Brand is a common term in the marketplace. Perhaps too common to the point of becoming a buzzword. At the heart of any brand, personal or corporate, is typically the notion of reputation. What people think and say about you is esteemed highly because it will make or break you in your industry and beyond.
Or so they say.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:3-8 ESV
This passage presents an interesting conundrum for us as believers in the workplace, where the predominant message is to build one’s brand as a means to success. It’s human wisdom that sounds great on the surface but is in complete contradiction to the nature of Christ who lives in us.
Where does that leave us? Do we abandon every semblance of branding as Christians? I don’t think so. However, we do need a significant shift in our axis. From being self-centred in our branding to Christ-centred. Where our careers and our businesses are driven by God’s agenda and not our own.
Are we trying to build platforms or altars? Are we working to gain followers or to be disciples? Are we falling in love with self, or dying to it?– Becky Johnson
If we truly consider ourselves to be part of the Body of Christ, a Body which Christ is the Head of, then it should be Christ who dictates our every move at work. His headship isn’t just for “church” stuff. It’s in our submission to His Lordship that we are able to tap into the grace to function in every area of our life, particularly our careers and businesses.
This means that we take on the nature of Christ and all that He embodies. It begins with humility – the right estimation of ourselves and others. Based on who God says we are.
It looks like selfless service. We struggle to serve when we do not have love for those we’re meant to serve. Love, not as defined by the world, but as exemplified by Christ on the cross. It is a dying to self – where you represent the interests of others above your own. When God gives you a revelation of who a person is – even that person who’s a pain to work for/with – you’ll never look at them the same way.
It takes obedience to a whole new level. Jesus was “obedient to the point of death”. Remember, He was the long-awaited Messiah that the Jews had all sorts of expectations and plans for. But here He was, lowly enough to ride on a donkey and surrendered enough to allow death to have Him for a moment. Not the hero they’d wanted, but the Saviour they didn’t even know they needed.
The NKJV version of Phillipians 2:7 describes Jesus as a man of no reputation. It’s not something that happened to Him – He made it so. If He was in today’s marketplace, He’d be trending every other day (if not daily) for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing with the wrong people.
Does your reputation here on earth matter more to you than your testimony in the heavens?
Are you ready to be on the wrong side of human history if it’s the price you have to pay for being on the right side of God?
Are you willing to lay down your ambitions and your accolades to take on the assignment God has for you? Even if it means that you never experience reward here on earth?
I can guarantee you that if you allow Christ to brand you in the workplace, the world will think you’re a fool. Darkness has no ability to understand light.
But light doesn’t need to be understood to function. It just needs to shine.
We just need to shine. Whether God places us in the corner office or the back office. Whether we have flashy titles or not. Whether anyone ‘important” is looking.
Shine for God’s glory.