Money isn't evil. It is, in fact, necessary in our world. It is the planet's medium of exchange. It is how we assign value to objects ranging from cheese to autos to investment instruments. It is the love of money — greed, avarice, selfishness, and acquisitiveness — that both Scripture and common sense vilify.

There is a group called "The Great Place to Work Institute" that studies companies and what makes some of them more desirable places of employment. The most recent findings were published just recently. Good wages for one's work mattered. Other factors such as low turnover, health-care benefits, and the like were also named — as you would expect. So, yes, it is about the money. But it is also about some things money can't buy.

All the highest-ranking companies are reported to have three things in common: employees trust the firms' leaders, take pride in their companies, and have a sense of camaraderie with their fellow workers.

All of us have read the headlines about mismanagement, scandal, and betrayal in the workplace. Maybe those stories made companies that are led by decent people to write and enforce strong ethical codes. Perhaps it has caused them to put compliance officers in place. But there are other studies I have seen that suggest having a written code of ethics is not a reliable indicator of a company's moral culture. Trust is generated when men and women treat others with respect, show personal integrity, and are transparent in communication.

Pride in the Company:
This has to do with the belief that one's work is making a difference. Our product or service matters to people. It contributes to making the world a better place. Because we do what we do, others can do or have things that make their lives better. Who wouldn't take pride in that?

The culture of a workplace can be hostile or friendly. It can make going to work something to dread or to welcome. Even if the task at hand is tough and still has unresolved problems, the fact that we are "in it together" makes a difference. We are friends. We are guarding one another's backs. We are trying to get something done together — not competing with one another.

I'd never heard of "The Great Place to Work Institute" before. Its report makes sense, though, and paints an alternative picture to some families and churches I have seen — not to mention companies.

These positive traits don't pop out of nowhere.
These positive traits don't pop out of nowhere. They emerge because people are intentional about creating a healthy culture. There is something you can do today to promote them where you are. It must begin with who you are.

... make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 NIV).