Loving Thy Neighbor in the Next Cubicle

29 Dec

Screenshot 2014-12-23 09.48.10When Jesus spoke about loving thy neighbor there were no cubicles in enclosed buildings where people spent 40 or more hours a week in close proximity with people who were not in their family. Surely He wasn’t thinking about the cubicle farm where I work, with row after row of mind-numbing regularity and people who grate on my nerves like fingers on a chalkboard! First century Palestine had nothing in common with modern business culture, right?

The thing about Jesus’ teaching is that it is not bound by culture or timelines; it is for all times and all cultures. As He passed the marketplaces with their stalls filled with goods, where family members would argue with one another over the placement of merchandise, squabble over who got the most sales, and repeated the ancient refrain of “it’s not my job,” perhaps He saw through time to the cubicles of 21st century commerce and pressed forward with His message of Love Thy Neighbor!

Through the story of the Good Samaritan we learn a broader definition of neighbor. Jesus wanted His followers to see that “neighbor” is less about geography and more about mindset. And He wanted to emphasize love over respectability and propriety. Our calling is to do the will of the Father, just as Jesus did while He walked the earth. Our calling is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39).

Although the term “Golden Rule” is not used in the Bible, the concept of treating others the way we want to be treated is the practical living out of “the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 7:12)

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

And what do you wish others would do to you? Treat you with respect. See you as a person. Provide opportunities for you. Be patient with you as you learn. Act kindly toward you even when you disagree. Not judge you without getting to know you. Ask you to contribute. Forgive you when you make mistakes. Listen to your ideas. Pick you up when you’re on the side of the road, clean your wounds, and see that you’re looked after until you’re back on your feet again.

Loving your neighbor in the next cubicle, on the job site, behind the counter, across the phone wires – this is what we are called to do. It’s not easy: it takes determination and commitment. The best way to get started is to begin praying for those you work with. Get to know them and their needs & motivations. Serve them. Help them to succeed.

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