"If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
The primary concern of the Church, and thus the Christian as an individual, is not the social welfare of families, communities, races, or nations. What must have primacy though is the glory of the Lord and thus the declaration of the Gospel from every venue available while still maintaining the integrity of the message. Furthermore, without humility to undergird our passion for the Gospel, our passion for His glory, then all our efforts are reduced to intensity devoid of clarity; in other words to a blinding flash without form.
So, one may yet ask, how is this applicable to the arena of commerce for the Christian? Well, this is how, in that we understand the call and necessity of unity in the body, that which upholds the roof of unity, and finally that which upholds the superstructure itself.
Firstly then, the call emanated from the heart of the Apostle Paul, that his joy might be fulfilled. He immediately sets about to identify the resources that unity requires in the Christian life, those being the consolation or encouragement found in Christ, the love, and the fellowship of the Spirit; indeed that which attests to our salvation. In fact, Paul goes so far as to literally connect the presence of these objective realities with the yielding or outcome of unity in the body. That these things being so, being true, that if they're really present, then so will these others. Consequently, one might say that Paul is saying that if one is a partaker of the consolation in Christ of love, affection, and mercy that he will in turn manifest those characteristics which are the catalysts for unity in the body -- those being a like-mindedness, and a unity of spirit and purpose.
Also, we see in the connection which Paul makes that unity is not presented as an option for the Christian, as an extra precept to the code of conduct which we possess. Rather, he proffers it as that to which we are called to by the very nature of our being in Christ, of being regenerate, of those in possession of the fathomless riches found in Christ. Therefore unity becomes a consequent, a necessary augmentation to our pursuit of Christ and His glory.
Secondly, this unity that we are to be possessed of and to therefore display is found and rests upon humility. And it is humility which will serve us the most in the pursuit of unity and in turn, His glory; that preference of one another which disregards our own needs for the sake of others. Christ said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." This is humility in action, it is this love for one another which will most effectively serve our pursuit of His glory, the declaration of His Gospel.
Lastly, you are still more than likely in pursuit of the answer to the aforementioned question, what does this have to do with me being a Christian employer or employee? Well, it is in this way that unity and humility in the Body of Christ are essential to the Christian's interaction with the world; we have true peace to offer. Especially in the context of the most recent tragedies which have befallen the world. We have world leaders and others calling for peace and harmony among the nations and even religions and what is our response to such a convocation; it is in Christ that peace will be found and in Him only. We cry loudly that man as he presently is will do no more than to perpetuate, to progress in war and destruction, in iniquity, in inequity. It is man himself that must be changed (John 3:3-6) for only in Christ are the necessary resources for true unity found. So when those discussions arise, as they most surely will, as to what is the Christian response to terror, to fear, to evil in all its forms, this is it then, that we are to declare to them what Christ declared to the man who asked a question of abstract theology without possessing a new nature, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." (Luke 13:23) In other words, their question must be answered with a query into the state of their relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior, if such a relationship as such exists at all. When they ask a question of morality, we must respond with one of *ontology; they seek to deal with today whereas we must deal with eternity. Therefore, as Paul said, so I do, if any consolation is found in Christ, any comfort of love, any merciful affection, any fellowship in the Spirit, make my joy complete, being of one mind and spirit, one purpose, preferring each other more than yourselves. That we might rightly display the inadequacies of all systems of philosophy, of all religions and loudly proclaim the adequacy of the person and work of Jesus Christ. That we might be determined as Paul was, to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified among the people we know and have befriended.
May the peace of God be richly yours.
Adam Bennet, Cook
*ontology - the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such