As an expert marketer and businessman, my job is to help potential buyers see the value of purchasing one particular product or service over another product or service. Ultimately my goal is to position what we offer as a better alternative to the competition. This is usually done through marketing and sales communication, using simple compare and contrast language.
Compare and contrast refers to the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. When it comes to business, this use of marketing and sales messages get the buyer to compare my offering to a competitor, and then contrast my offering showing why it’s a better alternative. It’s the tried and true marketing strategy and as I’ve dug into life of Jesus I see He used a similar tactic when communicating.
Connecting Business to the Bible
In John 10, we see Jesus using a similar compare and contrast mechanism during a discussion with His disciples. In this teaching where He calls himself “The Good Shepherd”, Jesus says…
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come so that they can have a rich and satisfying life”. (John 10:10 NLT)
Using allegorical shepherding language, Jesus refers to Satan as “the thief”. He tells His followers that the thief’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy everything that is good. In return, Jesus invites His listeners to compare as He says, “But I…” Then Jesus begins to share His contrasting offer that extends a life that is rich and satisfying.
The contrast couldn’t be more stark as the kingdom of darkness is the opposite in every way to the Kingdom of Light. Satan seeks to steal, kill and destroy everything. Jesus seeks to give generously, restore, and build up the people and environments around Him.
Becoming Like Jesus
If we are followers of Jesus that means we are to imitate him and if you are in business, naturally a great follow-up question to ask yourself would be, “How can I give generously, restore, and build up in the context of my business?”
To help you measure how well you are succeeding with the above question, we have a provided a few questions for you to reflect on as it relates to you and/or your business.
- Are you giving versus taking from your co-workers?
- Are you serving your employees or expecting them to serve you?
- Are your customers a means to an end? Do you have their best interests in mind?
- To what degree does your company serve and put others first?
- Does interacting with your company bring people joy?
- How does your product or service improve people’s lives?
- How does your company invest in and develop employees, both professionally and personally?
- Are you quick to dismiss a difficult employee or customer, or is resolution your priority?
- Do you foster a healthy working environment?
- Are you regularly saying and demonstrating “thank you” to your employees, staff, and customers?
- Do your employees, co-workers and customers feel appreciated?
- What do you do that empowers your employees?
Of course there’s probably not a a one size fits all answer for everyone, but hopefully these questions can move you closer to living like the Jesus in the work context you find yourself in.