“To have love as the guiding principle of our lives means that our continual mindset in all we do should be “What will serve the other person?” So writes Matt Perman in his excellent book, What’s Best Next. “It is not ‘What will serve me?’ but ‘What will serve them?’ The guiding mindset of our lives is to be: how can I do good for others? How can I benefit my neighbor?” Here are six practical pieces of counsel:
- Have real goodwill toward the other person. “Motives count. The essence of love is having real goodwill toward others–that is, truly wanting the best for them and delighting in it.” (Phil. 1:15-16.
- Put the other person first. “This means finding out what others need and making those needs your priority, not your own….Putting the interest of others first involves finding out what matter to them. It is not loving to impose our own grid onto others!” (Matt. 20:26-28; Rom. 15:1-3).
- Be eager in meeting the needs of others, not begrudging and reluctant. “If love is genuine concern for others, then we see that things done from love are done joyfully and eagerly, not backwardly and reluctantly.” (Titus 2:14)
- Be proactive, not reactive, in doing good. “Don’t simply wait for needs to come your way. The Christian ethic is to be on the lookout to identify needs proactively and then take action to meet those needs.” (Mark 12:31)
- Avoid a self-protective mindset and take pains to do good for others. “We are to do good even it if requires a sacrifice on our part. Radical generosity, not self-protection, is the Christian ethic (Matt. 5:42; see also the parallel in Luke 6:32-36).”
- Be creative and competent in doing good, not lazy and shoddy. “If we are about serving others, then we need to be competent in serving them because incompetence does not serve people. For example, if you are helping a friend remodel his kitchen, and you cut corners, will that serve him? You are making things easier for yourself at his expense; instead of going through the trouble to do it right, you are making something that will work less effectively for him down the road, transferring the burden from yourself to him (which is the opposite of Gal. 6:2).
If you like to read about work, productivity, and life mission, then I recommend you consider reading What’s Best Next. It is uniquely and thoroughly God-centered.