We Americans love to keep schedules. In fact, many of us keep a To-Do list and Calendar. When I turn on my computer I first look at my Outlook Calendar in order to know the day’s tasks and projects for the coming days. It is as though without my scheduled To-Do list and filled in Calendar I am not accomplishing anything. Even more, it is as though I have done nothing today if I have not checked off things on my To-Do list.
However, in some cultures, people do not emphasize tasks nor are they concerned with maintaining a calendar. Instead, they emphasize people. Hence, a continuum exists between those people and cultures that are more people oriented versus those who are more task oriented.
Task oriented cultures value results and activities that produce results. Whereas people oriented cultures value relationships and activities that enhance and build relationships.
Even my writing this post reveals that I come from a task oriented culture. It is as though writing a blog post will produce some sort of result, a result of people actually reading the post.
Because building rapport is so important, people oriented cultures begin with people and finish with task. Social relationships, therefore, form the basis on which things are accomplished. Conversely, task oriented cultures begin with the task wanting to cause things to happen.
It appears that God begins with people. God came and lived among us. Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us), took on the form of humanity (Philippians 2:5-9) visiting us up close. We too should have the same attitude this Holiday season. Maybe, our To-Do list could emphasize more people and less tasks this Holiday season.