“We love each other period.”
Today I’m gonna get a little biblical on you. I hope you don’t mind! I think many of us have thought about this core value and have reassured ourselves that we know what it means. The core value itself is something that we agree we should follow within our organization. It teaches us that we love whoever is part of this family no matter what. This is true, but that’s just the start of it.
I am here to tell you today that it means so much more than this. In the Bible, Luke tells us about the story of the lost son, also known as the prodigal son. In this story, a very wealthy man has two sons. The man has much land, money, gold, cattle, pigs, and many servants, among other things. Of course, as is customary, this man was planning on leaving an equal inheritance to both of his sons when he passed.
Then, one day, he was approached by one of his sons who did not want to wait for his inheritance and wanted it all right away. Instead of arguing, the father showed love and compassion for his son and gave him what he had asked for. The son then took the money, traveled to a faraway land, lived a life of excess, and squandered it all.
There also was a famine during this time in this faraway land, and there was very little work to be found. The only work he eventually found was feeding pigs in the fields. He was not treated well and did not even eat as well as the pigs were eating.
He realized that what he was doing was similar to what his father’s servants were doing, and they were being treated very well. He was immediately overcome with guilt over what he had done and what his life had become. He decided to travel back, apologize to his father, and ask if he could work as one of his servants.
The father saw the son approaching from a far distance and immediately ran to him. He put his arms around him, kissed him, and expressed his joy and love for his son. The son started to apologize to his father and asked if he could be one of his servants. He had mentioned to his father that he didn’t even feel worthy enough to be called his son anymore.
Instead, the father called his servants over and instructed them to put fresh clothes on his son. He also instructed them to kill the fattest calf and prepare a feast to celebrate the return of his son. He was proclaiming, “My son was lost and now he is found!”
Now let’s talk about the other brother. As he finished working in the fields and walked toward the house, he heard the music and dancing. He asked one of the servants what was going on. The servant replied, “Your brother has returned, and your father has instructed us to have a celebration.”
This angered the other brother, and he refused to go in. His father went out to meet him and asked him to come in. The son explained to his father why he was so angry. He said to him, “All of these years, I have been loyal to you, and I have worked hard, and I never left you. Throughout all those years, you never had a celebration for me at all.”
The father replied, “Yes my son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Your brother was lost, and now he is found. Please let us celebrate!”
This particular story doesn’t continue. We never really learn whether the angry brother decides to go in and celebrate. I always wonder that, but this story also always makes me think of our core value “We love each other period.”
Together, we have built a beautiful organization here. In our home office, in our offices around the world, and in our sales field, we are all like family. It’s beautiful to see the love across different genders, religions, ethnic backgrounds, etc. Although it can be hard to love each other, as long as we are all still together, we generally do a good job.
This gets harder, though, when people decide to leave. Throughout our 20 years, we have had employees leave for other opportunities. We have had our salespeople do the same. This, of course, can bring on different emotions. Maybe some of us have felt differently about someone after they leave our family, but I’m here to remind you today that this core value lives beyond someone’s time here.
Once you are a member of this family, you are always a member of this family, no matter what. You can leave here, you can disparage us, and you can even steal from us or even compete against us. But you will always be our family, and we will always love you period!
I am very aware that this is not easy to do, but I’m asking all of you to consider having some compassion for others, just like the father in this story. None of us know whether the father ever succeeded in changing the mind of the angry son, but we do know that the he tried. That’s all you and I can do, and so we should.
Thank you for reading this week, and may God continue to bless you and your family every day.