of self-worth.
Personally, I find that on Saturdays when I am working the phone in sales and customer relations at the automobile dealership, that many of the people who originally had no interest in buying a car there suddenly find a renewed interest when they are showered with a generous measure of "you are important and valuable as a person, whether you buy a car here or not." In the course of one of Jesus' workdays, a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery was brought to him. Her accusers were out for blood and planned to prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law (by stoning her to death). You know the story. (John 8:1-11) If there is a person in the New Testament who had a low self-esteem it must have been this woman. Her self-worth must have been zero. It is probable that she had little to no clothing as they dragged her out into the streets. All that said, Jesus treated her like a precious little lamb and protected her from her would-be executioners then pardoned her for her sin. With a sense of expectation as if He really believed she would go back and not continue to live this way, He sent her on her way with the challenge to, "Go and sin no more." (v.11) I'd bet that woman felt pretty special when she returned home to her family and friends!!! Her life would never be the same; how could it? Jesus had just made her feel like the most important person on the planet!
Here are a couple of things to consider...
- Imagine that every person in your work-path today has that sign around their neck: "Make me feel important." Most of them, indeed, have it; it's just that it's invisible.
- Understand that the man or woman you encounter at work today may not deserve the esteem and love you heap on them. The woman referenced above didn't. You and I didn't either, but Christ made us to feel this way with his personal love and grace!
- There was nothing "in it" for Jesus; He simply esteemed her because He wanted to bless her. It was all about His character, not hers. The way you and I manage others in the marketplace is not really about their character but it speaks volumes about yours and mine! And if we only bless others who are blessing us, then what (pray tell) have we really done for the Kingdom? (See Matthew 5:46-47 for a strong word from Jesus on this.)
This is going to be a great workday as you and I read carefully the signs around co-workers, customers and clients necks and respond accordingly! Work hard with great sensitivity and compassion for others; then go home, relax, and worship the Lord!