DSC_0109“No man is an island.” English writer John Donne made this assertion in 1624. It is a truth that has stood the test of time. No man (or woman) can survive, separate from the human collective. This has been proven by science, and witnessed day by day in our own lives. We cannot live an abundant life without others. So, why do we try?

First, we try to live in isolation because we are taught that being independent is a sign of maturity. We are taught to stand on our own two feet. It is the strong man and woman that don’t need anyone (e.g., John Wayne). We are encouraged to be the captain of our own ship, failing to realize that everyone else is being taught the same.

Of course, the truth of the matter is we find more abundant life when we live in community. Ironically (and this is a huge point), the true sign of maturity is becoming dependable – while continuing to depend on others. The Jewish community is so successful in business because this is their way of life.

Secondly, relationships are hard work. Ask anyone that has taken on a business partner. It is difficult to have a partnership when ships don’t normally have two captains – unless those captains discover how to work together. As an Enterprise Architect at SunTrust Banks, I was constantly working on teams – and it was incredibly difficult. Why? Because, in that culture, we were motivated by competition, not cooperation. It makes me sad to think back on the loss of productivity in those teams. We could have accomplished so much more in a cooperative culture.

Marketplace Ministry Tip: Identify who God has put in your sphere of influence to share in your marketplace adventure. Consider that He is motivated to assist you in developing strong relationships with others – peers, partners, employees, other businesses (John 17:20-23). The productivity and abundant life you will find is well worth the determination and courage it will take to forge successful relationships.