Mutuality matters (part 1)

At a faith, business and development meeting last month hosted by SEED, there were some excellent vignettes. One thing that stood out was a point on mutuality. (Ed: This is using the term in its basic English form, rather than as a synonym for egalitarianism)

The forum made the point that mutuality in business is a thoroughly Christian principle. It demonstrates the values and principles by which we are called to live in the Bible. But what does it actually mean for the business environment?

Mutuality is defined as the sharing of a feeling, action or relationship between two or more parties. It is sometimes applied as a principle of mutuality - of standing together on common ground. The phrase is non-sensical without a clear definition of what we're applying mutuality to. For example, common English uses the phrase "a mutual hatred" but clearly that isn't what is being advocated here!

Paul and Peter emphasise the need for mutuality and apply it to a range of Godly traits, emphasising it through many "one another" statements.

  • Let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:19, in the context of avoiding things which cause division and quarreling)
  • Make every effort to add... mutual affection... (2 Peter 1:5-7, as we are called to live a godly life, avoiding being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ)
  • You and I may be mutually encouraged by each others' faith (Romans 1:12, recognising we can help each other by encouraging each other in terms of what God is doing through us and in us)
  • there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal (mutual) concern for each other (1 Cor 12:25, recognising that God puts the body together and ensures those who are weak, less honourable or unpresentable are given special treatment)
  • ...make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)

Which leads to some questions:

How does missional business ensure that others are valued above ourselves?

How does it look to the interests of others? How does that relate to the owner's (or shareholders') interest?

How do we apply mutual upbuilding and mutual encouragement in this context?

More in the next in this series...