Saturday, February 21, 2009

Working with Imago Dei

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness....."
So God created man in his own image, 
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them

Genesis 1:26-27

Have you ever considered that we work with more than mere mortals?   CS Lewis put it this way:  "There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked with a mere mortal.... it is immortals whom we joke with, work with marry, snub, exploit..."    In fact, we work and interact daily with those who bear the image of God, even if they don't believe in Him.

How does this fact bear upon the way you conduct yourself with your friends, neighbors and co-workers?    You might want to think about it.    The quiet new employee who sits in the cubicle across from you is created in the image of God.   The unpopular project manager who has a reputation for being hard to work with,  is made in the image of God.   

This truth means that each persons life is sacred in some way.  The idea of "the sanctity of human life" isn't just a slogan for the cultural and political battle against abortion.   It's actually biblical truth that resonates in other areas of our lives, including our work life.   

More from CS Lewis on this - "Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses"

If you're a manager, does this fact make a difference in how you manage the employees under your charge?   Do you see them merely as "resources" or do you interact with them as "eikons", valuing not only their productivity but also their personhood?     

Do we interact with difficult co-workers aware of the fact that they bear the image of God and inherently worth of being treated with dignity?   Do we remember this truth when we may be in heated disagreement with them?
Do we recognize that those who are weaker in their performance at work are still deserving of our respect and forbearance because they are made in the image of God?  

What do you think?   More importantly, how do you work with Imago Dei?


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I think it is harder for me to remember this for the ones I work with that I do like and admire as workers even though they are not believers. Some are so hardened to the gospel that I cannot say anything - or so little that is seems as nothing.

I think particularly of my lab manager. Day to day we are there. We like each other; we work well together; we resect each other as colleagues. And yet, do I remember that he is God's and do I continually pray for him to recognize this? I'm afraid I would have to say no.

He allows me to be me. He doesn't roll his eyes when I say I am headed out for Bible study, but it is only such small comments that I can make. We have discussed it. He answers my, "well, have you considered" questions politely when there is a chance to "be salty". But, his rejection is so total. He grew up with a mother devoted to the Catholic church. He saw no life or truth in it so even took religion courses to see what she was so devoted to. But they taught the Catholic church (a Catholic college) and not Christ, so he rejected it all totally.

I remember to think of him as we plan my daugher's wedding, hoping he will come and hear the gospel. However, on a day to day basis, I think that I forget to pray for him in accepting him as he is, an unbeliever. I am lulled into sleep about his eternal destiny because we do work so well together.

Thank you for the wake up call.

Thanks for coming by the blog as well and your pithy comments. They arebalways appreciated.

Every Square Inch said...

Susan - Even if you're not always aware of the fact that your co-workers are eikons, it certainly sounds like you are doing all the right things, including and especially seeking to reach them with the gospel.

Ted M. Gossard said...


I like the thought of the sanctity of life embracing all of life. Certainly true. But can be a challenge in the work place at times.

I think we have to make "the Jesus Creed" a priority always: loving God and loving others. And like you point out here, that goes together since humans are made in God's image.

Anonymous said...

A very useful reminder for me as I start a new week, alongside some coworkers I don't particularly care for at times.

Every Square Inch said...

danielc - hope your week works out well. There are no perfect co-workers... as anyone who's worked with me will attest. :-)