I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 12:2-3

 

Hopeful Helping Hands - painted handprints on a wall

God blessed Abram so that he might be a blessing to others. Similarly, we who serve in positions of leadership have also been blessed so that we might bless others through our work. In yesterday’s Life for Leaders edition, I began to consider those whom we might bless, focusing on the people who directly follow our leadership. If you’re leading a company, for example, you have the opportunity to bless those who work for you.

Are there others whom leaders have the chance or even the moral obligation to bless? Yes, indeed. We might think of those who are served by the organization we lead. If you are in charge of a business, for example, you can bless your customers through the goods and services your company provides. If you oversee a nonprofit organization, your constituency should be blessed through the impact of your leadership.

I realize that talking about blessing one’s business customers might seem a little peculiar, even self-serving. But, if a business delivers a good product at a good price, if customers are served graciously and faithfully, then there is a sense in which they are truly blessed through the company. Of course, the blessing is mutual because customers are essential to the flourishing of a business.

I have seen this sort of business relationship firsthand through my association with the H.E. Butt Family Foundation in Texas, the mothership of Laity Lodge and The High Calling, where I worked for seven years prior to joining Fuller Seminary. The family that funds and oversees the work of this foundation owns the HEB Grocery Company, the largest grocery chain in Texas with well over 300 stores. Because of my association with the Butt family, I was especially aware of how my friends and neighbors felt about the company. What I learned was impressive. HEB customers have an extraordinarily high degree of appreciation for the company. In fact, during my seven years in Texas, I never heard one negative word about HEB. What I did hear was accolade upon accolade. Why? HEB customers received excellent value and outstanding service from the company. Moreover, HEB was generous with its charitable giving, donating 5% of its gross annual profits to local charities (not including the extraordinary generosity of the company’s owners).

God gives us leadership opportunities and blesses us with what we need to lead so that we might bless others, those who work for and with us as well as those who benefit from whatever our organization produces or does. The more we think of our leadership in these terms, the more we will be encouraged to steward well the blessings we have received from the Lord.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Does it make sense to you to think of a business as blessing its customers? Or is this overly idealistic?

Can you think of examples like that of the HEB Grocery Company, where customers are truly blessed through doing business with the company?

How does your leadership lead to blessing for your customers or constituents?

PRAYER:

Gracious God, as I exercise the leadership you have entrusted to me, may I be a faithful steward of your blessings. May those served through my work be blessed as a result of my efforts.

Help your people, Lord, to build businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations that bless those whom they serve, for the sake of your purposes and glory. Amen.

 

Photo Credit: Hopeful Helping HandsCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Matt Katzenberger.

 

This post originally published on September 18, 2015.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryCelebrating the Life and Legacy of Howard E. Butt, Jr.